HANCOCK COUNTY — A man entrusted with running a booster club for one of the county’s high school football teams was instead taking thousands of dollars and using the money intended for students-athletes for himself to purchase food and make car payments, according to law enforcement officials.
Paul E. Gable IV, 40, Fairland, was arrested Friday, June 3 and charged with a Level 6 felony count of theft after officials with the booster program known as the New Palestine Grid Iron Alliance (GIA) discovered the misuse of approximately $27,319.37 this spring.
Gable made an initial appearance in Hancock County Superior Court 2 on Friday where court documents show a “not guilty” plea was entered on his behalf. Gable, the former president of the GIA, surrendered himself to the court on an open warrant, the court record stated. Judge Dan Marshal set a $600 cash bond and ordered a pretrial conference for Friday, July 29.
While Gable was listed as being arrested last Friday, he was not listed as an inmate in the county jail as early as Saturday morning.
According to a probable cause affidavit, officials from the GIA, a non for profit 501 C 3 contacted law enforcement officials about the theft in early April. The GIA was created years ago by parents whose kids played football to assist the New Palestine High School football team with whatever needs the school could not fulfill.
The current president of the organization reached out to officials with the New Palestine Police Department on April 5 saying he had assumed the leadership role with the booster club after Gable admitted to taking funds and resigned, the report stated.
Gable informed officials with the GIA organization via an email he was stepping down because he had used some of the funding for personal purchases.
According to the report, Gable’s email said, “effective immediately, I am resigning from my post as president of the NPGIA as a result of misuse of funds for personal use. Nobody else was involved nor did anyone know what was happening.”
Gable added in the email, “I sincerely apologize to each and every one of you and exit in total embarrassment for myself, my family and with all of you.”
Officials with the GIA asked Gable how much he had misused, and he told them around $5,000 and that he wanted to work with them to pay back the money, the report stated. However, when officials from the GIA looked further into the misuse of funds, they found the figure was more than five times that amount.
Officials with the GIA found some 537 total GIA transactions with only 38 of them being legitimate organizational expenses. Officials determined 484 were for personal purchases while 14 could not be determined.
According to the report, officials with the GIA organization noted several Grub Hub purchases, as well as electricity, phone and car loan payments. The total amount of unauthorized purchases totaled $21,574.87, according to the report.
Officials with the GIA also noted cash from discount card sales, approximately $5, 744.50 which was given to Gable, was never deposited into the official GIA account, the report stated.
In a prepared statement, the GIA board said, “As a board, we share in our community’s disappointment and anger that a board member in a position of trust has allegedly misappropriated GIA funds. The remaining members of our board are committed to executing the GIA’s mission in a clear, transparent, and effective manner.”
Officials from the NPHS athletic department also released a statement that read, “Booster clubs fund-raise with the goal of supplementing the athletic department’s budget to meet the needs of our coaches and players. The 2022 football season will not be affected by this investigation. Our school and community are eager to see our players on the field again this fall. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Grid Iron Alliance in the years to come.”