PONTE VEDRA BEACH Fla. -- There's an empty spot on the sidelines on the Ponte Vedra Soccer Club's practice field. One of the club's stars, coaching director, Trey Clark, has been benched indefinitely, all because of a dispute over his paycheck. Parents say the whole issue is bad teamwork on the part of the association.
Clark's attorney tells Action News the Ponte Vedra Athletic Association stopped paying him three months ago. The reason? They say his high salary jeopardizes the club's 501C3 status. He says they're using the not-for-profit issue to get rid of Clark.
"The problem is we have a written contract that was approved by the soccer club board as to what Trey's compensation was supposed to be," said Clark's attorney, Gregg Gerlach.
According to Clark's contract, obtained by Action News, the organization agreed to pay him $54,000 a year, plus perks and incentives. His attorney says that's not out of the ordinary for a 501C3 employee. He also claims Ponte Vedra Athletic Association never got an opinion from a CPA or tax lawyer that supports such a claim and that's why they're taking legal action.
In response to Clark's claims, Ponte Vedra Athletic Association provided Action News with this statement:
"It is regretful that our athletic community have been subjected to such false claims and I look forward to seeing these issues resolved so that we can get back to what is important, fostering and encouraging interest and participation in athletics for the youth in our community." -John Lazzara, PVAA President
The issue goes to mediation on Nov. 30. Clark had been working even without pay for several months. but at a Monday night meeting, the Association put a stop to that by suspending him and changing the locks to club equipment.