Sabers organization didn't support candidate
Last updated 11/9/2012 at 6:45pm
Although your article Councilman pulls funding for area community groups, South Pittsburgh Reporter, June 26, may be factually correct on the surface, you failed to research any explanation of these facts from the organizations that you have all but accused of receiving these grants for favors given to Councilman Koch during his campaign.
The South Side Sabers Youth Football Organization has never contributed to any political campaign, any politician, or endorsed any candidate for office since its inception in 1997. We are a non-profit, charitable organization with all of the documentation necessary from the federal and state governments.
We, the board of the Sabers, all realize that by law, we are not allowed to contribute to or endorse any political candidate or campaign. The contribution to Jeff Koch's campaign was a private contribution made by an individual associated with the Sabers and was mistakenly listed as a contribution by the Sabers. Mr. Koch stated this in an interview with Rick Earl on Channel 11 news and said he would correct the error.
The grants we receive are used to keep our registration fee low and improve, recondition, and replace equipment. It costs approximately $300 to outfit a football player and $150 for a cheerleader. We have more than 250 participants in our organization. The equipment wears out over time and has to be replaced. Without these grants, the registration fee would be prohibitive and we would not only lose players, but also equip players in worn out or unsafe equipment.
We have the lowest registration fee in our league at $45 and a fundraiser at registration of $15. For that fee, we supply all of the equipment needed with the exception of spikes, shoes and undergarments.
In your article, you mentioned funds received from Mr. Gene Ricciardi. The $5966 was received over a period of eight years. Both Councilman Ricciardi and Councilman Koch have made improvements at Quarry Field. These improvements at Quarry Field were requested by the Sabers, and graciously arranged by Gene Ricciardi in the past and Jeff Koch in the present. However, the field still remains a city field. The improvements benefit the city as well as the Sabers.
We have also received grants from Representative Readshaw and Senator Costa. All of the above have been friends of the Sabers and realized that we supply a very important, low cost function for the children of the South Side Area. We are very grateful for all of their help.
I realize that you may have a problem with the way Councilman Koch is arranging the funding of groups during his remaining tenure. I, as president of the South Side Sabers, will accept any grants and thank Councilman Koch for his generosity. After all, the Sabers have been around for 10 years providing a vehicle for the children of the South Side area to participate in organized football. The grants will help us in our bid for another 10 years.
South Side Sabres
(It was not the intention of The South Pittsburgh Reporter to harm any organization, only to provide the facts and the reasons for Councilman Koch's actions. As of July 6, 2007 the councilman still had not filed amended paperwork with the county Election's Bureau and the official paperwork still lists the non-profits as having contributed to his campaign.)