Thomas Memorial Stadium board speaks out about funds allegedly taken from adult baseball league

NOW: Thomas Memorial Stadium board speaks out about funds allegedly taken from adult baseball league

NILES, Mich. --- A young man who helped raise funds to restore Thomas Memorial Stadium in Niles was arrested for taking thousands of dollars, and members of the board wanted to make it clear that money raised for renovations were not affected.

24 -year-old Dakota Jackson was charged with embezzlement, accused of stealing nearly $6,000 from the stadium's adult league, and many, who donated to the historic stadium's upkeep, are wondering what happened to their money.

“We were approached by Dakota in the early part of September about some money that was taken from his vehicle in front of his house. We as a board talked and some things weren’t adding up and so we went to the police,” said Tim Phillips the Vice President of Greater Niles Baseball/Thomas Memorial Stadium. “There was no GoFundMe money in that and there was no restoration money, there was no youth money.”

Phillips explained Jackson was solely in charge of handling funds for the adult league, a separate entity run under the stadium.

Phillips said the nearly $5,000 dollars raised last year in a GoFundMe to help restoration efforts, are not part of the alleged embezzlement and restoration funds were already spent on things like new nets and poles for the stadium.

“The adult league is a total separate entity from the league. The adult league rents the field from Thomas Stadium,” he said. “The fees go towards umpire fees, scorekeepers, paying somebody to take care of the field in between games.”

Phillips added the money taken from the adult league still hurts because they were counting on fees from the league to help pay for more construction.

“We were hoping to use extra funds to put towards more field renovations actually onto the field we’ve got some areas that are in bad need of attention so we were hoping to get some of that fixed.”

Philips and residents ABC57 spoke with also said they hope this slight curveball doesn’t stop their mission.

“It’s been around here a lot longer than I have. My uncle played that down there Dennis Gallenberg and a few of my other uncles have played down there also, and it’s always been a big part of this area,” said Niles resident Eric McCombs.

“Our vision is staying the same. We’re still going to renovate and we hope that this doesn’t give us too big of a blackeye. You know the board here, we’ve got a good board and we’ve tightened the straps on who we let him into this board and we don’t want anybody here with an agenda,” added Phillips.

The investigation into Jackson is being handled by local authorities who did not want to comment.

If you’d like to donate to the stadium’s continued restoration efforts you can contact the stadium through its Facebook page or email at

Share this article:
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?