Tournament organizer charged with keeping $15,000 meant for Delaney Donates


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) -- A woman who organized softball tournaments to benefit the foundation established by Delaney Clements is charged with keeping more than $15,000 in proceeds from the events.

Stella Garcia, 47, of Grand Junction, was arrested last week on charges of felony theft, $5,000 to $20,000, and felony charitable solicitation fraud. According to the arrest affidavit, the money was collected during the 2016 and 2017 Strikeout Cancer softball tournaments to benefit Delaney Donates, a charity established by Clements who died of Neuroblastoma at age 13 in 2016.

Delaney's mother, Wendy Reece, notified Grand Junction police that proceeds from the charity tournaments were never given to the organization, according to an arrest affidavit. The 20-team tournaments held at the Grand Mesa Little League fields were supposed to have 100 percent of proceeds given to charity.

Reece told investigators that when she had confronted Garcia about the 2016 money, Garcia claimed she had given the proceeds to a Grand Junction Fire Department employee. The employee told investigators that he didn't know Garcia and never received the money.

Reece further reported that she approached Garcia again after the 2017 tournament, where Garcia said she had not cleared all the outstanding bills for the tournament and needed more time. According to the affidavit, Garcia continued to stall and later stopped returning any calls to Reece.

Investigators said they found that Garcia cashed the checks into her personal bank accounts. The estimate that after all was said and done, the two tournaments profited $15,184.15.

Dave Mantlo, board president of Grand Mesa Little League, said Garcia volunteered for the league for more than 30 years. She did not handle any money from the organization.

Mantlo said the allegations are shocking, but he has faith in her. He said she continues to be the league's secretary, pending the outcome of the case.

According to Mesa County jail records, Garcia is out on bond.

Attempts to reach out to Garcia and Reece have not been returned as of Monday afternoon.


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