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Madison man suspected of taking $200,000 from Little League

Published On: Mar 04 2014 09:00:49 AM CST   Updated On: Mar 04 2014 10:38:46 PM CST

A Madison man misappropriated about $200,000 from an east side Little League group, according to a release from Madison police.

MADISON, Wis. -

A Madison man misappropriated about $200,000 from an east side Little League group, according to a release from Madison police.

Police said they started working on the case in November 2012 when they received a complaint about the embezzlement of funds from the Kennedy Little League baseball organization.

Investigators said the fraudulent activity dates back to at least 2005.

The Little League’s former president, Stephen L. Verhage, 59, was arrested on suspicion of multiple counts of theft and fraudulent writings.

Parents and sponsors said it's sad, but it's not what Kennedy Little League is all about.

The fields at Kennedy Little League sit empty Tuesday, but soon they will be filled with kids running the bases.

"This does not affect baseball at all. This is such a wonderful game that we can go out and play and all we need is a field, and the business side of it doesn't matter if you are 10, 11, 12 years old," Brad Woodall said.

Woodall, one of the league's sponsors, said the news does not waiver his support for the league.

"It's a shame, this budget and revenue comes from the kids and the families of the kids, and it should go back to the kids," Woodall said.

The Woodall Baseball Academy pays around $500 a year to sponsor a team and hang a banner at the park.

"This is when they need the support as a parent and a sponsor, this is when they need it," Woodall said.

"To us it's shocking. You have to feel bad for him, but they are taking the right steps. Kennedy Little League has been up front and proactive in informing families of what has been going on. I feel confident in the organization, and for that reason I continue to sign my kids up. They run a great program," said Charly Weiberg, who has three children in the league.

In the meantime, everyone else is looking forward to playing ball this season.

"We need to step up to support Kennedy Little League so it keeps going and the kids have a place to play," Woodall said.

Kennedy Little League has 60 baseball teams and serves around 650 children.

News 3 reached out to Verhage Tuesday, but his family declined an interview.

Madison crime stories from the past 12 months - locations are approximate

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