The District of Columbia Approved Basketball Officials Association has obtained an admission from one of its members that he owes the association $52,596.22 How he obtained the money from the association was not disclosed.
The official, Raymond L. Taylor of Chillum, is the elected commissioner of the association. His duties include assigning officials to referee basketball games and signing the checks to pay them.
He signed a promissory note Aug. 9 binding himself to pay back the amount in question by Sept. 8. The note also empowered any attorney to appear for Taylor and confess judgment. When Taylor failed to pay the amount by the agreed-upon date, the association exercised its right under the note and filed the confessed judgment yesterday in Prince George's County Circuit Court. The association has demanded judgment against Taylor for the $52,596.22 amount which it is owed.
There was no indication in court papers of wrongdoing by Taylor. It has been learned that he got the money from the association to cover heavy business investments, reportedly the purchase of a bowling alley. Reached last night, Taylor said he knew nothing about the suit, adding that he thought the matter had been "taken care of" three weeks ago. Association President Jim Howell has declined to comment.
"Our next move is whatever (attorney) Mitchell Holtzman tells us," said the association's parliamentarian, Paul Loube. "We want to give Mr. Taylor a chance to repay the money, so we'll play a waiting game. It might take two, three or six months before we do anything. We're not going anywhere."
The association's 180 members are responsible for high school and junior high school varsity and junior varsity games in the District, Northern Virginia and Montgomery County. Some members work college games, but most of those assignments are made on an individual basis by the various conferences. Local school boards give funds to the association, which then disburses the money to the officials after the season.
"We have taken steps to make sure that the loss of these funds will not affect payments to any member of the board," said Loube, while declining to reveal what the steps were. "Nobody's going to lose out because of this. There will be no lesser percentage given or a reduction on any payment."
According to sources, the association has a policy of not lending money to its members.
The board tried to keep the situation from reaching the courts, preferring to settle it privately, according to Loube. When Taylor's failure to repay made that impossible, the board sought legal recourse.
"The reputation and name of the board is at stake," Loube explained. "We want to handle this is the smoothest way possible, and we want to be as fair as we can to Mr. Taylor."