Lions Club hopes to get back on its feet

Published 11:37 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Eight years ago, the Winchester Lions Club unknowingly entered the darkest times in the club’s history.

Two club members, including a former treasurer, began taking money from the club for their own use. Over the course of two years, the total nearly topped $300,000, according to court documents. In the wake of the allegations, the club nearly ceased operations.

With two convictions and the former members paying restitution, club members hope to revive the club.

An open meeting for anyone interested in reviving the club has been scheduled for January.

The international Lions Club recently decided to remove the club from its “status quo” list, which prevented the club from raising money in the club’s name, longtime member Frank Farmer said.

“They decided they’d give us back our status,” he said. “We’re going to meet again Saturday night. Maybe we’ll get something going again.”

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Arby’s in Winchester, he said, and is open to the public.

“We’ll see how it works out,” Farmer said. “It’ll be hard starting over.”

For the last seven years, the club could do little but watch as the criminal case against Diana Johnson Hood and Elton Dickie Piercefield slowly worked its way through Clark Circuit Court.

The two pleaded guilty in the summer of 2015, two years after they were indicted.

Hood pleaded guilty to one count each of theft by unlawful taking and diverting charitable gaming funds from the club’s bingo operation. She was sentenced to five years, which was probated for five years after she served 180 days.

Piercefield pleaded guilty to a single count of diverting charitable gaming funds and sentenced to two years which was probated for five years. He had to serve 120 days on home incarceration.

Both were ordered to make monthly payments: $225 a month for Hood against $206,726.05 and $!50 a month for Piercefield against $85,545, according to court documents.

Farmer said other people admitted to taking money from the club, but no one else was charged.

The payments help, but only a little bit, Farmer said.

“That’s just a drop in the bucket,” he said, adding that it barely covers the club’s expenses.

“We haven’t earned a nickel,” he said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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