Checks written to Bingham High ended up in ex-coach Mark Dubach's 'personal business account'

Published: Saturday, April 27 2013 6:20 p.m. MDT

"The boys sold advertisements to boosters and businesses to help cover their fees,” said the father who wrote that check. He now questions whether the school received that money for the ad.

That same family also received a call just two weeks ago from Bingham’s financial secretary telling them that they owed $350 in outstanding basketball fees for the 2012-13 season. The student’s mother took the checks into the office and showed secretaries that she’d paid all of the required fees, which they agreed she had. Two of those checks totaling $925 were deposited into the Granite Credit Union account.

Another parent wrote one check for $465 and an additional check for $825 intended for summer camps in 2011 and 2012. She said she never questioned the prices nor received a breakdown of the costs but now wishes she had.

“I don’t know if I’m naïve but I just thought the money was going towards what it was supposed to be going towards,” she explained.

One mother said she asked questions about $40 that Dubach once collected to attend Knott’s Berry Farm in California during a school-related basketball trip. When her son told her they didn’t go to the amusement park, she emailed the coach.

“He said, ‘I’ll put it in his account and it will go to something else’,” she said, acknowledging that she had no way of checking. “But the same thing happened two years ago when we paid $80 for the boys to go to Disneyland. They didn’t go.”

Another time, she said the coach sent a paper home with her son that said she owed some fees. She went through her checks and emailed him her accounting. He emailed back: “You’re right. It was my error.”

One family provided the Deseret News with an agenda from a parent meeting with Dubach from last spring. The agenda said the cost for the season would be $1,150, while the cost for the summer program would be “about $750.”

“They’d give us the breakdown every year. It’s going to be $1,800, $700 for the Christmas trip to San Diego,” another mother added. “But we’ve never gotten a breakdown of how much the hotels rooms are — four boys per room — this is how much is going to cost for food, for gas, tournament fees. It’s just that it’s $700 for San Diego — pay for it.”

That agenda also indicated the players were required to work as scorekeepers for Amateur Athletic Union events. But parents said there was never an accounting or any record of discounts provided, and essentially the players were working eight- to 12-hour shifts on holidays and weekends without compensation. But parents said they didn’t feel they could ask questions about how much their boys earned working the AAU tournaments — nor any accounting of their fees.

The seven sets of parents said few families asked for or were given an accounting of their money or fees. When they brought up financial issues, some of the parents claimed they were met with hostility from Dubach, and feared their children would be cut or lose playing time if they forced the issue.

One mother said parents fear retribution against their sons. “You’re afraid for him, afraid they’ll yell at him more, demean him in practice or just not let him play.”

The parents acknowledged that keeping silent for playing time may appear silly, but said playing for their high school team is something all of the boys dreamed and prepared for over many years.

“This is something these boys have worked for from the day they pick up that basketball in Jr. Jazz — making their high school team,” another mother said. “You’re going to jeopardize that for $40? You get labeled as the troubled parent, and your kids suffer. It’s not worth it.”