The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted last night to renew the Annandale Boys Club's bingo license after securing a promise from club officials that the group will tighten financial controls over its $1 million-a-year bingo operations.
The action came following a public hearing attended by about 100 club supporters. The two sides had previously agreed in principle on conditions club officials would have to agree to in return for receiving a new permit to conduct the games.
Two weeks ago the Fairfax County Internal Audit Office released a report highly critical of the club's financial record keeping and business dealings.
It said Everett G. Germain, Boys Club president, "personally profited" from the group's bingo operation by selling the club $500,000 worth of sporting goods at about a 51 percent gross profit since 1973 and that the club's executive director, Paul Kelly, had "indirectly benefited" from the sale of concessions at the club's twice-a-week bingo games. The report recommended that supervisors revoke the club's bingo license.
Club attorney Grayson P. Hanes denied there was any wrongdoing and said only that the club, whose bingo games support youth sports in Fairfax, should improve its record keeping.
The conditions in the agreement are:
* The Boys Club "will continue to follow the system of internal controls, accounting records and forms" established by Homes, Lowry, Horn and Johnson, a private auditing firm the club hired this year.
* Club president Germain "should be paid an appropriate salary rather than compensated through sports equipment sales."
* The food concession at the bingo games should be operated under contract. Club officers, directors or "members of their immediate families shall not be permitted to bid. . . for the concession stand contract."
* The club shall be required to continue to work with the county audit staff until it can document "all payments not documented as of this date."
Attorneys for the club asked that the agreement not be construed as an admission of guilt.
The club's bingo games have been controversial since 1977 when Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. investigated allegations that the club made illegal payments to its bingo workers. No charges were brought at that time, but county politicians say the incident led to the enactment of Virginia's bingo control law, which now regulates bingo operations.
Earlier this month Horan made an unsuccessful attempt to prosecute the club on misdemeanor criminal charges of failing to keep proper records. The club was cleared of wrongdoing by Fairfax General District Court Judge Barbara M. Keenan, though Horan said the ruling did not squarely address the club's flaws.