City officials announce old La Vergne league is out, ball season is safe
The youth baseball season is safe in the city of La Vergne.
On Wednesday night, parents and coaches gathered at City Hall to hear the fate of the season.
Mayor Senna Mosley was applauded after she proclaimed, "We'll be playing ball this year in La Vergne!"
Earlier this week, city leaders delivered a curve ball to ball players and their families when they announced La Vergne Baseball and Softball Association (LBSA), the league's independent governing body, was out.
The news came just weeks before the first scheduled ball game.
Dustin Mitchell, a father and coach for the city, asked, "Could the city not see something? Were they not looking at paperwork? What's going on?"
For more than decade, LBSA was presumed to be a non-profit organization under contract with the city to oversee local ball teams.
Three weeks ago, A.C. Davis, the newly-assigned interim Parks & Recreation director, found the agreement to be invalid. The contract was signed by the former Parks & Recreation director, not the mayor or city administrator as required.
A new contract outlined requirements for the city and the association. LBSA was obligated to provide a certified audit from the previous year and to fund criminal background screenings on all volunteers working with children in the program.
LBSA was also required to provide proof of its not-for-profit status.
The redrawn contract was signed by Mayor Mosley and LBSA Commissioner Mike Catanese, but the requested documentation fell short.
"What took awhile is they kept trying to produce documents needed, and that didn't happen," Davis said.
"The only reason elected officials got involved is because we could not prove legitimate status (of LBSA)," Mosley added.
Following the revelations about LBSA, parents and players were refunded registration fees, leaving the season questionable.
Wednesday's meeting was called to announce a new, unnamed organization scouted to takeover the league.
"This organization did have their 501c3 and all the correct credentials," Davis told the crowd.
According to city leaders, the new organization promises lower fees, quick turnaround on uniforms orders, and potential for scholarships and tutoring.
City leaders will meet with the new organization on Thursday. However, the deal will not be finalized until the Board of Mayor and Alderman vote on it.
The board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, April 2. If the contracted deal is approved, players could take the field for games in two to three weeks.
"They can't wait to start playing," Coach Peter Diaz said of his team. "I can't wait to start playing!"
The City of La Vergne will not seek damages against LBSA.
It is not known if parents will seek legal action on their own.