Sports fund case leads to search in Sperryville

After a significant amount of money was reported missing from the Rappahannock County Schools Sports Association (RCSSA) bank account, according to Circuit Court records, investigators earlier this month obtained a warrant to search the Sperryville home of former RCSSA treasurer Amy Grigsby Dodson.

Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor the Commonwealth’s Attorney would comment on the affidavit filed with the Circuit Court clerk’s office to authorize a search of the home, in which (according to the document) Sheriff’s Capt. J.C. Welch and other deputies recovered a computer, iPhone, bank deposit book, checks, a TV and sound system and miscellaneous documents, among other items.

Reached at home yesterday (Feb. 22) morning, Dodson declined to comment on the investigation, saying, “given the amount of misinformation in the story about RCSSA in last week’s paper, you’d have to speak to my attorney, Mr. Baumgardner – Doug.”

Douglas Baumgardner, a lawyer in Washington and a former commonwealth’s attorney, likewise declined to comment, or even to confirm he was representing Dodson. “My practice is to represent our clients in court,” he added, “and not in the press.”

According to the search warrant affidavit, on Monday, Feb. 6, then-RCSSA president Amy Hitt – who stepped down shortly after she began serving as the Jackson district’s school board representative – called the Sheriff’s Office to report that money was missing from the RCSSA’s account at Union First Market Bank in Washington. The report continued:

“Sheriff Connie C. Smith spoke with Hitt, who advised her that Amy Grigsby Dodson is the RCSSA treasurer. Hitt further advised that Dodson was given a laptop and check/debit/credit card belonging to the RCSSA, and was only authorized to conduct business and to pay the RCSSA bills. The account is held at Union First Market Bank . . .” The affidavit said Hitt told investigators that bank statements she obtained showed a “significant amount of money” missing, as well as unauthorized purchases. Hitt reported that only she and Dodson were authorized to access the RCSSA account, the affidavit said, and that Dodson was responsible for depositing all proceeds obtained by the RCSSA and the Rappahannock Youth Basketball League into the account, as well as paying all bills for the RCSSA.

The search warrant affadavit also reported that “an examination of the financial records of RCSSA shows that Amy Dodson changed the user identification number without the knowledge of the RCSSA, where Dodson now only has access to the account.” Among the “unauthorized purchases” listed on the RCSSA account, according to the document: “Microsoft X-Box Live, Rappahannock Electric, Sprint Wireless, Verizon, Apple iTunes, Bill Turner Inc., Kings Dominion Web, Shaw’s Services, Wal-Mart, Sheetz, Shell Oil, McDonalds, Chipotle, Hillsdale, Newspaper Direct, Rose Hill Vet, Martin’s, Petco, Warrenton Florist, Los Portillos, Fandango, Rhapsody, Aarons online payment, Surfside Motel in Nags Head, N.C., Front Royal Co Op, Kmart, Bloom, Stubhub and Kubraezpayfee.”

In a letter emailed to the Rappahannock News editor by current RCSSA president Amy Burnett (and printed on page 4 of today’s paper), the “members of the RCSSA” wrote that they “want the community to know that we are working with the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office to complete their ongoing investigation. It is incomprehensible to us that anyone would steal from a nonprofit organization, let alone one that benefits our county’s children. To say that we hope ‘justice prevails’ is an understatement.”