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Grossmont Baseball Coach Jim Earley Quits Amid Parent Accusations

Father of pitching star Robby Nesovic says Earley handled money in violation of district policy.

Updated at 9:35 p.m. May 18, 2012

Grossmont High School baseball coach Jim Earley, who resigned this week after ending the season with 20 straight losses, is under fire from a parent who accuses him of misusing money from the program and running a booster club that violates district rules.

In a Nov. 9, 2011, memo to Principal Dan Barnes, Danilo “Dan” Nesovic made a series of complaints, including:

  • Misappropriation of baseball revenues
  • Unlawful use of school district facilities
  • Pay for play
  • Illegal recruiting
  • Violations of federal Title IX rules

The Grossmont Union High School District on Friday said Earley has retired, and East County Sports quoted Earley as saying: “I want to spend more time with my family, especially my two sons who are 9 and 10.”

But documents obtained by Patch indicate four-year head coach Earley, as president of a nonprofit called Blue and Gold Baseball Inc., handled money for the baseball program in apparent violation of district rules.

Earley, 40, wrote at least one check (see image in gallery) to the high school’s ASB account despite a district policy that says: “District employees cannot be officers or signatories for any booster/parent organization.”

For its part, the district says it has investigated the claims and found “no financial misappropriation of funds.”

“Whenever we discover or are made aware of any potential misconduct among our employees, we investigate fully and immediately,” district spokeswoman Catherine Martin said via email May 10, adding:

GUHSD has a strong, public track record of using appropriate law enforcement and legal channels to hold people accountable for their actions when they take money away from programs for our students. ... A thorough district review of this situation has revealed no evidence of misappropriations to date. If reports exist to the contrary, we would welcome the information. 

Blue and Gold Baseball Inc. is a 501c(3) booster club that is entirely separate from the district.

Nesovic used the California Public Records Act to seek financial records on Grossmont baseball, since district policy says: “ALL booster organizations must submit financial statements showing actual revenues and expenditures twice a school year—December 31st and June 30th.” 

So far, according to Nesovic, the district has provided a copy of a check, a list of expenses and revenues in the ASB account for the baseball team and various reports listing Blue and Gold Baseball as an approved booster club.

District officials Friday said the Blue and Gold nonprofit is among “legal entities outside the purview of the district and district oversight.”

But in minutes (see PDF) of the July 14, 2011, Grossmont district school board meeting, trustees approved “Booster Clubs, Foundations and Parent Organizations on the Attached List to Fundraise on Behalf of the Schools and Student They Represent.”

The list included Blue and Gold Baseball Inc., which according to another district-provided document was incorporated in 2009 as Foothiller Baseball Club Inc. with Rob Phillips as president.  

Phillips was head Grossmont High baseball head coach for 12 years, ending in 2008. His teams won four consecutive CIF section titles.

Jeff Meredith, a former Grossmont High baseball coach and assistant principal, is a board member of Blue and Gold Baseball Inc., the 501(c)(3) nonprofit based at Earley’s home in Alpine that handles expenses for the baseball team.

In response to a Patch inquiry, Meredith said:

Blue and Gold Baseball Inc. is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation that supports local youth baseball.  Blue and Gold is in good standing with the State of California and the California Attorney General, which is charged with overseeing all of California’s nonprofit organizations.  The Board of Blue and Gold is committed to the company’s altruistic mission.  It has independently investigated the allegations of misappropriation of Grossmont High School funds and determined these allegations to be without merit.

Nesovic’s son Robby was a star pitcher in the Foothillers’ 2011 season, which ended with a loss in the CIF Division I at SDSU’s Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Robby didn’t play for Earley this season in the wake of his father’s disagreements with Earley over coaching philosophies. Nesovic is also a baseball coach and has operated a youth club called Liberty Baseball.

In an interview with Patch, Nesovic explained the assertions in his memo about misappropriation. He told Patch that receipts from the snack bar at Joe Gizoni Field on campus were improperly given to Earley over a two-year period—the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He said he spoke with a “team mom” who was in charge of the snack bar.

