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Published: Tuesday, 2/10/2004

Fund-raisers surpass goal of $46,000 to save season

The Save Maumee Little League Fund has passed its goal of raising $46,000.

As of yesterday, the total was $46,286, including $15,300 pledged; $28,788 received, and $2,198 waived by vendors. Additional funds will be coming in to the Save Maumee Little League Fund from previously scheduled fund-raisers.

Any excess money coming in will be used to help pay for the new lights at the Maumee Little League Robert Hoag Field on Ford Street in Maumee. Estimated cost for the lights is $37,000.

Scheduled fund-raisers will be held, but organizers of the fund drive are not interested in plans for additional fund-raising activities, said Charlie Carr, chairman of the Save Maumee Little League Fund.

Maumee-area residents, businesses, and service clubs pitched in to raise money to help the Maumee Little League after the alleged theft of about $44,000 in funds from the nonprofit group.

Two former league officials have been charged in connection with the missing money. Catherine Eppard, who is accused of taking more than $30,000 from the league, allegedly wrote checks worth $4,550 to her husband, Mark, while he was president of the all-volunteer organization.

Maumee police have filed grand-theft charges against Mr. Eppard.

Mrs. Eppard, former league treasurer, has been charged with three counts of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony; three counts of tampering with records, a misdemeanor, and one count of misdemeanor theft.

League officials said financial problems surfaced in September when a new board of directors took over and learned that many vendors hadn t been paid. They said the league operates on an annual budget of $110,000.

There were concerns that the league wouldn t be able to conduct its season because of the financial situation, but enough money has been raised to continue the community tradition.

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