Several local news outlets are reporting on what would be almost certainly a nightmare scenario for any league: A fellow skater stealing for herself the hard-earned money raised by everyone.
That’s the accusation being leveled at Kourtney Gulick, 26, a skater and the (now former) treasurer of the Monterey Bay Derby Dames, a WFTDA member league based in northern California.
Gulick was arrested by local police on March 13 for allegedly embezzling over $17,000 from the Derby Dames to purchase personal items for herself, as well as a Hawaiian vacation—all without the knowledge of her teammates or the authority of her league. Authorities recovered evidence found at Gulick’s home, including a credit card linked to the team, bank statements, and receipts showing the illicit purchases. She has already gone through a preliminary hearing and is awaiting trial.
The league responded to the breaking news on Facebook. “The case is ongoing, and our Board of Directors is doing everything they can to assist in the investigation,” the post said. “This league has faced its fair share of hardships, but this has been the most humbling of them all. With our chins up and our focus on the future, we’re beginning the process of rebuilding our finances.”
Like many roller derby leagues around the country, Monterey Bay is a non-profit that heavily relies on fundraising and donations to sustain operations and fund travel. Having just gained full WFTDA member status at the beginning of 2014, it has been trying to play in as much sanctioned competition as possible to improve its ranking, currently #222 in the WFTDA.1
Just this past weekend, it participated in the Dustbowl Invitational tournament in Southern California, going 2-2. However, it was only able to send its all-star travel team, the Beasts of Eden, after relying on fan support to fund-raise the entry fee—a paltry $700, which pales in comparison to the amount alleged to have been embezzled by Gulick.
Needless to say, this is a horrible turn of events. The Monterey Bay Derby Dames are asking for donations to “help keep us on skates.” Donations can be given to the Dames directly through their website.
(This article was updated 3/26/15 @ 10:08 p.m. to add a MBDD statement and donation link.)