The Annandale Boys Club, whose five-night-a-week bingo operation is under investigation by the Fairfax County prosecutor, is an organization with two images.
To its admirers, the club-tightly run by its president of 18 years, Everett G. Germain-is the finest youth soccer organization in North America. Its teams play and win all over the world. Its fees are fair and Germain is a dedicated leader who spends 50 hours a week on club business.
To its critics, the Annandale Boys Club is a grasping fiefdom run for the benefit of a select few. It raids other clubs for top athletes, raises money in other clubs' territories and is a source of personal income for Germain.
The club, operating out of a small house on Columbia Pike that doubles as Germain's law office, has an annual budget of more than $100,000 and about 3,500 boys and girls from kindergaten through high school playing soccer, football, basketball, softball and a variety of other sports.
Precise figures on its operations could not be obtained as neither Germain nor secretary-treasurer Marion Reading would discuss the club's activities and finances.
Its 1975 gross income was $114.551 and the club's bingo game held at Baileys Crossroads with crowds of up to 400 people a night, added at least another $50,000 to the club's income in 1976 according to club sources.
Germain, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and George Washington University law school, has been the leading force in the club for years and is generally credited with making the Washington area one of the nation's strongest youth soccer centers.
Annandale teams have won U.S. age-group championships and toured in Europe, Canada and South America, winning against teams in nations where soccer is the No. 1 sport.
A former patent attorney for the Navy and an unsuccessful candidate in 1965 for the Virginia House of Delegates. Germain built the club from a locl "kickball" league to a national power.
Along the way, the Annandale Boys Club became a major factor in the Annandale community, organizing sports activities for many of its children and involving numerous parents in its programs.
Most were and are happy with the club's sports program and more than willing to let Germain do the hours of work necessary to keep a club running, according to interviews with many members.
Others became dedicated supporters of Germain and the club's win-oriented attitude, quick to attack critics as jealous of Annandale's success. But the club also developed a wide variety of people who disliked its operating methods.Some quit, some formed other clubs and some just complained. No one mounted a successful challenge to Germain's leadership.
As a nonprofit, nonstock, tax-exempt corporation, the club is required by state law to elect its officers and directors at an annual public meeting. It must keep minutes and books that are open for inspection by members.
In fact, the club's 11-member board of directors, as listed with the State Corporation Commission in Richmond, is apparently inactive. Three said they did not realize they were still directors and Patrick S. Moran, listed as a director, said, "I don't think a board of directors exists. We haven't met in seven years."
Of the directors listed with the SCC in January, 1975 - the required 1976 report has not been filed - one is dead, one has moved away, five said they were not active as directors and the families of two said they were no longer on the board.
The directors were chosen "because one day Germain was heading for Richmond (to file incorporation papers) and asked if we would serve," Moran said. There has been no anual meeting and no election of officers and directors since at least 1969, according to Moran and other club officials interviewed.
Wallace R. Watson, a supporter of Germain and a director of the club, said the club simply evolved that way under Germain's full-time leadership. As a result, Germain and a handful of people who may be active in a given sport usually make whatever decisions are required.
"There are some advantages in operating the way we do," Watson said, "If someone calls and wants to put on a clinic we can just do it."
The bingo game, which grosses at least $300,000 a year based on reports from 1975, was set up and operating before at least several persons active in the club's administration were aware it existed, according to interviews.
Fairfax County prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr. has said that an investigation has uncovered illegal payments to bingo workers and that an expensive leasing arrangement is being probed. State law forbids payments to workers and says that no club member may profit from bingo.
Watson said the bingo operation has the basic problem of looking "more like Las Vegas" than like a boys club fund raiser, but that in 1976 the club had been able to put aside about $50,000 with which to buy long-dreamed of athletic fields and build its own sports headquarters.
Another controversial aspect of the club's operation is its purchase of uniforms and equipment. They are bought from a corporation owned by Germain.
Club vice president Bertram W. Claridge said the arrangement has the informal approval of the club's officers and directors. Claridge, who said that he no longer functions as a club officer, defended the practice as "a system that works."
The uniform cost is less than or comparable to that at other sports clubs, Claridge said. Registration, which covers the cost of a uniform, ranges from $10 to $25 a season depending on the sport. The fee includes the cost of referees, field preparation, equipment, office overhead and insurance.
Watson said the uniform business was a method of paying Germain for the hours he puts in on club business. Watson said he had proposed paying Germain a salary and would prefer that to using the uniforms as a method of compensation. He and Claridge said they did not know what the profit margin was on the $40,777 the club spent on uniforms and equipment in 1974 and the $47,583 spent in 1975.
Germain described the uniform business in a 1973 letter to a club member in which he wrote:
"The 30 to 50 hours per week that I put in on the boys club and the 10 to 20 hours per week my wife puts in are all as a volunteer. The boys club does buy most of its equipments and uniforms through a company owned by me at prices lower than elsewhere. The boys club also buys its printing, bus repairs, supplies and so forth from other members of the boys club. Does anyone suggest we buy from strangers who do nothing for us or to us and who we turn to when we need something."
The uniform arrangement caused Springfield Boys Club president John Pratt to say, "Whichever way Annandale Boys Club does it, that's the way Springfield doesn't."
Pratt said his club boys equipment on a bid basis and "as far as an officer selling it to the club, no way."
Pratt added "The thing that gets everybody mad is Annandale's player raiding to get top-grade soccer players. "We just feel if you are going to be in the Annandale Boys Club you should be from Annandale."
Former Springfield club president Cliff Weaver and officials of the Chantilly Youth Association also complained that the Annandale Boys Club came into their areas to run carnivals. Ben Gold, a director of the Chantilly club, said that Annandale ran a carnival at the site Chantilly had used for several years a few weeks before the Chantilly carnival was scheduled.
Gold said the carnival hired by Chantilly canceled out after learning of the Annandale carnival and Chantilly lost the $4,000 to $8,000 they had made in past years.
The Annandale club's aggressive practices have angered groups as varied as the Annandale Chamber of Commerce, state Little League officials and the Boys Clubs of America, which called The Post to say that Annandale was not a member of the national organization.
Numerous parents of Annandale club players and several former coaches complained of the lack of financial accounting, but said they feared their children's chances of making the club's top-rated "select" teams would be hurt if their names were used. Many also said that the select teams got far better treatment than the regular "house" teams.
Those views were challenged by Frank Baptista, coach of the select Red Demons, made up of boys born in 1962. "A lot of people have nothing to do but complain," he said. "The money that we have put out for my children has been more than amply returned."
"Mr. Germain many times is there at the club until 10 and 11 at night. He has a law practice which suffers a great deal," Baptista said.
Of the uniform sales, Baptista said, "I hope the man is making some money. I wouldn't work the hours he works for any company but my own. He's done more to promote boys club sports than anyone I can think of."
Baptista said, "I think the Annandale Boys Club has done a (great) job. It now has four or five boys on scholarships at college. Mr. Germain has shortcomings just like everybody does. He's an honest man but he lacks the ability to delegate. He tries to do it all himself."
Annandale director Watson, who said he would like to see a more open club administration, said that the Annandale Boys Club has just hired a certified public accountant to "set up the books so we can make heads tails of what is going on." Watson said he doubted if existing records were adequate to make an audit of past records possible.
"It isn't that anyone is crooked. It's just when you get involved with so many people it's easy to lose track," Watson said.