The organization responsible for minor hockey in Winnipeg is suing its former executive director for allegedly defrauding it of thousands of dollars.
Hockey Winnipeg, also known as the Winnipeg Minor Hockey Association, has filed a statement of claim in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench alleging Andrew Skogen committed "breaches of duty, breaches of trust and acts of fraud."
The lawsuit accuses Skogen of taking $54,447.93 from the organization during the six months he worked there – a time frame starting Aug. 14, 2017, and extending until the day before he was fired Feb. 22.
The lawsuit alleges Skogen used the organization's company credit card to rack up $40,777.93 in purchases at Manitoba Liquor Control Commission venues and pay for "gasoline, automobile repairs, general merchandise, computer services, taxis, groceries, concerts, professional hockey and streaming services, and at restaurants, bars, hotels and lounges."
The court papers say Skogen knew the credit card was automatically paid out of the organization's bank account, and he allegedly would grab the credit card bill and bank statements when they arrived at the Hockey Winnipeg office, so no one else would see them.
As well, Skogen is alleged to have transferred a total of $13,670 out of the group's bank account to Skogen and his roommate, who "provided no services or any value whatsoever to Hockey Winnipeg."
Hockey Winnipeg is seeking to be reimbursed for its losses, and is also seeking punitive damages against Skogen because, it says, his alleged actions were "criminal in nature and caused Hockey Winnipeg considerable loss."
Chris Hall, president of Hockey Winnipeg, said Tuesday he could not comment on the lawsuit nor the allegations.
When contacted, Skogen said he will issue a statement Wednesday.
The Winnipeg Police Service said Tuesday they have not laid any charges, but would not say if they are investigating the allegations.
Skogen has been involved in hockey and volunteer work for years.
Last year, when Hockey Winnipeg hired Skogen, a statement attributed to Hall said the organization president was "pleased" to announce the new executive director: "He has diverse experience as a training and learning specialist, along with many years of community service as a coach, member of several boards and administrator. Welcome Andrew."
Skogen, who is in his early 30s, joined the Gateway Recreation Centre's board of directors when he was 18 and served as the Winnipeg organization's president from 2006 to 2012. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor of recreation management and community development, before becoming general manager of Winnipeg's Riverview Community Centre.
He was vice-president of Hockey Winnipeg from 2004 to 2007, and president of the Red River Valley Sports League from 2004 to 2012.
Skogen was hired to be the general manager of the Garden City Community Centre when it was still being constructed in 2014, but left about the time it opened in 2015. An employee at the Winnipeg community centre said Skogen left the facility of his own accord.
Andy Haworth, president of Garden City CC, said the alleged behaviour outlined in the lawsuit does not match the person he worked with.
"This just comes from left field," Haworth said. "He just seemed like a straight-shooter and a pleasant guy to be with... In the four months I knew him, he did a good job."
Haworth said there were no financial irregularities in the centre's operations while Skogen worked there.
When Skogen was hired at Garden City, he said in an interview with the Free Press: "My passion is in sports and recreation. I knew I wanted a full-time role within the industry."
No statement of defence has been filed, and the allegations have not been proven in court.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.