“She can testify that she never deposited any of that money with the [school] ASB account,” Nesovic told Patch on May 4.  “She said [in a phone chat] that all the money she gave, she gave to Coach Earley—and she was thinking he would do the right thing.”

The former team mom has declined to comment on these accusations.

Nesovic says the team mom kept records of snack bar receipts as well as sales of Grossmont gear such as T-shirts and caps.

“She has proof that money has not been put in the ASB account where it should be,” Nesovic said. “She would never give me any numbers. And she said she was afraid she would be liable for this.”

Nesovic says he has spoken to the District Attorney’s Office and the El Cajon Police Department, seeking an investigation. Nesovic also says he spoke several weeks ago to Grossmont athletic director Frank Foggiano, who told him he also spoke with the team mom.

According to Nesovic, Foggiano said the team mom confirmed a scenario in which Earley deposited snack-bar money to the ASB account that didn’t match the amounts the team mom had given Earley. Nesovic obtained examples of ASB accounts for the baseball program (see PDF).

The district has declined to make Foggiano available for an interview.

The baseball snack bar, called Patsy Earley’s Place, is dedicated to Jim’s mother, who died in 2008 after managing the concession stand for 21 years.

Friday afternoon, district spokeswoman Martin responded to a series of questions:

La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch: Does Grossmont High School have a baseball booster club? If so, what is the name of the club and who are its officers?

Catherine Martin: No, 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.

However, we have required B&G to follow the guidelines as a booster because they ran the GHS baseball concession stands during the in-season.

Patch: According to Guidelines for Boosters Clubs, the “board requires parent and/or booster clubs and organizations to have a written statement of purpose and bylaws.” Does the district have this written statement? If so, may we please see it?

Martin: B&G is not a booster (see #1).

Patch: If B&G Baseball Inc. is not a district-affiliated 501c3, then why is a district employee (Jim Earley) signing checks made out to a district program (Grossmont Baseball)?

Martin: See attached document. None of the 501(c)(3) organizations (booster and otherwise) are district-affiliated. They are all separate legal entities outside the purview of the District and District oversight.

Patch: Who controls/distributes/deposits the revenue from concessions at Grossmont baseball games? Where and how does that money ultimately get deposited?

Martin: Currently, B&G is in charge of the concession sales and expenditures at Grossmont baseball games. For the current year, the funds are all being deposited into the ASB account. Prior to this year, the funds were divided between the B&G and the ASB. B&G was responsible for the revenue distribution as well as expenditures.

Patch: What specifically has the district done in response to complaints from Dan Nesovic, parent of a former player with the Grossmont program?

Martin: Both school and District officials have met with Mr. Nesovic. As mentioned earlier, the District auditor conducted an investigation and found no financial misappropriation of funds. We’ve required detailed information for the concession stand sales and have required that there be no financial activity in the B&G account during the in-season to ensure there are no questions as to the ownership of any funds being deposited. We have received the detailed information for the concession deposits and will request financial records at the close of the season as well.

Patch: Why is the Grossmont baseball program not having an annual Senior Awards Banquet this year?

Martin: The baseball coach has retired.  He held some activities during practice that were meant to be fun for the players as they wrapped up this season. 

Patch obtained tax records for Blue and Gold Baseball Inc. for 2008, 2009 and 2010, with Earley listed as president. (See PDFs in gallery.)  But according to district guidelines, a booster club must be led by parents and not pay any district employees.

Blue and Gold Baseball also operates grossmontbaseball.com, which includes a Booster page and lists corporate and family donors. The site is run by Connie Earley, wife of the coach, according to domain-name registration records.

Martin also turned down Patch requests for in-person interviews with Earley, schools Superintendent Ralf Swenson and district auditor Andrienne “Andi” Loree.

John Labeta, the CIF San Diego assistant commissioner, told Patch last week that he had talked to Nesovic but had heard no complaints from any other Grossmont High baseball parent.

Labeta said CIF has no policy on booster club fund-raising, but said: “A lot of that is regulated by CASBO [California Association of School Business Officials]. So it’s not regulated by CIF as much as it is by a government agency.”

