Count Me Out: Youth Sports Programs missing funds

TechFlash’s John Cook is reporting what could be the start of a pretty big scandal. A youth soccer club in New Jersey and a Alaskan Nordic ski association say they’re each missing more than $100,000 in registration fees due to lack of payment by Bellevue’s Count Me In. Count Me In provides online registration tools to thousands of non-profits and youth athletic programs across the country.

“It just makes me ill,” said Diane Moxness, executive director of the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage. Moxness said in a phone interview that the 5,000-member ski group has not been paid since October and is owed $150,000 for online registrations tied to a junior ski program.

TechFlash has also obtained an email that indicates that Count Me In laid off a significant portion of staff (including its president) in mid-October in an effort to cut the company’s cash burn rate to make it more attractive to investors. The email from Terry Drayton, the former HomeGrocer.com Chief Executive who founded Count Me In seven years ago, details some of the cost-cutting measures instituted to save the company $60,000 to $65,000 per month.

The Montclair United Soccer Club of New Jersey has already taken suite and the ski organization is contemplating legal action as well.

Via text message, Count Me In’s Drayton said he had no comment on the company’s “problems.” One of the Seattle area’s best-known entrepreneurs, Drayton also runs the Bellevue technology consulting firm Ramp Group. Ironically, the Ramp Group touts the Count Me In Administrative Tool as one of their success stories – “Ramp Group carefully constructed a system where organizations could enroll members using a customizable registration interface and process online credit card transactions securely.” Apparently not that securely.

UPDATE from TechFlash: KIRO 7 in Seattle is now reporting that Eastlake Little League is missing $70,000 with president Todd Pladson frustrated that the baseball league signed up with Count Me In around the same time that the New Jersey soccer club was facing problems.