December 11, 2013

Newark, CA – NMHS BOOSTER CLUB LAWSUIT UPDATE- It has been a little over 6 months since the case against Stacy Kelly and the Newark Memorial High School Cougar Booster Club (Snyder v. Kelly, Superior Court of California County of Alameda, Case No. HG13684732) was commenced by Newark resident and parent, Jennifer R. Snyder. The case, in brief, involves Ms. Kelly’s unilateral, and under guise of Booster Club authority, exclusion of Snyder from membership to the club after the latter made repeated requests to open the books of the club, and demanded transparency and accountability in handling club finances.

Upon Ms. Kelly’s initiative, Attorney Anastasios G. Konstantin was hired to represent her in the lawsuit. Without the consent and approval of the Booster Club membership, the same attorney was hired by Ms. Kelly to represent the club. Ms. Snyder has communicated with Atty. Konstantin about the possible breach of law regarding representation of an organization without the required membership approval; however, her claim has been ignored.

Attorney Konstantin represents that his hourly rate is $250. As of date of this post, Atty. Konstantin has filed and/or served various pleadings and motions on behalf of Ms. Kelly and the Booster Club, including but not limited to: Demurrers (4), Motion to Strike (1), Requests for Judicial Notice (2), Non-Receipt of Opposition to Demurrer and Motion to Strike (1), Declaration in Opposition to Ex Parte Application (1), Supplemental Declaration in Opposition to Ex Parte Declaration (1), Motions for Sanctions (2), Reply (1), Objection (1).  All of which, with the exception of the ex parte,  were decided in favor of Jennifer Snyder.

In the most recent pleading, Atty. Konstantin claims to have spent three lawyer hours and three paralegal hours working on a Motion for Sanctions, entitling him to a reasonable fee of $1,830. Note that this amount is for only one pleading preparation. Atty. Konstantin has now prepared and lost on most of the more than a dozen pleadings for Ms. Kelly and the Booster Club.

Shockingly, Ms. Kelly is paying for her defense out of Booster Club funds.   It is believed that Ms. Kelly has spent close to $10,000 of Booster Club funds on her defense. The right to defend oneself from a law suit is indisputable. However, this suit is being defended only on the basis of keeping one parent out of the Booster Club. Undeniably, the high cost of this present litigation at the Booster Club’s expense is certainly not in its best interests. The Booster Club’s funds are supposedly and primarily to support Newark Memorial High’s student athletes.

Public awareness of this case through this [post/media advisory] aims to kick start local grassroots effort(s) to reform the current Booster Club and hopefully instill a sense of responsibility and reliability in our local non-profit organizations in Newark.

concerned citizen December 15, 2013 at 10:41 PM
I say this lady Jennifer is wasting booster funds and harassment of Stacy Kelly. Let it go and stop wasting everyones time and money
Jennifer Snyder December 15, 2013 at 10:51 PM
So does that mean you are okay with the Boosters not holding elections for new officers for over 10 years? Or not reporting to its membership what it takes in and pays out? You believe that is how a community organization should be run? Or is it okay, just in this case, cause you know Stacy? Would it be different if it were, say, a group at your church who would collect funds to help a cause, you donate and volunteer, but when you ask to see what it has taken in and spent the person who runs the group tells you to leave her alone and don't ask again?
Renee Fazeli December 16, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Financials are almost always secure unless it's a public organization but I think the books should be open, especially, to the membership of a non-profit organization. If it is factual that the defendant is paying for her defense out of these funds then, in my opinion, the request for those books to have been opened seems appropriate. Aren't there checks and balances? How can checks be cut without an approved budget and/or a vote from the membership? Where is the Booster Club's D&O insurance and why isn't that paying to defend both named defendants? It all sounds fishy and mismanaged in this short excerpt and I hope it's all for naught because I'd hate to find out that the money truly was being mismanaged because the only losers would be our children!
April December 16, 2013 at 11:04 AM
501cs must have board meetings, minutes, financial statements otherwise they have to pay tax. Any board I have sat on we have always meticulously kept financial records and the money never used to legal stuff unless we hired a lawyer to go over paperwork for events that were in the clubs name, or in one case my bike club was sued by a guy because we allowed gay couples to be families. ( he lost) . If the club is named in the lawsuit, the club can use the funds if the board has approved the grant.
Max Entropy December 16, 2013 at 03:23 PM
There's something very suspicious about a community club that fights so hard to keep their books secret even at the threat of a lawsuit. Keep us posted, I'm intestested in seeing what kind of monkey business they find in the books.
Jennifer Snyder December 16, 2013 at 03:31 PM
I agree 100%. And all I am asking for in my lawsuit is whether Ms. Kelly has the authority to deny me membership. That's it. I just want membership so I can properly get answers. Spending close to $10,000 just to avoid the judge determining that? I am asking for no money or anything else. It is absolutely not in the Booster Clubs best interest to be spending that much to keep one parent out. Especially a half way decent one.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) December 16, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Small organizations that fundraise for school districts often appoint members. I talked to Stacy Kelly this morning about this to elucidate a few points. Kelly said that she gave the Booster Club's financial documents to the school district for an audit. She said the district declined to audit the documents. She also said that Jennifer Snyder has been threatening her for the past few years with this lawsuit because of the way labels were put on display at a fireworks stand.
Jennifer Snyder December 16, 2013 at 05:35 PM
If the district declined it is likely because Ms. Kelly did not turn over enough documents to even meet the threshold of auditable information. I have never threatened to sue, until just before I actually file and that was to give Ms. Kelly one last opportunity to work with me. She ignored me again. This started in 2009 when I asked for the Booster Club's financial information as I did at each of my kids school when I donate to a PTA or Club. After years of organizations having no problem with turning over information, surprisingly I was meet with EXTREME resistance with the Booster Club. After about 2 months of being ignored by Ms. Kelly, I went to the principal, who forced her to hand over some financial info. (Which should have been given to the membership anyway). The documents I did get were riddled with problems. Missing significant income sources. Then I decided just to get the info from the State of CA and the IRS. Non-profit info is available by public request. Then I found out that the Boosters were not a charitable organization AT ALL, even though they advertised as such. What followed was 2 or 3 years of hell at the high school while I continued to try to get answers. Ms. Kelly banned me from the Booster meetings and Crab feed, she would not allow me to be a member of the Boosters and my kids coaches started being really mean to me (not all, but some for sure). Then this year when the properly elected Booster Board came to me and said they all resigned because Stacy refused to share the bank information with them and was bullying and mean, so much so they ALL resigned. That is like 4 people folks. You really think it is just me that has a problem with the Booster Club? To top it off, Ms. Kelly never held elections so I could not even work to get new people in there. Finally last year some core members of the Booster Club forced an election. Then Ms. Kelly refused to hand over the bank information to the new president.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) December 16, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Interesting. IRS records show that the organization is a public charity. Contributions to it are tax deductible.
Jennifer Snyder December 16, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Yes, yes, that is right, they are now because of my work in 2010. I was the complaining mom. I talked to the District, the principal and anyone who would listen about the problem, aside from al the other stuff, that they were not a 501(c)3. They got that status in 2010. You should check the California Attorney General site for charitable organizations, which they are supposed to be registered for and they know it, because I shared that with the Booster Club in 2010. Last I checked a few months ago, the Booster club is still not properly registered as a charitable organization in CA.
Jennifer Snyder December 16, 2013 at 06:32 PM
All these facts taken by themselves is not a problem. If, here and there, inadvertently, an organization runs afoul of the law, I feel it is understandable and ok. But with the Booster Club is it different. There has been "error" after "error" and on top of those there is the extreme unwillingness to share financial info with members and even other Booster Board members, then there the no election thing, and Stacy being the only one on the Board now and spend $10,000 on a law suit to prevent me from becoming a member. Time for a change to say the least.
Joanne Peyton December 16, 2013 at 09:11 PM
For those who are interested in the FACTS, I want you to know there are many erroneous comments that have been made. Let's be clear Ms. Snyder filed against Ms. Kelly in her position as a board member and the Booster Club for breach of fiduciary duties, negligence and fraud, per Ms. Snyder's August 19, 2013 post on the Patch. One can only assume once Ms. Snyder learned she didn't have "standing" in the case (since she wasn't a member), she is now trying to attain membership. To address the original complaint is there any legal action we haven't been made aware of? No, because Ms. Kelly has not committed any crime! If Ms. Snyder "had 2 or 3 years of hell at the high school" where is the communication/compliant sent to the School Board members, Superintendent Marken or Principal Mr. Marquez? Before Ms. Snyder filed the court papers, she had not made any requests of the booster club since 2010. I don't know why Jennifer says that "this year when the properly elected board came to her", when that board wasn't elected by the general membership either. Those ladies decided which board positions they wanted to hold and told Ms. Kelly she could be the treasurer because no one else wanted to do that job. It was decided in a meeting those individuals would take office August 1, 2013. They resigned prior to that date. And it wasn't because of intimidation or bullying. Before forming an opinion or casting a stone, read the court documents. They're public documents. Read the conflicting information in Ms. Snyder's own complaint. Read the judge’s rulings. Think how you would feel if you devoted over 10 years of your life to a non-profit trying to raise money for a program for the kids, to have all of this happen to you. Ms. Kelly was not the only member of the board through all those years. If this wasn't personal, why aren't there allegations against the other members of the club?
Jennifer Snyder December 16, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Yes please do read the case and the history. It is case number HG13684732 and you can see it by Googling "Alameda County Domainweb" type in that number, exactly like that, and the case history will come up. Please read everything. I have tons of communication between me and the District, Principals and the Booster Club. Stacy is the President, that is why the case named her. I amended to a complaint for declaratory relief because such a complaint has priority scheduling and can be heard within 60 days and she is spending money with no supervision - only she has access to the account - I had to do something quick - so Declaratory relief it is. At this point I want the current members of the Booster Club to get involved. I am publishing this info so they can start asking questions. And I absolutely refile my original complaint if I have to, but I do not want to put Stacy through that or myself. Yes, I feel I can show intentional fiduciary duty violations. But all I really want is for a new Booster Board to be elected and for other parents not to have to go through what I went through. Why hasn't Ms. Kelly held an election? Even now, with all this, she still is not? Keep in mind the only person here who is spending their own money is me, not Stacy, she has unlimited access to Booster funds to pay her attorney to file and lose tons of motions. I am paying for this litigation out of my own pocket and spending tons of time that I could be actually representing paying clients and paying my kid’s tuition bill. I have even plan on donating back to the Booster Club the amount that Stacy spends on her attorney. (It may take me a while though, cause she is spending a lot)
Edna Jones December 19, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Thank you Joanne Peyton.....I have been a NM booster member since 1987 and if I thought for one minute things were not right I would of been in there complaining. You keep up the good work, Stacy that you have been doing for all the athletes. If you were doing all this stuff Snyder says Rich Swift would of been the first one to kick her out of there. No one was more by the books that him. You asked to see everything and you got it but nothing was ever good for you. Why do you not tell everyone of all the other things you have done to Stacy, NM, District and the Newark PD. Calling every day complaining to where she parked. Why don't you just admit your complaint is just about her. In your process you are taking down a wonderful program for our kids. You know life is to short, get out and enjoy your family and life.
Jennifer Snyder December 19, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Wait, Edna is one of Stacy's close friends - so there is not objectivity here. - She was parked in a fire lane folks, right in front of the door of an auditorium loaded with kids and parents for hours on end? You bet I complained about her parking. Why didn't you? Really? Fire lanes are like optional? Like I said Edna, let's assume your are right. I just do not like Stacy. Fine. Now though, we still have to explain why all the other Booster Board members resigned earlier this year. I suppose they all just don't like her too? It is not that she is hiding the Booster finances, because why would anyone not love that. Or because she called one of the other Board members who resigned a lesbian (not that that is a problem, my moms were), no who would not love that. Or because she deceived the public for 10 years advocating the that Booster club was a non profit and donations were tax deducible, when she had to have known it was not because she was not filing taxes. No that is not a good reason either. No, I do not like her. So what? The people I like do not constantly break the rules and then claim its an accident. How do you accidently not submit tax document for your organization for 10 years? That itself merits a new Board minus Stacy.
