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Ex-New City Little League Treasurer Pleads Guilty in $400,000 Theft

Joyce Bidnick accepts plea deal that could result in six-month to one-year jail sentence for second-degree grand larceny

of New City plead guilty today to second-degree grand larceny in connection with the theft of more than $400,000 from the

Bidnick, who was the league's treasurer from 2003 to 2011, appeared in Rockland County Court and accepted a plea deal that could result in her serving a one-year county jail term or six months in county jail and five years probation when she is sentenced on July 20.

"She admitted she stole the money," said Bidnick’s attorney, Bruce Klein of the Bronx.

Klein said his client did not want a jury trial. Bidnick, 58, had to decide by today to accept a plea deal or go to a jury trial.

Assistant District Attorney Gary Lee Heavner said Bidnick diverted an amount of checks and cash that was “substantially over $400,000” between April 1, 2006 and April 30, 2011 from the Little League. He said $230,000 was repaid during that time span. 

“While the theft was ongoing, money was being paid back,” Klein said.

Additionally, $100,000 more has been repaid since April 2011 and Klein will give the Little League a $20,000 check on Thursday.

Heavner said there would be further review to determine whether there is still an outstanding sum of money to be repaid.  He said it could be zero or another $70,000.

“In essence, the $120,000 might be the full restitution,” Heavner said.

“She’s trying to do what she can to make New City Little League whole,” Klein said. “We believe we can show there was an additional amount of money paid back during the years we are asking them to give us credit for.”

He said they are working to show that $70,000 to $80,000 more was repaid. If the district attorney’s office determines more money must be repaid, that will be reimbursed over a period of time.

Klein said he has submitted information to the court explaining what was going on at the time of the theft and that may be brought up at the July sentencing.

“She acknowledges that she’s guilty,” he said. “She’s sorry for her conduct. She has expressed remorse from the beginning.”

Lon Hofstein, president of the New City Little League, said the league appreciated the work of the District Attorney’s Office and its efforts to recoup the money owed to the organization. He expressed appreciation for the understanding of vendors and umpires who agreed to continue working and providing services until the league could pay them.

“I reached out to every vendor personally,” he said. “They were very good, supportive. The umpires were very supportive.” 

Another action took place immediately after the discovery of the disappearance of the funds.

“We put new checks and balances in place,” said Hofstein. “It is done by a committee.”

Judge Charles Apotheker spoke directly to the two members of the New City Little League, who attended the hearing.  He pointed out the need for more oversight and a CPA to review their financial accounts.

“I can’t understand for the life of me how you allowed this to happen,” he said. “This should be a lesson for your organization for all organizations in Rockland County. I’m just concerned it had gone on for so long.”

