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Union Club selects new trustees

Springfield club was ordered by state to conduct new elections of officers.

The Union Club of Springfield has 14 new trustees after a state-ordered emergency election this week.

The large social-charitable organization had been ordered by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to split into two distinct organizations — one to manage the 80-year-old club’s charitable giving and one to manage the social club — after his office found violations of state law, including the operation of slot machines.

The attorney general’s office tallied the votes from Tuesday’s election, and released them Wednesday evening. No issues were reported during the election, DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said.

Until this week’s election, the tax-exempt club’s activities were managed by one mutual board of seven trustees, six of whom were forced out of office by DeWine as a result of a 15-page settlement agreement this month.

The club’s seventh trustee, Jimmie Howard, was suspended last year, he said, because he sought the resignations of four trustees over gaming and tax issues. Other trustees say he was suspended for bad behavior.

The seven new trustees elected this week to oversee charitable giving — which includes thousands annually to Clark State Community College and others for scholarships — are Jerry Numbers, Flash Whitacre, Gene Pounds, Veronica Moore, Larry Vince, Brian Long and Eric Woodland, according to DeWine’s office.

The seven new trustees elected to run the social club are Jack Bianchi, Jim Picolo, Eliot West, Jim C. Adams, Joe Fitzwater, Bobby Shaffer and Ronnie Moore.

The local club, founded in 1933, currently has about 4,000 members and assets of $4.6 million.

The Union Club ran afoul this month of DeWine’s office for the second time in as many years. An earlier settlement in 2011 resulted in the club having to pay $261,918 to local schools and scholarship funds for allegedly not paying enough from its lucrative tear-off bingo operation to education.

Outgoing trustees last week told the Springfield News-Sun they didn’t initially know they were supposed to give only to education, as required by state law, and instead had been giving to other local entities.

But, when settlement payments were made to the wrong entities, the state ordered the club to pay an additional $69,000 to local schools.

The Union Club ran the fifth-most profitable charitable bingo operation in Ohio in 2012 — a $665,132 profit on $3.1 million in gross revenue, according to state records.

As ordered by the newest settlement, bingo at the club will continue to be suspended through Sunday.

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