LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a battle between two youth basketball leagues in Valencia County that’s gone as far as court filings.
The Los Lunas Youth Basketball League website says, “The best choice in Valencia County”. While the Rio Grande Valley Basketball website has an entire page dedicated to addressing ‘lies’ and ‘slanderous allegations.’
All of this over children playing sports.
On Thursday, Oct. 13, the Los Lunas Youth Basketball League filed a complaint in District Court against the Rio Grande Valley group.
The complaint alleges RGVB director Anthony Wilson – former LLYBL board member – drained the LLYBL bank account of nearly $7,000 in June and closed the account without proper board approval. Then he used that money to start his own league, RGVB, the complaint says.
It goes on to claim that Wilson also changed the password to the LLYBL website, llybl.org, and used it to recruit players/parents for the RGVB league.
The complaint accuses Wilson and the RGVB board members of breach of fiduciary duties, fraud, unlawful conversion of non-profit corporation, unlawful conversion of monetary funds, violation of corporate by-laws, bad faith and slander.
KRQE News 13 called both youth leagues for comment on the matter.
A woman answered the phone at RGVB, and when KRQE News 13 asked to speak to a representative of the organization, she said, “I would watch what you say,” and then threatened KRQE News 13 with a lawsuit. She refused to give her name.
A few hours later, Wilson followed up via email and said the LLYBL continues to harass his organization, saying LLYBL “loves to be the bully” and wants to destroy the competition.
He said he has yet to be served for the Oct. 13 complaint, though.
In a second email from Wilson, he said the LLYBL was being operated by a non-profit organization that he created (called the Los Lunas Amateur Basketball Association) at the time of the allegations because LLYBL had lost its non-profit recognition by the state in the early 2000s and couldn’t be revived as a stand-alone non-profit.
Wilson then said he orchestrated the termination of the LLYBL in June through his powers as creator of the LLABA after a dispute between himself, his wife and other board members regarding the board election process.
“So I called up my Board of Directors for the nonprofit [LLABA] and we decided to terminate the LLYBL program effective June 20, 2016,” Wilson wrote.
He said the nearly $7,000 left in the LLYBL bank account went into limbo in the form of a cashier’s check, “until another program or operation which was legal was able to use it.”
So, Wilson created the RGVB league and the check was cashed. Just like LLYBL was, the newly-created RGVB league is operating under the same non-profit Wilson established, except Wilson changed the name on Aug. 29 to the ‘Rio Grande Valley Amateur Basketball Association.’
As of a Monday afternoon check on the Secretary of State’s website, the RGVABA was in good standing with the State.
A check of the Los Lunas Youth Basketball League non-profit shows it is a “new corporation” as of Sept. 27 and is in good standing.
LLYBL Director Jeff Benavidez with LLYBL answered a phone call by KRQE News 13, but directed questions to his lawyer. The lawyer said she was out of town and unable to meet or speak via telephone. A request for a statement went unanswered.
KRQE News 13 also reached out to Los Lunas police, who said an investigation was conducted that Anthony Wilson would not be criminally charged.