Erik Moore May 24, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I am sure the DA did his job thoroughly. I am sure whatever the number, however much Mrs Bidnick took; if her husband - or anyone else, for that matter - were involved, there would have been other indictments. Trust the DA and the judge to do their jobs. We elected them... From the various articles I have read, if the actual amount is larger, all that means is that she replaced more. It seems irrelevant to me how much she took and put back, provided the league gets all of it back.
Jane Smith May 24, 2012 at 05:37 PM
John, I tried to find that article on today's LOHUD and was unable to do so.....would love to see it!
John May 24, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Billy---regarding your statement, "they spend each year what they bring in to OPERATE the league. Get your head out of the sand.".... that's not entirely true. I was at a meeting several years ago where it was stated that the league had an $85,000 surplus. A suggestion was made about possibly not raising player fees that coming season. That suggestion was shot down immediately with someone explaining that the $85 grand was an emergency fund. Ironically enough, that was the meeting where NB stepped down and was replaced by JB.
Pam May 24, 2012 at 08:02 PM
That is interesting timing John. This was a true crime and effected all those that participate in little league.
Erik Moore May 24, 2012 at 08:17 PM
John, you seem to be personally involved in all of this and have a serious chip on your shoulder when it comes to Mr. Bidnick. Nothing has ever even been implied against him. Do you have any valid information not based on supposition and speculation? Do you really think the DA and his team of accountants would have missed it or just let it go had Mr Bidnick been involved?
John May 24, 2012 at 09:15 PM
http://www.lohud.com/article/20120524/NEWS03/305240117/DA-lawyer-disagree-how-much-stolen-repaid-New-City-Little-League?odyssey=mod|newswell|text||s
Jane Smith May 24, 2012 at 10:20 PM
I just saw an article that said she was Treasurer from 2003 - 2011.
Maria May 24, 2012 at 10:51 PM
When I think back when my children were on NCLL, I cringe remembering how parents had to volunteer in the snack bar thus missing their own child's game. If the parent did not volunteer or find another parent to take their turn in the snack bar, there was the threat that their kid's team would forfeit their game for parent non-participation in the snack bar. This was right during the time Joyce was putting her hands in the till. Yes, it annoys me how the Board of NCLL took advantage of so many on so many different levels!
Rob May 25, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I have a few things I like to say....Not sure how anyone can defend this women. She should be sentence to a minimum of 5 years or more. And her husband.....He probably was in on it. Wake up people. Also, I'm very concerned how the league was sleeping for all these years. How come nobody else is being held accountable for this. I completely agree with Donna. The league must have so much money not to notice this money was missing. Were there others involved ? Guess we may never know. It seems only the treasurer was investigated. I think the league needs to publish once or twice per year their financial statements to the public. Don't get me wrong...The league is a great organization. However, lets face it, they really screwed up with this issue.
Rob May 25, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Well said...Completely agree
Pam May 25, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Rob, are you on the board? Did you ever volunteer?
frank peters May 25, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Others on the board MUST be held accountable.Billy dont tell me a bank is responsible for a criminal act.Do you check you bank statements each month? When you are missing 400k from a non for profit which took years to steal it is clear the board needs to change direction with new leadership.Our kids are what matters not personal interest of Board members.
Paul J. Cohen May 25, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Are you kidding me? The league is a business and will always be a business. New City doesn't own it. So they keep taking in more and more money and they can't do a lot of things right. Trust me, my son plays in that league and I HATE it. They have played one complete game this season. Those poor boys work so hard and try to give it their all and they call the game because they can't properly schedule the games. They make the kids play in inclement weather (this is not the major leagues here - these are young kids) and then when they finally get a nice day they call the game because they can't orgainze themselves. The scoreboard on Zuckor 2 still does not have all the lights working. Tell me what do the lightbulbs cost? Get a damn ladder and fix the scoreboard. I am not surprised at all that this happened seeing as how things are run.
Billy May 25, 2012 at 08:55 PM
No organization ever spends every dime. There is always money put aside. As a parent in the league, I can attest the fees have not been raised in at least five years. Keep in mind, though, that when vendor costs rise, fees must be adjusted. This is organization is not-for-profit. Except for Bidnick, no one gets paid. They are al volunteers.
Billy May 25, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Other leagues (like West Nyack) just charge you $50 to cover the fundraising fees - if you worked the snack bar, then you got your money back. NC didn't charge anything back in the day. As the league is compromised of Volunteers, everyone needs to do their part - whether operating the scoreboards or selling snacks. Fortunately, all parents have to do now is work the scoreboard. How tedious that must be...
Billy May 25, 2012 at 09:04 PM
She didn't take $400,000 in total. She was playing a shell game with the money putting money and then taking it out.
HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller May 25, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Bravo! Viva! Pearl River! . . . . Good Work! - HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller
cathy May 25, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Response to "Pam" below - unless NCLL has changed in the past ten years (and I doubt they have) - they do not want volunteers on the Board. Unless they know that you agree with them and are part of the old boys/girls network, they ignore you This is the same league that told me that at that time, girls games were not scheduled at the then new Zukor fields because "girls don't want to have to walk that far to get to the fields. The girls prefer to play at the older Strawtown Rd fields because it is less of a walk." Thats not related to the thefts, but shows the mindset of the volunteers.
Jane Smith May 25, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Billy, it is believed that she took MORE than $400,000. That is just the amount that she pleaded gulity to taking. Are you trying to say that if she took $400,000 but paid back $100,000, that she only took $300,000??? I can see where you would think that she only took the net sum of $300,000, but the facts are the facts. Especially when the fact is SHE ADMITTED IT!
Chris May 25, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Maybe this is why Hi-Tor has no money and has been saying that they are in dire financial straights.
