Amateur boxing’s national governing body overstepped its bounds in revising the bylaws of its fundraising arm to tap nearly $2 million for pre-Olympics programming, an El Paso County district court judge has ruled.
Larry Schwartz sided with the USA Boxing Foundation, determining USA Boxing “did not have the authority to unilaterally make changes” to statutes that gave the Colorado Springs-based NGB access to a $4 million endowment fund controlled by the foundation.
The election of 11 trustees with USA Boxing ties to the foundation’s board put the NGB in the majority last January, and it spent $1.815 million primarily on grass-roots efforts, membership promotion and scholarships.
Schwartz declared the foundation’s amended bylaws “null and void” but didn’t order USA Boxing to repay the 24-year-old foundation. The parties are working toward a settlement in hopes of avoiding further litigation.
“We’re asking to see where that money was spent, and we want to know the return on investment,” said Bill Deeter, a USA Boxing Foundation trustee. “We need a detailed accounting. We need to hold people’s feet to the fire.”
USA Boxing chief executive officer Jim Millman said his NGB “set the table for the organization to be more successful. … I don’t think (the money) was wasted at all. It was critical to use as building blocks for our program going forward.”
“We spent 100 percent on USA Boxing programs,” he added. “If we hadn’t used the money, $600,000 of it would have been lost. We were able to use that money productively rather than lose it to the market. Why have it be lost to nothing?”
Deeter maintains the U.S. Olympic Committee, which provided $1 million in funding to USA Boxing in 2007, hardly tried to stop the NGB from raiding the foundation.
“We reached out to them when this was happening and asked them to intervene,” Deeter said. “They turned a deaf ear to us. There’s a lapse in good judgment on their part.”
USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said, “We had several discussions with (USA Boxing Foundation vice president) Brad Smith, during which we offered our assistance. The USA Boxing Foundation chose to go in a different direction.”