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Baseball Club Admits to Booster Status in Nesovic Legal Fight to Inspect Books

Court filing contradicts Grossmont high school district, may strengthen pursuit of snack-bar records.

Updated at 11:05 p.m. Oct. 26, 2012

Dan Nesovic’s pursuit of financial records involving a Grossmont High School concession stand got an apparent lift Monday when a nonprofit baseball club admitted in court documents that it was a school booster club.

Records of school booster clubs are open to public inspection under state law, but the Grossmont Union High School District is fighting Nesovic’s civil suit aimed at uncovering proof that the club misappropriated snack-bar funds.

On Sept. 6, the school district rejected Nesovic’s request for financial records. Nesovic had said the California Public Records Act gave him the right to see the books.

But in an answer to Nesovic’s Aug. 8 complaint, the nonprofit—Blue and Gold Baseball Inc., run by former Grossmont coach Jim Earley—said the Grossmont Union high school board “approved the applications of Blue and Gold to raise monies for the school years 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.”

Patty Lewis, attorney for Nesovic, said Thursday that “Blue/Gold admits they are a booster organization authorized by the school to raise funds for the public benefit of the students.”

Even so, the club based out of Earley’s home in Alpine denies “any responsibility or duty to disclose their financial information,” Lewis said via email.

Nesovic, the father of former Grossmont High baseball and basketball star Robby Nesovic, drew withering criticism in the days after Earley resigned in May in the wake of losing 20 straight games. 

In a November 2011 memo to Principal Dan Barnes, Nesovic accused Earley of misappropriation of baseball revenues, unlawful use of school district facilities, illegal recruiting, pay-for-play and violations of federal Title IX rules.

But perhaps the most damaging claim was that Earley had misappropriated receipts of a snack bar named for his late mother, Patsy.

El Cajon police have declined to investigate the case, saying they needed evidence. Nesovic’s suit, assigned to Judge John Meyer in San Diego Superior Court, aims to find that evidence by compelling the school district and baseball club to open financial records to inspection.

In his original complaint, Nesovic and his attorney argued: “Blue and Gold’s authority to operate for the public benefit of Grossmont High School comes from the Grossmont District. The procedure to operate as a Booster Organization for the Grossmont High School public benefit begins with an application form provided by the district to Blue and Gold.”

In response to that assertion, Blue and Gold said the club “admits that Blue and Gold’s authority to operate for the public benefit of Grossmont High School comes from the Grossmont District and that the procedure to operate for the Grossmont High School public benefit begins with an application form provided by the district to Blue and Gold.”

The Blue and Gold answer was signed by local contractor John H. Daley Jr.*

It’s that admission that Nesovic attorney Lewis sees as proof that Blue and Gold, formerly called the Foothiller Baseball Club, is a booster club.

In August, the Nesovic suit argued that the Blue and Gold internal financial records “do not match the amounts of monies reported on the Blue and Gold Form 990 federal income tax returns.”

So as “a member of the general public, [Nesovic] is entitled to inspect and obtain copies of the Blue and Gold financial records, including those records held by [former concession stand volunteer] Tomi Griffiths.”

In May, a school district spokeswoman said: “Grossmont High School does not have a baseball booster club. Blue & Gold Baseball Inc. (B&G) was not established as a booster club, but as a baseball club in order to facilitate baseball in the off-season (per CIF guidelines). B&G is a non-District 501(c)(3) organization, which is legally separate from the district.”

Unlike the club’s point-by-point response to the lawsuit, the district listed arguments why the records weren’t subject to the public-records act and that Nesovic didn’t have a right to them.

No trial has been scheduled in the case, and attorney Lewis told Patch: “Given the state of the budget crisis in the San Diego Superior Court system, I cannot say when we’ll get this to trial.”

*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly called John H. Daley Jr. an attorney.

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