mike sullivan May 25, 2012 at 11:27 PM
ncll has always had big money,when i played for them my father was on the board he was always disgusted that they had all this cash flow,cd's and money markets but kept raising the fees
Billy May 26, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Jane - I was merely responding to the Frank's comment. No one knew that there was money missing or even how much money. This was because bills were always paid and false financial statements and other documents were produced. I was only talking net sum taken - not actual gross numbers.
Billy May 26, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Cathy -if that was the case, why would they have 30 board members, at least half are new within the last 4 years? There was talk about making a Zukor field a skin field for the girls and the softball people scoffed at that idea. Softball considers Strawtown their home. Whoever told you that the girls didnt want to walk, was probably his or her own opinion. If you were to go to a game, you would notice there are A LOT of people on the out field grass because they are too lazy to walk all the way around. To say that as an excuse for playing at Strawtown is very naiive. Just someone's personal excuses. Besides, if you are a regular reader of the Patch or Journal News, you would know that the league has been investing in the Strawtown Fields. Two years ago, they built an indoor bathroom facility, put in Batting Cages for all the players and are now investing in new field lights. So for those who think they just have all this money sitting around are really living in darkness. All those things cost money and are put in place for the kids. Anyone that objects to investing in the kids that has some issues. Being punitive towards a whole league that was cleverly duped by one individual is not productive.
cathy May 26, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Billy - It may have been the opinion of the "volunteers" who at that time would not allow softball parents who didnt also have baseball sons on the board. BUT it was not the girls. They wanted to play on the new fields and couldn't understand why they could not. AND as I said, this was some time ago. I hope it changed, but apparently the high turnover on the Board indicates tahat new members become quickly disenfranchised. Yes, I do know how much things cost for the Little League but NO it is not one person who duped the others. If they had had checks and balances and learned from the Stony Point problems it would not have happened. They obviously did not have proper audits and that is inexcusable.
Linda Sabaj May 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
New anthem for the New City Little League changed from "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" to "Take Me Out To The Cleaners" After listening to these comments I see how this might of happened. Billy, You need to read carefully. "substantially more than $400M". They're guesstimating over $800,000 so far. Once the total stolen reaches $1,000,000 it becomes first degree felony non-violent felony and the 'game' changes to , 3 to 25 yrs, changing numbers on license plates instead of score boards. She took the plea for a reason - Check out the expression on her face one more time, a lot of fertilizer if you know what I mean, believe it breaks down to at least 20 yrs of landscaping. And you're talking gross numbers? not net? Are you thinking she paid FICA, SSI, etc. on what she stole? I also think you'll agree that she took more out than she replaced. Billy, it's time you turn on your lights. Pam, sounds to me like you are too far in the forest to spot a single tree. This fine gentleman, replaced by his wife 9yrs ago didn't notice his wife was shooting $$ out of her 'baseball glove' to the tune of perhaps a $1,000,000. Especially having had the exact same job, and knowing it in complete detail. Finally it seems the board and the DA's office are of the same mind. Give that topic some thought before you enter the voting booth next time. I'm not saying anything shady is going on here, but there is an old adage that pops into my mind, " When you assume, . . . "
Erik Moore May 29, 2012 at 01:46 PM
I have followed the news reports carefully and still do not understand why everyone is so hell-bent on crucifying Mr. Bidnick. The DA surely would have charged him if he had found ANY impropriety or mismanaged funds. As far as his not noticing his wife's "glove" - until we spend a night in their home, we have no idea what goes on there. I don't know if I would notice my wife doing the same - remember Mrs. Bidnick didn't have the money all at once, she repaid at the same time. She has admitted her guilt, is paying the money back and is willing to accept the consequences. Judging her by a mug shot? Probably not the best idea, nor the fairest. I can totally understand being angered by her actions, but she is attempting to do the right thing now. Isn't that what's important? None of us can change the past, but we are in control of what we do today; and it seems to me, she is doing just that.
Pam May 29, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Ya'all should find more productive ways to spend your time. Go volunteer for an organization!
Billy May 30, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Paul - perhaps you should get more involved with the league. If you did, you'd know that the Zukor 2 scoreboard was hit by a line drive and shorted part of it. Has nothing to do with the getting a ladder and changing lightbulbs. Additionally, the league has over 50 teams - so I can imagine it is not too easy to schedule. Games have two hour time limits for a reason. Perhaps if you looked at it from a league view as opposed to your own selfish view, you'd see that things run pretty well. If you disagree, then you should volunteer your time and help make it better. It don't get involved, your complaints mean nothing.
John May 31, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Just to through some other facts out there!!! She has admitted what she did, but then you have her husband who is a Past Grand Master for NYS Masons who has now been expelled for what??? MISAPPROPRIATION OF FUNDS!!!! What a shocker. As a Masonic Fraternity they have not released any details nor to my knowledge have they brought charges against him. So, if you think that they just did what they had to do and they are so sweet and nice you are sadly mistaken they would have done anything to collect another title in Masonry. They deserve what they get; they have brought Masonry into a new light, which is not in a good fashion. All the good that Masonry does they have brought nothing but shame to the organization. She and he need to pay for what they have done!!!!!!!
Bill F May 31, 2012 at 06:54 PM
John, if they haven't "released any details", how do you know what actually went on? Simply put, you do not. Neal Bidnick is a good man and a good Mason. The men who know him, and his character, remain unconvinced and are waiting for this situation to be resolved and his name cleared. That his wife broke the law opened the door for this heinous miscarriage of justice and I have no doubt he will be vindicated. You are correct in {{one}} thing - she admitted what she did, and is attempting to make it right.

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