Asked what CIF does when a parent complains, Labeta said: “Usually, we contact the schools, and that will lead to the schools contacting their own district—or reviewing their own district policies to see if there were any violations. We would come out if we felt there were things that were violating CIF policies, and we would meet with the school and discuss those types of situations.”

But CIF didn’t see a need to investigate Grossmont baseball, Labeta said in a phone interview.

“The school district is doing the investigation and doing some follow through,” he said. “I think they’ve come up with some conclusions and obviously there’s some policies that I think they need to review.”

In the East County Sports report posted Friday, site founder Bill Dickens wrote: “Some might say Earley was run out of town by some overzealous parents, who wanted to take the upper hand in the baseball program. All these individuals did was disrupt the program, sending it into a downward spiral.”

Dickens then quoted Earley as saying: “Over the past year, my program has been through extreme craziness, nothing I would wish on any of you. I am sure there will be some erroneous things said about my departure. Know I am leaving of my own accord. My administration has been awesome.”

In June 2008, East County Sports reported Earley’s Foothiller pedigree:

A 1990 graduate of Grossmont, Earley has been an assistant coach with Phillips throughout his tenure and was the junior varsity head coach under now-vice principal JEFF MEREDITH for four years prior to that.

“I’ve been around here long enough to pretty much know how things run at Grossmont,” said Earley, who has taught mathematics and physical education at the school the past 10 years. “I’m looking forward to being in charge of the baseball program.”

Nesovic, in one of several interviews with Patch, said: “I want to emphasize that in spite of all the bad feelings … all I ever wanted was to have things done the right way.”

