Helmets, trophies and coolers of the Okolona Titans found in a storage shed rented by Eric Mason.
Eric Mason (Source; LMDC)
More equipment of the Okolona Titans.
FAIRDALE, KY (WAVE) - There are new developments in the case of a football coach charged with stealing more than $14,000 from a youth football league. The WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department has located some of the kids missing equipment, but the league is being asked to pay hundreds of dollars to get it back.
I broke the story about the coach's alleged theft. And now we've learned this latest development could drive the losses from dealing with former coach Eric Mason even higher.
Mike Jenette buys old storage units at auction. His most recent find has former Okolona Titans Youth Football League president Eric Mason's name all over it.
Trophies, helmets, and a tackling dummy formerly belonging to the Titans now sits in Jenette's storage shed. There's also a chainsaw, at least three coolers, two deep fryers and fishing poles, and a tackle box with Mason's name on it. The equipment used to be owned by the Titans and was kept at Extra Space Storage on Preston Highway. But when Mason stopped making monthly payments on behalf of the league, the facility auctioned off the contents of the unit.
"When I bought it I didn't have no clue who it was owned by or anything," Jenette said.
But then Jenette found the league's info hidden inside the tackle box and he did a little internet research and found our reports. In October, the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department exposed bank records and debit card statements that appear to show Mason took $14,700 from the league's bank account and spent it on himself.
In January, LMPD charged Mason with two counts of felony theft. Mason tells me he is innocent. But as he prepares to face a judge, the Titans are faced with trying to rebuild their league.
With the help of the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department, some members of the community have already stepped up to donate, but Jenette said he won't be among them. Jenette told me he spent $350 to buy the unit, and after adding in fuel and moving costs, he wants the Okolona Titans to pay him $400 to get their equipment back.
"I'm not looking to make a profit or anything," he said.
When I said to Jenette that some people who would see this story would say, ‘come on man, the kids have already had a rough enough time with this dude. Why can't you just give them the stuff back?" his reply was, "It's like I said I've got $400 invested and I just can't take a loss like that."
We let police know what was going on, but after questioning Jenette detectives determined he didn't know what he was buying so there's not much they can do. Titans board member LA Graves told me after everything that's happened they simply don't have the money to pay Jenette. That leaves them no choice but to chalk their equipment up with the rest of their losses.
To try to put all this behind them, the Okolona Titans changed their name to the Louisville Titans. That means all new uniforms, and they hope people from the community will step up with donations to try and pay for the new jerseys, pants and helmets.
The Kentucky Youth Football League is now requiring all league presidents submit to background checks to weed out anyone with criminal pasts. Our investigation uncovered Mason is a convicted felon serving time for robbery in the early 1990s.
Both Graves and current league President Donnie Cox said the KYFL had no idea about the problems with Mason and have been extremely supportive in helping to put things back together.
Monday, May 20 2013 6:10 PM EDT2013-05-20 22:10:07 GMT
FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Maybe you heard of the Kentucky juvenile justice worker who was accused of the rape and sodomy of a boy she was supposed to be counseling. What you didn't hear was that counselorMore >>
At the height of a budget crisis and service cutbacks in state government, a WAVE 3 News investigation found the state regularly pays employees not to work.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:16:48 GMT
MOORE, OK - The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office tweeted a photo of a frightened, muddy dog Monday after the deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.The comment accompanying the photo said, "scared,More >>
A heartbreaking photo of a little dog guarding the body of his owner, who was killed in the Moore, OK, tornado, is going viral.More >>