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Nearly 4-month investigation finds gambling, fraudulent invoices, missing booster funds in Shelbyville athletics

A 17-page probable cause affidavit from the Shelby County Prosecutor’s office outlines the investigation that led to the fall of Shelbyville’s former athletic director and head boys basketball coach Ryan Mack.

 

On January 14, hours before the Golden Bears were set to depart for a game at Columbus East, Mack abruptly resigned.  John Hartnett, Jr., since named head coach, took over with an interim tag and the Bears won on the road.  A bright moment in a troubling day for the program and the school.

Rumors, conjecture, some facts swirled around Mack’s immediate departure.  The overwhelming majority involved funds missing from the Golden Bear Booster Club.  Confirmation came Monday in the form of Mack’s arrest on six Level 6-Felony Theft charges and a Level 5 – Felony Corrupt Business Influence.

 

The Shelbyville Police investigation began with a report of theft from the president of the booster club, Mike Johnson.  Over the course of a few months in the fall of 2019 the boys basketball account showed a negative balance.  Johnson pointed out to authorities that this wasn’t all that unusual dependent upon when something had been paid for or purchased.  But when the deficit still exceeded $5000 in December the booster club decided to look deeper into the finances.  According to the probable cause affidavit it was found that Mack had been given money to cover expenses he said he had paid for related to a new locker room project.  It turned they were not bills that were paid, simply quotes and proposals from companies.  Mack had been paid by the booster club and no expenses had been paid, or needed to be.

 

Shelbyville Police report they were informed by Superintendent Mary Harper that they were informed during a meeting with Mack on January 14 that he had stolen $6787.91.  Mack resigned that day.

According to the affidavit, a check Mack wrote to cover the money mentioned in the meeting failed to clear two days later.  At that point, it was decided to seek charges.

 

Further police interviews with people connected with the booster club, athletic department and school administration found discrepancies involving money that a D1 basketball camp said it wasn’t paid, shortage of monies paid to a Shelbyville restaurant for food and concerns involving a basketball golf outing, ticket money from game events and other possible missing or unknown funds.

In all, the total dollar figure missing from the booster club was listed in the probable cause affidavit as $14, 767.91.

 

Gambling issues are spoken of frequently throughout the affidavit.  Administrators and teachers, including one who told police he invested money to go toward a basketball camp, stated to police they were aware that Mack had gambling issues.  As early as 2018, Mack was told not to have any more access to athletic money after basketball concession money was used for the travel basketball league and then deposits were late from Mack.  According to the probable cause affidavit Mack, at that time, acknowledged his gambling problem.

 

Shelbyville Police met with Mack and his attorney on March 18.  The probable cause affidavit says Mack admitted to taking $2200 from the athletic department safe, gambling it away but then repaying it.  From 2018 on he was not to have directly handled any money.  He further spoke of fraudulent claims regarding the proposed locker room project and being paid for those.