Anon Y. Mous May 23, 2012 at 11:49 PM
The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree - don't feel to sorry for the son, he is taking after his old man. The son went around campus attempting to get the rest of the players on the team to sign a petition against Earley and to boycott the program. He had his scholarship in hand and wanted all of his so called fellow team mates throw themselves under the bus for him and his dad...so don't be fooled!!
Anon Y. Mous May 23, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Let's be real here...who approached who. This news source is suspect from the get go...can journalism get any lower!
Anon Y. Mous May 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Hey, don't forget what Mr. Nesovic did for this program. Close your eyes...now what do you see?? NOTHING!! Nesovic is a leech (aka blood sucker) and a taker - he has given nothing to this or any other baseball program he and his son have ever been involved with. It's always been about him and all cost to everyone else.
Anon Y. Mous May 23, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Doug, wake up and smell the roses - you are being duped. Don't let the smoke get in your eyes - it is clouding you judgment. This was planned out for more than a year and strategically occurred on Nov 9th - coincidentally of course - the day of or after Robby signed his Nat'l Letter of Intent. If Mr. Nesovic got his way his son would have played at Grossmont. The club league is an afterthought and diversion since it is the only alternative to not playing HS.
Scott H. Kidwell May 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Kevin, Here is your vexatious litigant links! http://www.courts.ca.gov/12272.htm http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/CCP/3/2/3A/s391
Eileen Mandell May 24, 2012 at 06:03 AM
But who is saying that money is missing? One person makes allegations and says there are witnesses but no one has come forward. One person has decimated a coach's reputation, and the team's season. I knew Coach Earley's mother. The entire family has spent so much of their time; giving so much of themselves for the betterment of Grossmont, and Grossmont Baseball. They do not deserve to be treated this way.
Eileen Mandell May 24, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Eloquently said!
Anon E Mouse May 24, 2012 at 05:45 PM
what about the destined to be stars group. who monitors all their money activities and how do they account for all the cash they receive. if people are going to make accusations about mr early they should also check all the other non profits that use the facilities. right now there is a rumor going around that mr foggiano gets to use the gym for free anytime he wants. why isnt he under investigation i think his group should be looked at too as for dan barnes i remember him from granite hils and dealt with him there i think he will always protect the athletics program over the kids that are not involved in that.
GHS grad May 24, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Wow. For The Patch to even give Nesovic an opportunity to spread his toxic message and claims based upon his track record is amazing. What a shame to give him any time or credibility in your paper. The irony is that he allowed his son play for an organization that has a history of being greedy money grabbers and opportunists rather than have his son live for himself and enjoy the senior year of his HS career with his buddies while representing his school and community. I feel very badly for Coach Earley and Robby Nesovic. They deserved much better than this.
Things I Learned May 25, 2012 at 03:50 PM
It is ok to use fake names.
Grossmont politics May 26, 2012 at 09:01 PM
mr foggiano uses "destined to be stars" for a sat prep class that costs about 80$ per student, also a sunday basketball camp that he charges 7th and 8th graders, and a rec league that charges players and he uses his varsity basketball team to referee (whom he doesnt pay)... where is all of this money going??? ps... boys varsity basketball cant even get passed the first round of playoffs...
David Rice May 26, 2012 at 10:00 PM
As a long time volunteer and supporter of Grossmont Baseball and Football programs I find it tragic that this individual can have this forum to attack Jem Early's character and his program. Jim and his family have devoted a huge amount of their time upgrading the field and facilities while still running a first class baseball program. With Jim 's leadership and the help of volunteers Gorssmont hw has first class club house, score board, sidewalks an new electric feed for the field and the proper mower and equipment to drag the field. As a sign of Jim's charracter he was not distracted by the threat of a law suit by Roby's Dad, instead he treated Roby fairly and evenly. Roby was our number two pitcher last year and our number one was a fisrt roung draft choice. In your defense of publishing this article you stated hat you not had a response from Grossmont, why should they have to respond to baseless charges? The school has fully investigated and has found no basis for any wrong doing. Next itme an issue like this comes up try checking around., contact cole Holland at Helix, James Davis at Granite Hills or Steve Vickery at El Cap, they will vouch for Jim's character and his program. Better yet ask them if they want Roby and his Dad on their team. Ideally high school sports teach life lessons, not play my way or I will sue you. respectfully David Rice
Hey Crazyparents May 26, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Hey, Crazy baseball parents, you know who you are, or actually, you probably dont because you have your head too far up your ___ to realize it. Keep your mouths shut and let the coaches do thier job. If you are not coaching the team your kids are on, then sit in the stands and shut up. Crazy baseball parents ruin the game for their kids and all the other kids and parents involved, I know coaches and if you are one of these parents it will only hurt your chances of your child being a key player on the team because coaches dont want to deal with you, no matter how good your child is. Wasting our tax dollars and time to sue every organization you dont agree with on trumped up charges? Nesovic is the model for douchebag parents everywhere.
Hey Crazyparents May 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Hey, Crazy baseball parents, you know who you are, or actually, you probably dont because you have your head too far up your ___ to realize it. Keep your mouths shut and let the coaches do thier job. If you are not coaching the team your kids are on, then sit in the stands and shut up. Crazy baseball parents ruin the game for their kids and all the other kids and parents involved, I know coaches and if you are one of these parents it will only hurt your chances of your child being a key player on the team because coaches dont want to deal with you, no matter how good your child is. Wasting our tax dollars and time to sue every organization you dont agree with on trumped up charges? Nesovic is the model for douchebag parents everywhere.
