Del City little league parents are crying foul after they say their children worked hard to raise money for equipment, only to have it taken away.
Those parents say the team's former coach ripped off the kids. The parents say the kids have lost equipment worth thousands of dollars. The equipment represents several years of selling candy bars outside metro stores. Parents now say the team is left with virtually nothing.
A handful of boys from the Del City Lil Champs spent Tuesday afternoon playing catch as their parents tried to move the team forward.
"Everything is gone," said parent Dedra Conover. "Everything that [the children] worked for… is gone. These kids have really worked hard."
Parents say out of the blue, former head coach Maurice "Moe" Barker announced he and his son would be leaving the Del City Lil Champs to focus on another team. Parents also say the coach announced that the team's equipment was going with them to the new team.
Current coach and fellow parent Michael Rogers is trying to find a grand total on what the team lost, but says Barker is the only one who really knows. So, News 9 paid Barker a visit at his home.
Barker does not classify what he did as stealing. He says the parents are entitled to say what they want, but they have it wrong.
Barker says two teams raised funds and shared equipment. As head coach, Barker says he has the right to leave the Lil Champs and continue using the equipment only for his second team.
"If I'm the head coach, I make those decisions," Barker said. "[Parents] should have [drawn] up a contract and said … this stuff stays here."
Parents who have been with the team for years are left in disbelief.
"This is a coach we trusted," Conover said. "This is a coach that the kids trusted."
Barker says he quit the team because of drama and little league politics. He says it all started when parents became upset that his son had joined another team.
The team is trying to raise money for new equipment. To donate to the Lil Champs, contact Dedra Conover at firstname.lastname@example.org.