Band boosters file complaint against Firstar

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 27, 2002

The Ironton High School Band Boosters have filed a complaint against Firstar Bank (now U.S. Bank), and National City Bank, alleging that those two financial institution were negligent and allowed former band boosters treasurer Elizabeth Keating and/or her husband, William J. Keating, to have unauthorized access to the organization's funds that were deposited in those banks. Elizabeth Keating was the band booster's treasurer between 1999 and 2001, but did not have permission during that time to take money out of the club's accounts and did not have the authority to make decisions regarding use of the club's money and investments without approval from the president or trustees. She is serving a 6-year prison sentence for theft in connection with the missing money and for the attempted murder of her one-time business partner, Debra Dickens.

The complaint against Firstar alleged that Keating obtained $60,769.64 in band boosters funds and used it for her own benefit on different occasions between Jan. 8, 1999 and Dec. 12. 2000, and that the band boosters had no knowledge her activity until Jan. 3, 2001.

In papers filed yesterday with the Lawrence County Clerk of Court's Office, the band boosters alleged that Firstar Bank … "which tended to and did aid in the cashing of forged or unauthorized checks by Elizabeth Keating and/or William Keating, and defendant failed to exercise due and ordinary cause in this regard, to wit: failed to have signature cards or approval by plaintiff for Elizabeth Keating or William Keating while allowing such checks to be drawn upon plaintiff's checking account without real or apparent authority and failed to require a proper number of signatures upon some checks."

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The complaint also alleged that National City Bank allowed Keating to obtain funds from a matured certificate of deposit in the amount of $6,722.47 "without the express, implied or apparent authorization of the plaintiff's trustees" and that by allowing her access to the CD, the bank failed to "exercise due and ordinary care" and was "recklessly and grossly negligent" in doing so.

The complaint seeks to have the missing money, plus interest refunded to the band boosters. The club also seeks to have all court costs paid by the banks, plus any other relief the court would deem necessary,

"No matter what their argument is, that we should have caught her sooner, they should not have let her have that money to begin with. They should have been stricter. It's aggravating to see what we're going through when there was no need for this in the first place," band boosters president Jeff Massie said.

In July, the band boosters filed a lawsuit against Liberty Federal, alleging that the bank allowed

Keating to borrow $10,000, and pledged the band boosters certificate of deposit at that institution as security for the loan. Further, Keating allegedly took out a $2,500 loan in January of 2000, again pledging the club's CD as security. The suit against Liberty Federal also alleged that the bank allowed Keating to withdraw $835 from the club's savings account on or about August 24, 2000 without "expressed, implied or apparent authorizations" from trustees.

The Ironton Tribune contacted local offices of both banks involved in the complaint. Neither had issued statements by presstime.