REEDSBURG, Wis. - Reedsburg youth hockey club members are conflicted about whether their former treasurer, who pleaded guilty to stealing from the group, got a strong enough punishment.
Dan Lehman pleaded guilty and a judge ordered him Aug. 13 to pay the hockey club $80,000. He'll continue on electric monitoring for four years, according to online court records.
Lehman won't serve prison time unless he fails to pay the money back, which is scheduled to be made in payments of at least $400 a month.
"A lot of people in the community thought it was a pretty light sentence," said Deb Rosholt, the hockey club's president. "For hockey to continue to do well, we needed to recover as much money as possible. If he were to have gone to prison, we wouldn't have gotten anything back."
The club's leaders accused Lehman of stealing nearly $150,000. He withdrew money from the group's checking account and then used the hockey club's construction loan as a line of credit to cover his tracks, Rosholt said.
Insurance covered about one-third of the cost, and the group has been making payments on the remainder of the loan, she said.
Tracy Jones, whose two sons play hockey, said it was difficult for her and other parents to deal with an "adult problem" while maintaining the program for their kids.
"It's hard to explain to players and the young kids that somebody took something from them," Jones said. "It's a hurt that you will never know unless you have gone through it personally."21539924
A small committee now oversees the club's finances, a setup that other youth sports leagues and church groups have asked about implementing themselves, Rosholt said.
The community has rallied around the program -- businesses bought advertisements at the ice rink, residents bought pizzas for a fundraiser, and people have offered words of encouragement, she said.
Lehman was a parent of a former youth hockey player, and often volunteered at the rink.
"For many years to come he won't be remembered as the man who did so much to help hockey, he'll be the one who stole money from the hockey kids," Rosholt said.
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