If eight years from now, there is no one doing judo at the Olympic level in this country, we only have ourselves to blame.
Lynn Wooldridge-Thursby filed a complaint with the U.S. Olympic Committee regarding the mismanagement of funds and many other problems in the national governing body. The result was that USA Judo was put on probation.
Really given the findings, I should be astounded that people aren't up in arms and that no one has been fired. I'm not astounded, though, because, sadly, I have come to expect corruption and cronyism in international sports. The whole FIFA scandal didn't surprise me in the slightest. The same is going on in judo but as long as people can get their slight piece of the pie or $1,000 here or there to go to a tournament or on some list as the toughest 11-year-old in America no one speaks up.
Lynn tells me, and I know it is true because I have been in her position many times, that she gets all kinds of calls and texts "off the record" from people saying they support her but when she says, "Well, then, SPEAK UP!" they crawl back over in a corner on their bellies like a reptile.
To summarize some of Lynn's posts
- 8 years ago, the board transferred $2.3 million to be managed by a private fund. Last year, they returned less than $800,000 with no accounting for what happened to the other $1.5 million
- The CEO of USA Judo charged $20,000 of personal expenses on the corporate credit card which he was allowed to repay over time
- The CEO of USA Judo sold USA Judo inventory through his own personal corporation and kept the profits.
So, if you didn't know. Now you know. THIS is why I spend all of my time and money working with the Gompers Judo program - because I know my efforts go to supporting fine young people making themselves into even better people.
There is a lot more and Lynn has posted links to all of the documentation of this.
Here are a couple of Lynn's posts on Facebook in their entirety
How much USAJ has paid family members of employees? (Including extended family)
The North Miami training site received government grants of 200,000. during 2008-2009. This company was owned by Jose Rodriguez and Jhonny Prado.
We have 850 - 1000 coaches. How much are the annual fees and clinics?
This same individual chairs the coaches education program, the promotion board and heads the committee selecting the Olympic coaching staff.
2004 - 225,273.00
2005 - 53,686.00
2006 - 296,960.00
2007 - 354,049.00
2008 - 28,604.00**
5yr total - 958,572.00
(See 2008 form 990)
Why is he still here? Why is someone running our NGB that puts his personal interests above that of the membership and athletes? Why is it OK for him to take the profit the NGB so desperately needs, while the NGB pays the bills for his little personal business enterprise? He has admitted this and more.
This is WRONG.
This is UNETHICAL. This is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST!
What else has he done to enhance his personal revenue at the expense of the NGB? It stands to reason these are not isolated incidents.
If you are misappropriating company funds for your own personal use, in any other situation, YOU ARE FIRED. You are not allowed to resign or hang around and cause more harm. The Board has had numerous opportunities to straighten this out, instead they look the other way or bury their heads in the sand.