RATES       _______________________________ LM __________________________________

La Mirada Football Booster Club Under Scrutiny by Attorney General

LMHS football coach Mike Moschetti is said to run the booster club. When asked where the money was going Moschetti replied, "none of your business!"

LMHS football coach Mike Moschetti is said to run the booster club. When asked where the money was going, Moschetti replied, “none of your business!” Over $110,000 goes through the organization every year.


By Brian Hews

For almost 10 years, the La Mirada Football Booster Club, run by Diane Grimajo and La Mirada football coach Mike Moschetti, have taken in more than $110,000 every year supporting the football program at La Mirada High School.

All levels of the program, Freshman, Junior Varsity, and Varsity, are required to raise funds for the booster club, with each of the 150 team-members giving $250, or $37,500 annually.

Money is also raised through various fundraisers such as the annual Booster Club fireworks stand that earns a reported $20,000 per year, sales of “Spirit Packs” that earned $35,000 annually, the “Powder Puff” game that earns nearly $10,000 per year, the “50/50” drawing at football games that earns over $11,000, as well as many other seasonal fundraisers.

La Mirada High School and the Norwalk-La Mirada School District also gave money to the program.

Even Coach Moschetti’s family got in on the fundraising, donating $15,000 per year.

Yet Grimajo, who was the only person to handle money and had signing authority to issue checks, and Moschetti were the only people who knew how the money, totaling over $1 million, was spent in the last few years.

But now others, along with the California Attorney General, want to know.

A Hews Media Group-Community News investigation has revealed that the Booster Club has violated several California laws and had little or no oversight on where and how hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent every year.

Even more alarming, the Booster Club indicated on all donation documents that it was a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, going so far as using an inactive and non-existent identification number.

The  investigation also revealed that the organization did not have a California Franchise Tax Board number, and therefore did not remit taxable sales from fundraisers to the state.

Finally, no year-end or internal financial statements have been generated since 2006, and sources told HMG-CN that there are no bank statements available from the organization.

Given the lack of a registered 501c3, the booster club has also placed any person or organization that donated money to the club in a tax liability position.

As a result of this stunning mismanagement, the organization could be facing huge monetary penalties for failing to pay payroll taxes, failing to withhold taxes on independent contractors, and failing to pay sales tax.

The investigation has also revealed that current and past Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District School Board members, ex-NLMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ruth Perez, La Mirada High School (LMHS) Principal William “Bill” Seals, Moschetti, and LMHS Athletic Director Armando Rivas knew what was going on and either took action to cover the mismanagement up or did nothing about it.


The questions of mismanagement started in 2012 with a series of emails from concerned freshman parents.

There was no communication from the booster club informing the parents where the money their children raised from fundraisers was going.

One parent had the opportunity to ask Moschetti personally where the money was going and Moschetti responded “its none of your business.”

At the time, money was being paid to eighteen varsity coaches, three varsity team trainers, a varsity team chiropractor, and a public relations company.

LMHS Principal Bill Seals was informed in 2012 of the discrepancies and told Moschetti about them, but nothing was done.

According to the emails obtained by HMG-CN, questions began resurfacing in August of 2013 when former La Mirada Mayor Pete Dames received a request for donation letter from the football team.

The donation letter was on LMHS letterhead.


Dames found it unusual that the letter was on LMHS letterhead so he decided to look into the Federal Tax ID Number (FTIN) and non-profit number listed on the letter.

Dames learned from a Certified Public Accountant that the FTIN was delinquent since 2004 and found that the non-profit number was non-existent.

Dames sent an email to Grimajo who blamed the Treasurer before her and said that she was “working on that (the FTIN) now, and that the taxes have not been filed, but it was no biggy.”


One month later, Dames sent an email to NLMUSD Board Members Jesse Urquidi and Chris Pflanzer, along with  Principal Seals and Kim Brooks, former LMHS Athletic Director.

Dames indicated that the booster club did not have an FTIN, had not filed taxes for over ten years, and nobody except Moschetti and Gramajo knew where the money was going.

Also none of the coaches who were paid by Gramajo was given a 1099 Independent Contractor tax form, subjecting the coaches paid to taxes and penalties.


No action was taken, although sources tell HMG– CN that Pflanzer and others were stonewalled by some members of the NLMUSD Board.

Frustrated by their inaction, sourcing telling HMG-CN that Board Member Urquidi had several good friends as varsity coaches, Dames fired another email to LMHS Principal Bill Seals explaining the donation letter and the lack of transparency and control within the Booster Club.