CT December 27, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Jennifer, I was part of the “appointed” booster board when you requested the documents in 2009/2010. I know Rich Swift gave you everything you requested, just like the Newark Memorial person that takes care of the ASB gave you account information. Even when you were given the booster club and the ASB information you continued with daily calls and/or emails because you didn’t understand the accounts. For example you brought up the $3,400 that was missing from the gate receipts. That isn’t booster club money, it’s ASB. The district office was getting so many phone calls from you it got to the point superintendent Harrigan told us to quit communicating with you. We all felt harassed by you, that is why in March 2010 the “appointed” secretary Margaret Jean Mikel told us how to amend the bylaws to keep you out. You didn’t pursue the denial of membership 3 years ago when you had a child at Newark Memorial, instead you pursue it now when you don’t even have a child attending there. What I don’t understand is you say the other booster board resigned and came to you but you keep posting asking booster members to join you. Why aren’t the resigned board members working with you or why aren’t you naming them in this civil suit if you feel there has been wrong doing? Margaret Jean was on the booster board a long time before Stacy ever was. As the secretary wasn’t it her responsibility to oversee the paper work? She was the one who typed up the donation letter with the high schools tax id # and ran the crab feed fundraiser. Stacy attended the crab feed to party like the rest of us. Margaret Jean was in charge of collecting and then counting the money from that night. This year the amount of money collected plus $125 that Margaret Jean missed when counting is the amount of money Stacy deposited (because the “appointed” treasurer for the previous 3 years had resigned). Read the crab feed report you have and find the deposit in the receipt book. Did you really compare this to Bernie Madoff who is in jail for fraud and theft? In your original complaint you accused the club and Stacy of fraud, WHERE’S YOUR PROOF?? You must not have enough proof for the police or district attorney to take you seriously. You throw out allegations hoping someone will agree with you but people are seeing through your tirades, and you want all of us to believe this isn’t personal against Stacy! In your 12/14/13 update you list all the pleading and motion. You state they were all decided in your favor, how do you figure that? Are you such a new attorney you don’t know when a motion is in your favor and when it isn’t? You didn’t win the demurrer. It was sustained and you got another chance to amend it to add the booster club (which you forgot to list in the second filing). You lost the TRO. Are you done working on the amended complaint for January 30, 2014 demurrer hearing or is that the reason for this public “show?” I know Stacy can’t wait to be vindicated. And yes I am friends with Stacy, but that doesn’t mean I am less credible than anyone else that posts on The Patch, it only means I know more about what’s really going on.
Jennifer Snyder December 27, 2013 at 10:42 PM
1) I was given an estimated budget 2) I emailed Stacy once in December 2009 and once in January of 2010 asking for financial information. For 2/10 -3/10 I sent one email to Stacy. Harassment? 3) From 01/10 - 03/10 I communicated with the District about Stacy parking in the fire zone for hours at a time, right in front of an event center loaded with parents and children. You bet I followed up on that issue until fixed. Why didn't you? Your okay with blocking a fire zone and putting all those folks in danger? 4) Shame on Harrington. 5) didn't pursue it b/c I was tired of the battle. 6) Resigned board members are working with me, but do not want to put themselves out there like I am because they are tired of battling too and afraid Coach K will throw away college letters for their kids the way Swift did. (That is what I have been told directly from the previous board members. I do not mean to imply Coach K would do that, in fact I do not think she would, but that is the mentality that arises when you have the Booster Club and the Athletic Dept so entangled, Duh!) 7) I 100% stand behind my claims. come to my office and will show you my proof - 39675 Cedar Boulevard, Suite 250. Now, I do not want to hear the "proof" thing again, because I just invited anyone to come see it.
Jennifer Snyder December 29, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Okay, here is a very simple question that CT should be able to answer since you are so knowledgeable on the subject. Why is the Booster Club not registered with the California Attorney General as a charitable organization? The law requires it and Stacy knows it because this was an issue I talked a lot about in 2009/2010. So Why? If you search for Bunker PTA, it is registered, all of its 990s are on there as well a financial info. Moreover according to the AG searchable database Boosters have not filed any 990s. Now that might be a mistake, but the same database has all of the Bunker PTA 990s, but not the Booster Club's? I know, I know, its a mistake or Stacy inadvertently forgot or she is too busy. I have been hearing that excuse for years over and over about every financial blunder the Boosters have made. So, can I get en explanation that does not involve an "inadvertent error"?
Nadja Adolf December 31, 2013 at 07:41 AM
I think Vanessa and everyone else needs to read the court documents Jennifer refers to in her earlier posting. Interesting reading. And I'm still confused as to how the Booster Club could claim to have adequate financial controls when they have only one person counting the money at fundraisers. Pretty strange.


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