Exclusive: Ohio Swimming Charges Former Treasurer with Fraud, Absconding with Funds

By Phillip Whitten

PHOENIX, January 12. OHIO Swimming, Inc. (OSI), has filed a six-count Complaint in the Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County, Ohio, against its former long-time treasurer, Tom Burt. The Complaint, filed on December 6, 2005, charges that Burt absconded with funds “in excess of $25,000, wrongfully converting the money to his own use.” Sources close to the situation estimated that Burt may have made off with $100,000 to $150,000.

The complaint specifically alleges that Burt “failed and refused to comply with his fiduciary obligations” and breached his fiduciary duty “by his mismanagement, malfeasance and/or fraudulent conduct in connection with the funds of OSI; failed to account for the funds; breached his fiduciary duty to turn over the LSC’s books and records; failed in his duty of good faith; converted the funds to his own use; intentionally misrepresented the LSC’s fiscal situation; and committed fraud.

Dave Olson, from the firm Frost Brown Todd LLC. in Cincinnati and
General Counsel of Ohio Swimming, said that this matter came to a head
when Burt failed to respond to several requests to turn over the books
and records of Ohio Swimming to the new treasurer, Tim Myers, last year.

"The funds that are missing were intended for the benefit of the swimmers in the LSC. We are gathering the books and records to determine the full extent of the conversion of funds from Ohio Swimming and our ultimate loss.

“It is a sad day when the sport of swimming, which at the LSC level is geared towards young athletes, has to deal with events like this arising from the dry side of swimming that has an impact on so many young people,"
said Olson.

“Records are being gathered from the banks and other financial institutions to trace the funds and evaluate the loss. From present information, the activities leading to the loss had been occurring for several years.”

Phone calls to Mr. Burt to obtain his comments were not returned.

Rich Young, counsel to USA swimming, confirmed that the matter was being handled at the local, rather than the national, level. Asked if he knew of any similar situations in the past, Young replied: "To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time something like this has occurred."

USA Swimming carries insurance provided by Risk Management Services in Phoenix, Arizona. John Peterson, of RMS, acknowledged that his company is aware of the situation in Ohio, but said “we are not disclosing any information because [the legal case] is ongoing." When asked the extent of USA Swimming’s coverage for situations such as this, he said “no comment at this time.” However several other sources indicated that the organization is covered for losses up to $100,000.

SwimmingWorldMagazine.com will run periodic updates on this situation.

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