Major change is coming to one of the most popular children's clubs in the region as a result of a News 4 I-Team investigation.
The Laurel City Council held a special hearing Thursday night, wanting Nancy Lilly, the president of the Laurel Boys and Girls Club, to explain why the club spent so much money on its now defunct basketball prep school, Laurel Prep Academy, when it didn't have enough money to fix a long list of building and fire code violations.
Council President Frederick Smalls also wanted to know why the club was housing the school's players in violation of city codes. "As I'm sure you're aware," he said to Lilly, "As I'm sure everyone in this room is aware, that the I-Team report revealed there were in fact people living in the building in the property. Who made the decision to house individuals to live in the building?"
Lilly answered, "Mr. Levet Brown made that decision."
The News 4 I-Team had previously reported Levet Brown has been running the club even though he no longer holds any official titles.
Lilly told the Council Brown makes most of the decisions and controls all of the money. She asked the Council if he could speak during the hearing, but the Council told Lilly that since she was the president, she needed to answer the questions.
Questions that included Council member H. Edward Ricks asking, "You're $192,000 a year in the hole. Does that sound like a good business decision to you?"
Lilly responded, "No, it's not a viable business. No, we cannot continue running that way. Yes, we need to put things in place to make it viable and to make it run."
That's when Lilly said she wasn't going to be president much longer. She explained that in the wake of the I-Team investigation, the club's membership held a special election and voted Lilly out along with other members of the board. She said the club's executive director, Harriet Cox, also quit and a new board will now take over the club in the next two weeks.
Laurel Mayor Craig Moe and the entire Council tell the I-Team they don't want to see the club close and hope the new board will make more changes that will allow the club to keep the doors open.
Even though he wasn't allowed to speak during the hearing, the I-Team asked Brown if he really intended to hand over the finances to the new board.
"Absolutely," he said. "You've got to do that."
Brown told us he will no longer have any role at the club. "No, I've been doing this for nine years, I'm burnt out."
When we asked him to respond to a letter written by Mayor Moe asking the Maryland comptroller to investigate the club for possible "corruption" and "tax fraud," Brown said, "Well, first of all, we haven't committed any tax fraud, there's no corruption in the club. That's it. There's no tax fraud or corruption in the club."
When we then asked what the comptroller will find when it takes a look at the club's finances, Brown said, "I think they're going to find we're broke. We've been struggling for years. It's a miracle we're actually still in existence."
And with that, Levet Brown walked away from the hearing -- and perhaps the Laurel Boys and Girls Club -- for good.