Anon E Mouse May 27, 2012 at 02:33 AM
where does all the money go? who handles it and how is it spent?? i think mr foggioano should have to make all financial records available and also explain how any and all cash collected is accounted for. he should also provide proof of payment for the use of any district facility. if he can not do that then the district should provide proof of payment. if proof of payment can not be provided then mr foggiano should have to pay for any usage that payment can not be confirmed for and should be banned from using district facilities. every one else has to prove and pay so he should too
JMA May 27, 2012 at 06:14 AM
You guys ran the UT article about the ABC league. So, are you on the Nesovic payroll? Oh wait, he doesn't have a payroll. Or, pay taxes. Watch out Patch, he may sue you next.
Does It Really Matter May 27, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Eliminate "PAY FOR PLAY", provide proper documentation (receipts, statements, etc.) & Jim Earley needs to recant his resignation. There's a start folks!
Lawrence May 28, 2012 at 03:24 AM
What a lot of fun driving up to OC or LA every weekend rather than playing HS ball! The truth of the matter is (1) ABC league has some good players but top to bottom there are better club teams out there. (2) If you are good, the scouts will watch you whever you are. (3) Leopards dont lose their spots (e.g. Nesovic Dad-you are an a-hole from all I've heard). (4) Good luck UCSB baseball, with the Nesovic family that is.
JMA May 28, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Everything has been reviewed by the district and nothing out of the ordinary was found. There is NO pay for play at GHS. Why should he recant is resignation? He has put in multiple years and countless hours of hard work and volunteering. Now, it's his turn to be able to completely focus on his family.
Anon E Mouse May 29, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I agree Mr. Ear;ey should recant his resignation and stand up to the district because he has done a lot for the district. Better yet replace Frank Foggiano with Jim Earley then we know the kids will be treated righted and respected.
John Bench May 30, 2012 at 08:16 PM
This is a terrible for Jim to leave the program all because of one JACKAS$ parent. Nesovic is your typical parent that never played baseball but thinks he is an expert because he watched a handful of Tom House videos and went to a few baseball clinics. The man is a frustrated wannabee and a terrible father to his boys.
Baseball Parent May 31, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I stand with coach Early. Thanks Dan for needlessly attempting to destroy a good man. And, thanks for ruining what could have been a great season for our boys.
brian landers June 01, 2012 at 01:59 AM
I'm in las Vegas , both my younger brothers played baseball at grossmont high school years ago.....to the guy who tried to destroy early.....get a life and learn basic sportsmanship......your a hater.......
College Coach June 12, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I have had much experience with the baseball players from Grossmont High School since the early 1990's. Their players were always a direct reflection of the head coaches: tough, gritty, classy, well prepared for success beyond high school. Grossmont baseball has been at the pinnacle of San Diego county high school baseball. Jim Earley AND his family have been an integral part of building the Foothiller program. Do you think that families in the Foothiller community would agree to name any part of the Foothiller baseball facility after anyone in the Earley Family if the Earley Family wasn't a positive influence for the Foothiller program? And would coach Earley be a fixture in Foothiller baseball for decades if he was detrimental to the program?
College Coach June 12, 2012 at 05:02 PM
For this reason, all the allegations against Grossmont baseball and head coach Jim Earley wreak of vindictiveness, pettiness, and bitterness. I think it is a sad state of affairs when selfish, self-centered parents, that place their personal agendas above the tradition and success of a program like Grossmont baseball. What is sadder is that these selfish, self-centered parents, find like minded individuals and together collaborate on ignoring their own ill intent, and instead blame and try to destroy the reputation of a coach who has served the Grossmont baseball family for decades. Folks. please look at the situation for what it is; a bitter parent who failed in his attempt to place his personal agenda above the Foothiller tradition of success, who now is bitterly, and spitefully attacking a man that has done nothing but be a positive influence for the program following the footsteps of formr head coaches coach Meredith, and coach Phillips. It is said that the squeeky wheel gets the oil. In the case, the squeeky wheel needs to get removed and dumped. I hope coach Earley reconsiders, and returns as head coach.
College Coach June 12, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Just curious... are the authors of this article involved with Grossmont baseball at all? The article certainly has a negative bias toward coach Earley, and appears to provide a platform to allow Mr. Nesovic to embarrass himself while trying to degrade the Grossmont Baseball program.
Donna Doubleday June 15, 2012 at 07:17 PM
The season is over. Jim Earley willingly and happily resigned. The administration is working diligently to find the best possible replacement. It is time to move on and support a new equally dedicated coaching staff who will continue to carry on the pride, traditions and successes of Grossmont Baseball.
Things I Learned June 30, 2012 at 01:31 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9AQ2llNh_0
Charles August 16, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Maybe Danilo Nesovic should worry about the tax lien on his property instead. Just do a google search to read the case. Hopefully his kid gets permanently injured so we don't have to hear from him anymore. Read about lien here: http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/71/776/549523/
Mary Myers September 07, 2012 at 05:09 PM
OMG! You are beyond the pail. "Sins of the father". Shame on you!!!

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