Allegations of Fraud, Financial Abuse Surround David Rucki including… 2011 Lakeville Hockey Scandal
Note: When researching David Rucki, a number of concerning incidents suggest fraud or financial abuse, this is just another piece of the puzzle. Please check back for updates.
Lakeville, July 13, 2011: After controversy and public outcry, David Rucki, then President, resigned from the Lakeville Hockey Association (LHA) for “personal reasons”. Rucki’s sidekick, Toney Canney, and his wife, Joni Canney, also stepped down from the Board. Rucki personally selected the Canneys to serve on the Board. Tony served as the VP of Administration and Joni as the Tournament Director. Rucki also created a position for John “Gus” Barger, who was removed after allegations of misconduct and financial impropriety.
Hockey suited Rucki’s need for dominance, and provided an outlet for his aggression. He bullied his own children into playing hockey, even against their wishes. And prided his daughter on her athletic ability, especially in hockey, ignoring that she hated the sport and would rather be doing other things. Rucki needed his children to gain access to LHA, he could only qualify for a position if they played. In a pattern you will see emerging throughout this article, Rucki plays people like pawns to get what he wants.
The LHA Board is a volunteer position but even so, Rucki prided himself on being involved, and sought power among its ranks like a general leading an invasion. After Rucki was elected President, chaos and controversy ensued, at a level never seen before in the history of the LHA.
The problems began in January 2010 when a routine audit was conducted, the Auditor recommended that a finance committee be created to oversee financial activities, including charitable gambling. Gambling profits had also been down for the past 2 years. As President, Rucki took control by offering a solution, and strategically placed his friends and supporters on the financial committee, and in other key roles.
A close friend of Rucki, John “Gus” Barger served as Development Administrator and was given a salary for his “volunteer” position. Rucki lobbied the board to pay Barger $35k a year salary, the Board was reeling on how to afford the additional expense.
The Development Administrator position was given to Barger with no competitive bid, no public posting of an opening – drawing criticism that he was unfairly elected because there is a protocol for hiring. Rucki avoided questions raised by Board members, and had them vote on Barger’s salary without discussing any details of his employment. Board meetings are recorded but the night of Barger’s election, the audio mysteriously disappeared.
Rucki then worked with Barger to systemically re-design the structure, policies and voting procedures of the LHA. Most of this happened as deals made between friends, and was never formally documented. Included in the changes – Rucki gained power of signature on the LHA bank accounts, none of the past presidents had that authority.
Board members who were not useful to Rucki were promptly removed, violating numerous Board policies was just a matter of business to Rucki. The Gambling Manager claims he was wrongfully removed, and false information was provided to cover up how the Board’s actions violated procedures by forcing him out. The ousted Gambling Manager took to a public forum to clear his name, and explain the circumstances of his removal: “Then I proceeded and asked the CEO/President “if he didn’t discuss any of this with the LHA Board then who was it discussed with”? His reply in front of the board was “the important board people” I have no idea who he was referencing and by the looks on all the Board Members faces they had no idea either.”
A friend of Rucki’s was then installed as the new Gambling Manager. This was a high stakes gamble – when Rucki served as president of LHA in 2009-2010, gross receipts totaled $2,232,355 for this non-profit.
The hockey stick that broke the proverbial camel’s back came when LHA was cited for a gambling violation in February 2011. Public criticism intensified over the following months, citizens attended LHA Board meetings to demand answers. Others took to a public message board to raise concerns.
Rucki’s subsequent resignation was commemorated in a poem about his tyrannical rise to power that includes the following verses,
“The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Lakeville Board that day; When Rucki grabbed the gavel, he had some cards to play,
He first removed Past President, and Prez Elect the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.”
Rucki apparently remains bitter about the LHA scandal. Recently his loyal buddy Tony Canney took to the press to complain,”Following the Ruckis’ May 2011 divorce, Canney said Grazzini-Rucki spread false allegations about Rucki to neighbors and parents in the Lakeville Hockey Association of which Rucki was president.” Finding normal goal for Lakeville dad after missing daughters found Sandra had no involvement in LHA; these remarks are that of an abuser projecting his actions onto the victim in order to avoid responsibility.
The quiet streets of Lakeville have settled but there remains a dark shadow that Rucki has cast upon the town, and its hockey ring.
For More Info:
The Lakeville Hockey Scandal Message Board, Poem: http://www.ushsho.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=24139&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=75
The “Goose Chase” articles include info about Rucki bullying his child into playing hockey: Footprints in the Snow or Wild Goose Chase? Did ABC 20/20 Edit Audio Recordings to Suppress Evidence of Abuse in the Grazzini-Rucki Case? Pt. 1