$75 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Founder of National Bass Fishing Group
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The founder of a national bass fishing organization whose members include President Bush was sued for more than $75 million he allegedly stole from the society.
Wichita residents Bradley Murray and Larry Neff filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Wichita against the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, which claims more than 500,000 members nationwide. Bush has said the group’s magazine Bassmaster is his favorite publication.
The lawsuit alleges that BASS founder Ray W. Scott Jr. of Montgomery, Ala., diverted tens of millions of dollars from what was originally a non-profit group dedicated to conservation and bass fishing promotion. Scott allegedly diverted the money by turning the society into a for-profit, largely private corporation, the lawsuit says.
The plaintiffs want the money returned, a declaration from the court that the society belongs to the members and an accounting of the group’s revenues and assets.
Scott didn’t return phone messages left at BASS headquarters in Montgomery and at a tournament site in Florida.
″We feel like (the suit) is probably frivolous,″ said Karl Dabbs, vice president for finance.
Dabbs and BASS president Helen Sevier, who bought the organization from Scott in 1986, are defendants in the lawsuit.
Ms. Sevier was out of the office Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuit also alleges the defendants claimed to have filed 250 anti- pollution lawsuits to mask the fraud but in reality filed just three.
″From the day Scott chartered this corporation he, and later other defendants, used it as a means to systematically loot the society of its assets and revenues and convert them to their own use,″ the complaint alleges.