Eleven days later, Dames got a response from Seals that said, “I met with Brooks, Moschetti, and Gramajo, I asked for documentation, they provided me with some paperwork which I’m mailing to your home.”

Dames did not receive the “financials” until almost one month later on Dec. 4, 2013, and found them to be “extremely unprofessional with some numbers not matching up from the year before,” according to Dames.


In the interim, several additional emails that indicated complete mismanagement  started in November 2013 when a parent, who had a son in the football program, sent an email to Grimajo asking for an accounting of the money generated by the freshman team.

Gramajo had recently sent an email out to the parents indicating the freshman “were $7,000 short in their fundraising and they (the kids) would not participate in any year-end activities unless the money was sent in.”

As the Gramajo emailed circulated, one mother asked for an accounting of the funds received and spent exclusively on the freshman program.

The email faulted Gramajo for “not communicating whatsoever with the freshman team” in regards to fundraisers, how they were conducted, and how the money was spent.

She also pointed out several discrepancies in the program including how the freshman team paid for new football jerseys that Grimajo said “must be returned to the team at the end of the year for use next year.”

The parent also copied the email to Moschetti and Dames.

One hour later Grimajo’s responded with a terse email saying, “revenues are lumped into one pool…it is the collective opinion of the entire coaching staff that we do that.  I am working on financials and they will be available soon. Any questions regarding how the money is spent should be directed to the head coaches.”

The parent snapped back in a later email, “I’m struggling to see how keeping everything lumped together allows you to account for the $7,000 loss the freshman team has.”

The communication between the parents and Gramajo would have likely ceased, but she copied the email to Dames.


Dames then began comparing the financials from 2012 with financials he received on Dec. 4, 2013 and immediately noticed some major discrepancies.

He compared what was given to him by the parents and noticed that items were missing from the financial reports included $9,000 from the “Powder Puff” football game and over $10,000 from 50/50 drawings at football games.

Frustrated, Dames fired another e-mail to Seals and Urquidi outlining the discrepancies. Dames ended the e-mail by saying, “there is no need to reply to my questions. I know the situation will not change, it appears some leadership at NLMUSD and LMHS has stuck their collective heads in the sand.”


It would be almost another year of non-reporting and fundraising before the issue with the Booster Club resurfaced.

In that time former LMHS Director Brooks was removed from his position after an audio was released of him verbally abusing some of his baseball players. Brooks was replaced by Armando Rivas.

That is when the Booster Club began playing hardball with Dames through Rivas, in apparent retribution for Dames bringing attention to the mismanagement.

Dames had been a volunteer coach at LMHS for the past 30 years.

Asked to coach again in early September 2014, Dames learned through a third party days later that Rivas did not want him on the staff.


After several emails over a five-week period, Rivas, a known friend of Moschetti who sources tell HMG-CN that “Rivas will not do anything unless Moschetti approves it,” wrote back to Dames.

Rivas wrote, “this communication is in regard to the freshman baseball coaching position at LMHS. During the past couple of years you’ve developed concerns relating to procedural practices being utilized in the LMHS Athletic Department. …You e-mailed school board members and district personnel without first approaching the Athletic Director to express your concerns… ultimately these actions made it more difficult for the department to attempt to find solutions to your concerns… as a result I have determined… that I will not employ you as coach.

Only days later, Dames was slammed on the “Eagle Lancer” Facebook page for his opposition to the Measure G Bond for the Norwalk-La Mirada School District.

The administrator, who is anonymous, wrote several disparaging remarks and posts against Dames even going so far as posting his address and cell phone and calling him “a despicable 70 year old man who hates kids and you should go to his house and tell him off.”


Now California Attorney General Kamela D. Harris’ office is inquiring.

The Booster Club has received four letters from the Attorney General warning of assessment of penalties and late fees and suspension of registered status.

The letters were dated February 21, 2014, March 13, 2014, May 8, 2014, and September 9, 2014.

See letters click here.

The letters indicated that the Booster Club had not filed the registration renewal fee and paperwork or filed financial statements dating back to 2008, and warned of suspension or revocation of the nonprofit status.

Penalties and fees would be assessed if the paperwork was not filed correctly. The letters noted that money from the booster club cannot be used to pay penalties and that officers of the organization would be personally liable.

Apparently Grimajo and Moschetti did not pay attention to the warnings.

In checking the Attorney General’s website, the Booster Club was officially suspended on October 27, 2014.

HMG-CN attempted to contact all parties involved, no one had returned messages as of today, December 12.

One Response to La Mirada Football Booster Club Under Scrutiny by Attorney General


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *