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Parents accuse St. Charles baseball coach of stealing money from team

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ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI)-- A heated dispute about a select youth baseball team in St. Charles is now in the hands of police.

Parents have ousted the team's founder, Keith Eilers, who was also the head coach, along with his son, who played for the team.

The 15-18 year old players on the Missouri Gunners are in danger of missing three upcoming tournaments, because the team is broke.

Parents said they were stunned after months of fundraising boosted team funds to more than $9500.

It was always supposed to be about the kids; about playing ball.

“We should have a lot money in that account with all our fundraising,” said parent, Tammy Morgan.

She discovered the team account was overdrawn last month.

Parents said their review of the account showed a $2300 shortfall; there was no money for the tournaments.

“I’m a senior. It’s my last chance to get looked at.  I don’t know what we’re going to do now that we’re out of money,” said player, Jared Cashen.

“We were hoping we had 3 more tournaments just to get that exposure for the boys.  That’s his dream to go to college on a baseball scholarship,” said Pat Cashen, Jared’s mom.

“I’m really hurt more than anything.  I’ve been with this guy since 8th grade,” said player, Collin Haney.

“It’s a lesson for everybody, including us,” said new head coach & parent, Boyd Morgan.

He said his son had played for Eilerts for 3 years with no problems.

Morgan filed a report with St. Charles Police after finding records of Eilerts repeatedly using a debit card for the team’s account at gas stations near Eilerts’ home, and writing checks on the accounts – to cash.

“The Fast Lanes, the Hucks, and the Quick Trips.  There was about $1200of just checks made to cash.  You can’t explain that,” Morgan said.

Eilerts and his wife can explain it.

She has detailed records, too.

She said the parents had not accounted for all of the expenses of team fundraisers;  her records showed a shortfall of about $270.

She said her husband had put double that amount back into the account and was known to pay for kids to play out of his own pocket.

Eilerts said he sought legal advice after learning parents had gone to police and was told not to comment.  But he did have this to say:  “I don’t have anything to hide.  I didn’t do what they say.  I love the game of baseball. That’s what it was all about.  It’s all about baseball.”

Police said they were investigating, but at this point, there was no evidence of a crime; they were not seeking charges.

Parents said they just want to warn other parents and thank Johnny Mac's Sporting Goods for working with them on outstanding debts.

They've got new fundraisers planned, so the team can hopefully still play in those tournaments, including a garage sale, Saturday, at the Brake Shop on Kingshighway in St. Charles and a car wash, Sunday, at Advance Auto Parts on First Capitol.

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