Committee meeting to address allegations of misuse Bluffton Eagles Field money

cconley@islandpacket.comApril 12, 2012 

Money intended for the baseball field at the Sam Bennett Sports Complex has been misused, according to the vice president of the Bluffton Eagles Community Action Committee.

"We went through a situation with the baseball field concerning funds that were given to the baseball field that weren't handled properly," said Joe Green, who has called a meeting Saturday to discuss the matter.

"Money wasn't spent properly. It was supposed to be spent on the field. It wasn't spent on the field."

Green wouldn't give an amount or how the money might have been misused. The money, which Green said was intended for field maintenance and other uses, was donated by several nonprofit organizations.

Some committee members have begun investigating the issue internally, and many people in the community aren't aware of the situation, Green said.

Lt. Joe Babkiewicz, a Bluffton Police Department spokesman, said there have been no reports of stolen or misused money associated with the Eagles committee.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be at 4 p.m. at the sports complex at the intersection of Buck Island Road and Bluffton Parkway.

The nonprofit Bluffton Eagles Community Action Committee oversees the 14-acre sports complex, home of the Bluffton Eagles baseball team. The Eagles play against other baseball clubs from across the Lowcountry.

Fred Hamilton, chairman of the action committee and a former Bluffton town councilman, said Saturday's event is not an official meeting and was not called by the committee. He said the committee, however, gave permission to hold the meeting.

"I don't know where that is coming from," Hamilton said about allegations of misappropriated money. "Folks making accusations probably don't have all the information.

"That kind of stuff, in my opinion, is a witch hunt."

He added that nothing untoward has happened "under his watch."

Zeke Frazier Sr., a former player and longtime Bluffton Eagles coach, said he, too, was unfamiliar with the allegations.

Green said he called the meeting to alert the community to the allegations of misconduct, as well as other community issues, such as water and sewer matters. He's also hoping the meeting will get more people involved with the committee.

"I am hoping to organize a community that would be able to come together and put people on a board the right way, where we have a legit, functioning board that is based ... on the community (and) is part of the community itself," Green said.

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