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David Bascome stays on in Baltimore to help franchise heal after theft

David Bascome coaching Baltimore Blast

The recent conviction of former Baltimore Blast general manager Gianni Tumminello for stealing at least $100,000 from the team’s owner, Ed Hale, has left Bermudian head coach David Bascome picking up the pieces to a troubled franchise.

Tumminello last week pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to one count of embezzling between $25,000 and $100,000 from the soccer team, immediately paying the larger amount to the Blast's owner. The judge sentenced the 49-year-old to ten years in prison, with all the time suspended in respect of three years’ probation.

Angered by the verdict, Hale continued to vent his frustration while continuing to assert the actual amount stolen to have been closer to $450,000.

“It almost killed my team,” Hale said in a sharply worded victim’s impact statement in court.

“This guy almost took us down. If he gets away with this, crime does pay for sure.”

Hale, who is believed to considering filing a civil suit, contended that his former employee got the money through forging his name on checks. Investigators determined that Tumminello created his own Venmo account and fraudulently obtained money to pay for things like home renovations, Baltimore Ravens tickets and to give some players bonuses.

During the course of the ordeal that commenced with the abrupt resignation of Tumminello in April 2023, Bascome had to deal with the suspension from team activities of five players, including goalkeeper William Vanzela.

They were suspended for what at the time was described as “improper interactions” with the GM as part of an investigation into the alleged embezzlement.

Bascome explained how no one within the organisation were aware of the fraud until after the general manager abandoned his position last April after three years in charge.

In May evidence of the missing funds was discovered, when cheques containing Hale’s forged signature were found in Tumminello’s desk.

Tumminello was later charged with six criminal complaints, at one time facing up to 60 years in prison, before being convicted of a single count.

“There was no awareness until after the fact,” Bascome said.

“Until a lot of things came up as they found out that all this money was missing. So, I definitely was not aware, but that was all ahead of everything prior to the matter entering the courts.”

The incident significantly impacted Bascome’s intended career path, as before the scandal unfurled the long serving player and coach had intended to relinquish the head position in order to focus more attention on various other business ventures.

The former Bermuda international is president of Bascome Enterprise, developer of Power of One, instigator of Hope4Life Foundation and head of Bascome Futbol Leadership Academy, which has a branch operating in Bermuda.

All of Bascome’s projects are described as self sustainable in helping communities.

“Since I had been the coach here for three years I decided to take it [new contract] because I didn’t want to leave the club in the state it was in,” said Bascome of his decision to sign a new coaching deal.

“It was time to go in a different direction, but I had to help the club. I’d signed for three years, with this supposed to have been my last year, but when this stuff happened I couldn’t bring myself to leave the club like that.”

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Published June 12, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated June 12, 2024 at 7:30 am)

David Bascome stays on in Baltimore to help franchise heal after theft

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