FRANKLINVILLE — The Franklinville Police Department reported Wednesday the arrest of the town’s long-time Little League president, who is charged with misappropriating tens of thousands of dollars over the course of several years.
Harley L. Butler, 50, was charged with second-degree grand larceny, a class C felony; six counts of second-degree forgery, a class D felony; third-degree grand larceny and six counts of first-degree falsifying business records, class E felonies.
The arrest is the result of a two-year investigation of Butler while he was president of Franklinville Little League. Police allege that between January 2016 and September 2019 Butler stole approximately $140,000 from the league and forged multiple documents.
Police Chief Mark Slavinski said the investigation of Butler, who he believed had been president for nearly 18 years, began with the discovery of several inconsistencies in the handling of Little League funds.
“I got a call from a lady at Sports Locker. A couple of checks had bounced from Franklinville Little League, and I started digging into it,” Slavinski explained. “A lot of inconsistencies, a lot of people (were) owed money.”
In one instance, the league received several thousand dollars from a Cattaraugus County grant to upgrade fields and facilities. Butler would allegedly submit invoices for work done on the fields and receive a check.
“Not only was the work not being done, the invoices were fictitious,” Slavinski alleged. “This has been going on for so long. You come up and look at the Franklinville Little League baseball field. Guess what? The improvements didn’t happen. That’s what upsets me more than anything.”
Slavinski adds that it’s far too early to predict whether any of the money will be recovered.
“I would like restitution, but I can’t predict that,” he said.
Butler was processed and released with tickets to appear in court at a later date.
Franklinville police were assisted in the investigation by the Cattaraugus County District Attorney’s Office along with the New York State Police Financial Crimes Unit.
Butler was inducted into the Cattaraugus County Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.