Owners of a now defunct Laguna Hills athletic apparel and equipment company say they have the most complete accounting yet of secret “slush” funds that enabled kickbacks from the company’s former owner to high school and college coaches throughout Southern California.
Geoff and Teresa Sando, who acquired Lapes Athletic Team Sales in 2008 as it was going out of business, have compiled records allegedly showing that former owner Bill Lapes maintained secret “slush” accounts with employees at 80 institutions, including schools, colleges, youth leagues and a police department.
The Sandos said the institutions probably had no oversight of these accounts.
In some instances, a portion of the money was used for personal items, including checks written by the company to coaches and their family members, the Sandos said. So far, the evidence of personal use is limited to a small number of accounts, they added.
The Sandos sent a detailed list of slush-fund transactions to the Orange County superintendent of schools Monday, who then forwarded the document to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The couple expects some slush-fund totals to increase as they continue to examine the records.
PBS SoCal has contacted the districts and organizations on this list, and encourages anyone to contact the station with more information.
— DAVID NAZAR and NICK GERDA of PBS SoCal
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