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Defense attorney: Ex-Montwood coach denies stealing from program,abusing players

Attorney Jim Darnell denies that former Montwood Coach Chuck Veliz took money from the program.

On the defensive, a former high school football coach, accused of abusing players and stealing from the program, claims he hasn't done anything wrong.

KFOX14 Investigates sat down with former Montwood High School coach Chuck Veliz's attorney, Jim Darnell.

Veliz under investigation by the Texas Rangers after allegations he stole thousands of dollars from the football program and fundraisers.

There are also allegations about the mistreatment of players.

Darnell maintains not a dollar disappeared.

"Frankly, I think this is much to do about nothing," Darnell said. "Veliz coached an awful lot of young men in this community for many many years."

Veliz is accused of lining his own pockets when he served as head coach and athletic coordinator.

Veliz was the head coach for 14 years.

An audit by the Socorro Independent School District examined the team accounts for the past five years.

The audit found potentially thousands of dollars missing.

Veliz handled the team's finances and fundraisers.

But the district determined Veliz cannot accurately account for the money and that he violated almost a dozen district policies.

He kept very few receipts or other documentation.

The district found Veliz did not deposit all of the money into the account and dealt primarily in cash.

The investigation, which included the participation of the FBI, suggests hundreds of thousands of dollars are not documented.

KFOX14 Investigates asked his attorney where all the money went

"There is no six-figure number. Most of the time coach was dipping into his own pocket because they did not have enough money for things," Darnell said.

Darnell points the blame at the district.

"That's been our position all alont. On the big events there was training and they were done by the book, by the number, to the letter. But on some of these smaller things, when they were collecting little bits of money for the kids and no one ever explained that was a fundraiser or how to go about doing that," Darnell said.

The SISD's audit recommended referring the report to law enforcement for a criminal investigation.

"This was sort of the way out, school districts are like that sometimes. If someone squawks loud enough, they will find an easy way out and the easy way out was to say,'Let someone else investigate it,'" Darnell said.

Another report shows Veliz is accused of more than financial impropriety.

The report states Veliz violated district policies when he physically touched students.

KFOX14 Investigates obtained a memo given to the superintendent five days before Veliz retired, the document says an investigation determined the head coach touched players in "demeaning and unprofessional manners" and some players quit due to the "unprofessional treatment." The document also states the head coach was verbally abuse and disrespectful to his players.

"It's silly, we didn't know anything about that. I played football. To say a football coach can't touch a football player is silly. The same rules don't apply on the football field that apply in the English classroom," Darnell said.

Darnell said Veliz had been considering retiring for two to three years but waited until he had a good season and a good group of players before doing so.

KFOX14 Investigates also pulled Veliz's teaching certificate with the Texas Education Agency and found he is currently under investigation by the state board.

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