The former chairman and president of one of Dallas’ biggest youth soccer clubs was indicted Wednesday on charges that he stole more than $800,000 from the Solar Soccer Club.
A grand jury indicted George David Ringer, 58, on two charges of theft and misappropriation of funds. In a bankruptcy filing last year, Ringer admitted owing Solar $900,000 — a debt he wanted a federal judge to cancel.
“What is particularly unfortunate about this is that a good portion of the money that was embezzled or stolen came off the backs of hardworking parents and kids working concession stands at various soccer venues,” said David Finn, a member of the Solar board whose son has played for the club for five years.
Reached at his office Wednesday, Ringer declined to comment.
Ringer, a lawyer, headed Solar Soccer from 1996 until early last year when club officials started questioning his handling of the association’s finances.
“We asked him, ‘Where is the money? Where did it go? Where was the authorization?’” Finn said.
After Ringer was unable to come up with the money or answers to satisfy club officials, he filed for bankruptcy in November. In addition to his debt to Solar, he admitted owing $487,000 to the IRS and $304,000 for what was described as an “oil and gas investment from the 1980s.”
Ringer claimed $1.9 million in total debt against $491,953 in assets. The assets included his $410,000 home, two decade-old cars and an “11-year-old mixed breed dog” Ringer said was worth $50.
Ringer filed for Chapter 7, which could have wiped out the debt. But Solar got wind of the plan, counterfiled to block it and gave information to Dallas prosecutors.
It takes a lot of soda sales to add up to $800,000. But Solar is a large outfit, with more than 65 boys and girls teams that include about 1,000 kids. In addition to other fundraising, players pay about $3,000 in annual fees.
The club has developed at least one professional soccer player: Corben Bone of the Chicago Fire . And in 2009, Solar coaching director Kevin Smith was named NSCAA/Adidas National Coach of the Year.
According to the indictment report, Ringer is accused of dipping into club funds starting five years ago, issuing lump sum checks to his law firm. The report said he started taking out loans to cover the growing deficit. The club’s books also indicate that he had the club “borrow” money from his law firm that was subsequently repaid — even though Solar has been unable to find any documents confirming that the loans existed.
According to a report by WFAA-TV (Channel 8) in April, Ringer was confronted by parents and told them he had been paying himself for legal work done for the club over the years. He later produced a schedule of itemized charges that included hours billed for “attending games,” “rescheduling games” and “fundraising issues,” according to WFAA.
Ringer told the station at the time that the allegations were “defamatory” as well as “unfounded, unwarranted … and in dispute.”
The club is left to figure out what it won’t be able to do because of the missing money. The club’s plans to buy its own soccer field will be much harder to achieve, Finn said.
But the biggest loss, he said, may be the loss of trust.
“Everybody trusted David,” Finn said. “Everybody.”
By JEFFREY WEISS
Dallas Morning News
Published: 08 June 2011 03:07 PM
Staff writer Ian McCann contributed to this report.