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Posted on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 8:30 a.m.

ESPN to feature Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association embezzlement case

By Art Aisner

The theft of nearly $1 million from an Ann Arbor youth hockey league by a former bookkeeper will be featured on an upcoming ESPN broadcast, officials said Thursday.

A video crew and reporter from the global sports cable network interviewed several members of the Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association and others associated with the criminal case against Kimberly Knight Thursday afternoon at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Pittsfield Township.

Thumbnail image for Kimberly_Knight.jpg

Kimberly Knight

Knight, of Chelsea, pleaded guilty in June to stealing more than $934,000 from AAAHA while severing as its bookkeeper for several years. She was sentenced to one year in jail, but the sentence was deferred for one year while she continues to make payments toward the roughly $700,000 she was ordered to pay in restitution.

Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Melinda Morris will review the case next September.

The footage, and more to be taken at the facility today, will be featured on the “Outside the Lines” series, which provides in-depth, and investigative reporting on issues in sports that often have a broader impact in society.

ESPN Producer Jim Witalka said Knight’s case will likely appear as part of larger feature story on the abuse of funds occurring in youth sports leagues across the country. However, the case is unique enough to warrant its own episode, he said.

“Youth sports are becoming a target for these crimes because there is not a lot of oversight or safeguards in place to prevent it,” said Witalka, bureau producer for “SportsCenter,” ESPN’s flagship show.

“When you hear $934,000 that is certainly a lot of money for any organization, especially from a youth league.”


An ESPN sound engineer tests the equipment in a meeting room overlooking the ice at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube Thursday.

Art Aisner | For

Reporter Steve Dehlson, who is based in California, said he wanted to pursue the story after getting involved in the youth sports leagues his children are involved in. He interviewed AAAHA Secretary Karen Coulter and new Vice President Mike Reid on Thursday.

Knight declined interviews, but her attorney, Mike LeGris, is expected to sit down with producers today, Witalka said.

“They contacted me to do what they call providing some kind of balance,” said LeGris. “She’s remorseful and has taken responsibility not only for what she did but to pay the money back.”

Court records indicate Knight paid a $75,000 lump sum at sentencing in September, and continues to make monthly payments of $1,500 per court order. She told Morris at the time of sentencing she was working at her husband’s towing company.

A lengthy investigation by the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety showed Knight established personal accounts in her maiden name at the same banks holding AAAHA accounts and frequently transferred funds for her own use.

The fund she took from was intended for an independent hockey rink for AAAHA, which currently leases offices and ice time from the Ice Cube.

Diane Wilson, the Cube’s general manager, said she was more than happy to have the network set up in a meeting room overlooking the ice for two days, even though it’s still a tough topic for area hockey lovers.

“The more exposure of this the better,” she said. “I hope people are getting the real story from AAAHA about what happened and that they understand this whole thing was a travesty.”

Witalka said he did not know whether the segment would appear on the shorter daily version of the show, or its longer counterpart, which typically airs on the weekend. No tentative air date has been set.

Art Aisner is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Sun, Jan 24, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

If you watch the ESPN segment,you will see her park her car in a handicap spot with the cameras rolling...and she doesn't have a handicap plate on her car. The woman is in serious denial that the law just doesn't apply to her. It's how she thinks of herself...she's above it. And the courts by not putting her in jail prove that as well.


Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 2:51 p.m.

I am sorry @concerned citizen but Judge Morris isn't getting old, she has always been this way.

concerned citizen

Sun, Nov 22, 2009 : 7:09 p.m.

Judge Morris should step down. She is old and her mind is not working well. In another case that has gone on for over 13 years 96-6655 CE Scio v bateson she set aside a $300,000.00 fine for contempt of court and made the new amount $15,00.00. And to top it off she is letting work take place at his Scio property that is in violation of several zoning ordances and has been for 13 years. She dosen't care about the neighbors rights to the "Peaceful Enjoyment of their Property". Maybe if her personal undertaker quit fixing up her face and propping her up at the bench the defence attorneys couldn't act like ventriloquists and give the rullings for her.


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 11:31 a.m.

Our 501(c)(3) has a nice system in place. One writes checks, one other deposits checks, and a third person balances the account. Our insurance carrier required this of us!!! Like Bernie Madoff they need to hold an auction. A complete disgrace to the people that entrusted her.


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 9:46 a.m.

By my calculation, it will take Ms. Knight ~35 years to pay back the $700,000 (subtracting the $75,000 already paid and the $1,500 monthly payments). Is is realistic to think that this will actually happen? Also, why is there no jail time for this? Is stealing money from little kids a lesser crime than embezzling from a workplace or burglarizing a neighbor's house?


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 9:34 a.m.

Why in the world would someone who stole 934,000 only have to pay back 700,000 of it?! That's crazy talk! If there's going to be any difference between the two numbers, it's the second one that should be higher! No wonder our country is so far in the hole.


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 9:29 a.m.

There are two things you don't do in this day and age - you don't drink and drive and you don't hit your spouse. Other than that, you're pretty much good to go...and you may actually end up better off if you draw Judge Melinda Morris, like a million dollar interest free loan or something...Yeh!!

David Briegel

Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 9:19 a.m.

Good post Top Cat. I hope they show the kids and what a great Hockey Mecca this town really is!


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 8:45 a.m.

people get harder sentences for DUI's, where is the local chapter of MAE? (Mothers Against Embezzlement)


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 8:38 a.m.

I sure hope they don't forget to mention Judge Melinda Morris.


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 7:27 a.m.

I hope will publish a brief follow up to this when the air date is known and if allowed, a link to the airing of this on ESPN.