Contact 13 Investigates
Contact 13 gets answers from Diversity Youth Sports
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Parents across the Valley who signed their kids up with Diversity Youth Sports have turned to Action News.
They're demanding answers and accountability after the league took money from their bank accounts without their permission.
Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has been closely following the case and despite getting a door closed in her face and a series of conflicting explanations, she didn't give up.
Darcy: "You say you have nothing to hide."
David: "I have nothing to hide. That's why I agreed to do this interview."
David Knoll is the only person affiliated with Diversity Youth Sports who's been willing to put a face on the league's problems.
"If I had any warning, I would never have been the face of the league."
Starting out as a ref, Knoll became area coordinator and then regional director, all as an independent contractor.
"I was out there because I love working with kids."
But the league barely lasted a year before parents like Nikole Starkey and Heather Castellano started seeing problems.
Heather said, "I think right from the beginning we were a little put off, but never dreamed that it would come to what it's come to."
Their husbands coached and their kids played soccer and flag football with DYS in the Spring. And though the season ended, DYS continued to take money from their bank accounts.
Nikole: "I had three $25 charges end of June beginning of July and this week I have had five $95 as well."
Dozens of parents had the same thing happen to them in both Las Vegas and Southern California.
Knoll says DYS was having problems with their credit card processor in early June, but thought DYS President David Lee was investigating and resolving the issue back then, which begs the question:
Darcy: "Why are parents here at the end of July still seeing their accounts debited?"
David: "Yeah, that worries me, I mean you would think he would have shut it down like everything else."
After multiple, conflicting explanations to our inquiries, DYS sent us what they're calling their final statement, in which they blame one of three credit card processors and say their own foundation was a victim of unauthorized withdrawals as well.
But parents say they still can't get a response.
David: "The end was just the doors are locked, the email's shut off, that's the end."
Darcy: No one's answering phones?
David: "No one answering phones, no one responding."
And he says parents aren't the only ones affected by DYS's disappearing act.
David: "The biggest thing that upsets me is that the refs that we were using, I mean, these are young kids and this money was important to them."
Darcy: "They weren't getting paid?"
David: "They weren't getting paid. Yeah."
Darcy: "And David Lee wasn't responding to that?"
David: "He's not responding to me."
DYS tells us they're working to fix the problem with the unauthorized charges.
Their website tells parents that they'll re-open September 3.
Heather: "I think they're gone."
Daniel Perry hopes that's not the case.
"He was excited to be on a new team and start scoring goals," Daniel says of his five-year-old son, who he signed up for summer soccer with DYS.
But shortly before the first game, he got an email from DYS that the season was canceled.
To add insult to injury:
"For the registration fee they charged us four times." And for uniforms they charged him five times. That's almost $500 dollars for a summer season that never even started.
DYS's website says all families who signed up for Summer will be automatically transferred to the Fall season.
But Contact 13 learned there may not be a Fall season.
We checked with the Cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Clark County and found DYS doesn't have permits to play on any of their fields in the Fall, all of which are already allocated to other leagues.
And even though the DYS website says they may play at some schools, the school district says they have no paperwork on file for DYS and are now looking into the league's claims that they can play on school district fields.
"I want people to know that this whole reality just breaks my heart that this has happened," says Knoll, "And I wish I could have, I wish I had the resources myself to do something about it."
Since we began our investigation, the Better Business Bureau has started one of their own. They've posted an alert on their website about DYS.
We also learned that the league's state business license expired Tuesday.
If you're a parent who's been involved with DYS, we want to know about it. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.