GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - The owner of a Gwinnett County umpiring association faces 32 counts of theft after authorities said he took money from youth sports groups and spent it on prostitutes.
Tim Ryan not only organized the umpires for games at Rabbit Hill but also other baseball and softball groups and referees for basketball leagues.
“It was like four games a night,” former umpire Henry Eason said.
Eason spent 30 years umpiring Gwinnett County area softball games. To hear an association leader took the money from umps and kids did not sit well with him.
“It makes me very upset,” Eason said.
A grand jury this week indicted 55-year-old Ryan, saying the owner of Gwinnett Officials Association took nearly $50,000 from Gwinnett area athletic associations in 2017 to supply umps for games.
“Those umpires would not be paid. Some would be paid late. He would pay with checks he wouldn't sign or checks he knew would bounce,” assistant district attorney Brandon Delfunt said.
Delfunt said Ryan has confessed to spending a chunk of the nearly $22,000 he kept to pay for escorts off the website Backpage.com.
“Which is no longer operational. The FBI has closed that website, but he was paying for a number of websites using those funds,” Delfunt said.
All the phone numbers Channel 2’s Tony Thomas could find for Ryan were disconnected. His lawyer did not return his call or email for comment.
For Eason, Ryan made one bad call after another.
“If you are going to use it, use it for something you need, but it's wrong to take, but don't use it for hookers!” Eason said.
Ryan was already out on bond on four charges filed last year in relation to the case.
Prosecutors said they've found 28 victims so far but believe there are many more out there, including ref's from the 2016 fall basketball leagues that Ryan organized.
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