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CYB: Uniform provider owes us $10,686
uniform snafu

The Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization (CYBSO) is still trying to recoup more than $10,000 it paid to a local business to produce uniforms for players that it failed to deliver.

On June 20 the youth sports organization filed a report with Ceres Police charging that Central Valley Vinyl Plus committed theft by false pretenses, according to Daniel Guzman, the public relations coordinator for CYBSO.

“They submitted it to the District Attorney’s office,” said Guzman. “From what we’ve been told, the D.A. is picking up the case. We’re hoping to hear from somebody soon.”

“It’s put a big stress on us,” he added. “The $10,000 can go towards maintenance and facility updates to ensure we stay family friendly and have a safe environment for all of our players, families and spectators.”

Central Valley Vinyl Plus resolved the dispute by following through with its promise to refund Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization according to co-owner Trina Dodd. She said that a check for $5,300 was sent via certified mail.

“They were sent a check, which is much more than they should’ve gotten per our return policy,” Dodd stated via Facebook message. “I have copies of all correspondence with CYB since January. That correspondence shows their constant failure to place their order in a timely manner putting them at fault for all the delays and drama. Per our refund policy, they shouldn’t have gotten back near what they got. Their delays made it impossible to send items back in the allowed time frame causing me to be stuck with the bill. Not to mention them deleting items on Facebook with dates they had set so they don’t look bad. They aren’t 100 percent trustworthy just because they are a city softball league.”

Guzman said that Dodd told Ceres Police Detective Jon Vera that she talked to the uniform coordinator about getting the refund issued but said it wasn’t true and said no refund, partial or full has been issued. “She hasn’t been in contact with any of us. The only thing we received from her was a certified letter back in June stating how much she wasn’t going to refund us.”

Central Valley Vinyl Plus indicated that Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization would not be issued a full refund and that she would withhold $1,600 for her time spent ordering.

“It would have taken her two weeks to get everything ordered,” Guzman said. “Personally, I think that’s a little excessive.”

Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization paid Dodd’s business $10,686.26 to complete a uniform purchase order for the 2022 season, which got underway in April and ended in June. CVVP received two checks.

Dodd claims that multiple order changes and a delivery delay prevented the job from being completed.

“We got the bid in December,” explained Dodd in a past article published in the Courier. “We placed what we thought was the final order on March 17. We had issues with FedEx. If they (CYBSO) closed registration on Feb. 12, we would have had plenty of time to get the job done with delays.”

Gerardo Hernandez, vice president of CYB, said Dodd agreed to take the job but didn’t produce anything.

“She gave us information but I never had proof of anything being done. She never confirmed the jerseys arriving. I wasn’t the only person to ask for tracking numbers. She sidestepped it and refused. It’s been a crazy situation. The perception looks shady.”

Ismael Ontiveros, a grandfather and coach of a Ceres T-ball player this past season, also had a negative experience after paying Central Valley Vinyl Plus $500 to make jerseys for his team. He changed vendors after multiple delays and not getting the product.

“She kept making excuse after excuse,” said Ontiveros of Dodd. “A lot of times she was non-responsive. It was a compete mess.”

He was able to get a refund since he challenged the charge with the credit card company and it was reversed.

“If I had written a check like CYB, I’d be screwed, Ontiveros commented. “It’s a sad thing. She never apologized. She put the blame on me.”

“When I found out they (CYBSO) filed a police report, I wrote a letter validating it happened to others,” he added. “I broke down my situation and what I went through. I didn’t get the uniforms we were promised. She kept making empty promises. It was very stressful.”

Shane Parson, a local philanthropist, business owner and commercial/residential landlord, said he also has been shortchanged by Dodd. Central Valley Vinyl Plus used to be located in a building owned by Parson in downtown Ceres prior to the business changing its name to Envy Vinyl and moving to Turlock. Parson said Dodd owes him $10,600, including $5,000 in back rent and $5,600 as she had four months remaining on her lease.

Parson said Dodd’s boyfriend and business partner Carlos Martinez issued a $5,000 check which bounced.

“I tried to cash it and it wouldn’t cash,” said Parson. “Finally, I deposited it. The fraud department from my bank called me. I didn’t do anything wrong. I do a lot of business in Ceres.”

“I feel bad for Ceres Youth Baseball,” Parson added. “I’d probably do a fundraiser to help them out. They need to call me. I’m not surprised at what happened based on my interactions with (Dodd). Every time I talked with her, the stories always changed. I think it’s her M.O. She owes American Italian Bistro. She took their money and never produced anything.”

Parson said his business, Embroidery Plus, could have completed Ceres Youth Baseball & Softball Organization’s uniform order. Embroidery Plus didn’t submit a bid for the job. 

“We don’t charge money up front 99 percent of the time,” Parson said. “We wait until the goods are there. Then we get paid.”

The Ceres Youth Baseball and Softball board voted last winter to award the uniform contract to Central Valley Vinyl Plus based on a recommendation made by Daniel Martinez, then a CYBSO board member and whose father, Carlos Martinez, is co-owner of the business. Josephine’s Specialties was also considered.

“When we were asked if we knew of anybody that could do it (uniforms) I might have recommended (Central Valley Vinyl Plus),” said Martinez, now a City Council candidate and member of the Ceres Planning Commission. He said he abstained from voting on awarding the bid because of a conflict of interest.

“I’m upset with how everything went down,” said Martinez. “It’s very unfortunate.”

Guzman said Daniel Martinez has been unable to contact Dodd and help resolve the issue.

The Ceres Youth Baseball and Softball Organization’s 2022 campaign was supposed to begin on April 11 but delayed while board members scrambled to find another vendor to fill the uniform order. Opening day was rescheduled by Ceres Youth Baseball and Softball due to the uniform snafu.

“There was a lot of excitement to get going,” said Ralph Valencia, a parent and coach. “To have no jerseys the first week was a bummer. It’s really bad a local business would do this and have no accountability. That’s the most troubling part. The people that suffer are the kids.”

“I’ve been coaching baseball for 30 years,” Ontiveros said. “Handing out uniforms is my favorite thing to do. Kids get the biggest smiles on their faces. They love it. We were robbed of that this year.”

“I’m surprised somebody would take advantage of a league that’s trying to give kids an outlet and safe place to play,” commented Guzman.

Josephine’s Specialties stepped in at the last minute to complete Ceres Youth Baseball and Softball Organization’s uniform order for 46 teams.

Ontiveros also purchased jerseys for his team from the Hughson business.