Moms

Upset Keller parents say youth association meeting about president wasn't publicized

The Keller Youth Association board voted last week to continue its support for association President Steve Craft, who has been embroiled in controversy after his ties to sexually oriented businesses became known.

But some association parents who do not support Craft said they were not notified of that board meeting, where about 30 people reportedly spoke in Craft's favor.

Craft is vice president of Burch Management, which owns at least five strip clubs in the Metroplex.

The association's executive board issued a statement to The Keller Citizen addressing the meeting.

"We appreciate and value the point of view of every member of KYA and have received a lot of input from both sides," it said. "We realize there is no outcome that will make everyone happy and certainly respect any opinion you have regarding the issue."

Craft could not be reached for comment.

The executive board declined to comment on the result of the vote, who spoke or how the meeting was publicized.

Some parents said they were never notified of that meeting and would have spoken in opposition. Parent Ryan Ritter said board members should have taken the time to listen to both sides. "I was made aware of the board meeting after it occurred," he said.

Ritter said that he wishes he had been given the chance to speak and that the board could have easily sent an e-mail about the meeting.

"I had an e-mail sent to me that tryouts were coming up," he said. "When it is time to collect money or when it is time to try out, they're sending e-mails out.

"When someone that is leading the board has something in question, such as what he does for a living and how it impacts our kids on a day-to-day basis, we have a right to know," he said. "If the majority of KYA parents say they're OK with it, fine. Then I have to make that decision whether I will stay in KYA or go to another league. But I still think it should be left up to the majority, because this affects every one of our kids."

Bob Hill, whose children will play baseball this fall, said he is concerned about Craft leading the organization.

"A man or a woman has a right to make a living doing whatever they want to do; however, the image you portray reflects on things you do outside of your business," he said. "You can't exactly be a meatpacker and support a vegan society."

Another parent, Kristopher Yglesias, also disagrees with the decision.

"It is disappointing that the board wasn't a little more objective or understanding of the position that some of the parents are in by not being comfortable with the person that they have chosen to be president," he said.

Yglesias, who called for Craft's resignation two weeks ago, said that if he had known about the meeting, he would have voiced his opposition.

"I have been part of KYA for five years, and I have never seen an announcement or had an e-mail letting me know that there was going to be a board meeting," he said.

Craft has been president since June.

The North Richland Hills resident has been involved in litigation over his business with a couple of North Texas cities.

From 2003 to 2009, Craft filed three legal challenges against Arlington over clubs he's affiliated with, including Centerfolds and T&N, to keep them licensed. Craft has also had legal battles in Dallas over Cabaret Royale, of which Craft is listed as the director. State records also list him as president of Baby Dolls Topless Saloons Inc., also a club in Dallas.

Kyra Johnson, whose three children are involved in the association's sports, supports Craft.

"I believe that people, especially volunteers, should be judged based on their actions while performing their duties and on the content of their contributions," she said via e-mail. "I have personally seen Steve Craft, on and off the field, set a perfect example of sportsmanship for his players, their parents and his coaches."

Craft is dedicated to the organization, she said.

"Steve volunteers tirelessly on the KYA fields as a coach every single week," she said.

As the vice president of football, Craft also doubled the number of participants playing football, organized a select program for the first time and has raised over $12,000 for local athletes with special needs, Johnson said.

"I believe that all of KYA can only benefit more by having Steve Craft as president," she said.

Other parents who support Craft as president declined to comment.

Staff writer Darren Barbee contributed to this report.

Adrian McCandless,

817-431-2231

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