The director of the local parks department has confirmed city officials have looked into complaints involving Lincoln Center Skate Club, which rents the city-owned Hamilton Community Center and Ice Arena for practices, ice shows and competitions.
“That’s handled internally with the club,” he said.
City officials and Columbus police were notified in 2017 about an alleged confrontation between former club president Andrea Tinsley and Beverlee Williams, volunteer and mother of former club president, Kimberly Hampton, that would later become one of the focal points of a complaint filed against the club with U.S. Figure Skating.
The notification is confirmed in an internal email obtained by The Republic included in Tinsley’s complaint to U.S. Figure Skating about the club’s response to the tensions between Tinsley and the club’s board of directors and alleged violations of U.S. Figure Skating bylaws or Lincoln club rules.
In a complaint filed directly with the club on June 13, 2018, Tinsley states that Williams shouted at her and Rachel Peery, a former club official, to the point that Tinsley felt Williams “was posing a threat to safety.” Tinsley further alleged that Williams “aggressively approached the table where Ms. Peery was seated, pointed in her face and proceeded to mock her and bark at her like a dog.”
Tinsley told the U.S. Figure Skating hearing board that Williams “was extremely upset and appeared to be physically threatening,” to the women, according to documents about the hearing included in the U.S. Figure Skating decision to put the club on probation.
Tinsley also accused Williams of approaching Tinsley and Peery during the club’s board meeting at Hamilton Community Center and Ice Arena and saying, “You called my daughter today, and I want to know why,” the Columbus parks and recreation incident report states.
“Beverlee then pointed to me (Rachel) and yelled, ‘Rachel Peery is a bully,’” the report states. “Andrea then asked Beverlee to step outside into the lobby area of the rink. Beverlee refused, yelling that ‘You can’t kick me out, I can be here if I want.’”
“She came right at me and was sticking her finger in my face and barking at me like a dog,” Peery said, adding, “I didn’t want to leave (Hamilton Center). I was afraid she was still going to be sitting out in the parking lot.”
Peery said she was removed from the club’s board of directors in November 2017 after alerting board members that they were not following the club’s bylaws for replacing Tinsley as president after she had resigned. While U.S. Figure Skating’s decision didn’t mention any motives for Peery’s dismissal, the national organization determined that the club “did not follow its club bylaws for replacing” Tinsley after she resigned, the decision states.
“Following the incident with Ms. Williams, Andrea Tinsley filed a complaint with the skating facility managers from Columbus Parks and Recreation, and was told that the club had no authority to ban Ms. Williams from any location in the facility other than the ice rink during the times that the club rented it,” the hearing panel’s decision states.
In an internal email dated Aug 24, 2017 obtained by The Republic, Nikki Murphy, director of sports programming for Columbus Parks and Recreation, told Tinsley that parks and recreation officials “had discussions” with Williams about their “expectations” on how to maintain the “desired environment” at Hamilton Center.
“After hearing from both involved parties and the witnesses to the incident in the lobby, we do not feel that the incident was enough to warrant banning an individual from the Community Center,” Murphy wrote in the email. “…The parks department is a public entity who is running a public building hosting public events. Without legal justification for banning an individual from the arena (coming from the City of Columbus Police Department), the Parks Department will not restrict access to an individual.”
“You may pay for off-duty officers to be present if the club wishes, but the full cost incurred would be on behalf of the club, the Parks Department would have no financial stake in that venture as we are not seeking further police involvement for this incident,” according to Murphy’s email.
In another internal email dated Aug. 22, 2017 obtained by The Republic, Carleen Fry, manager of Hamilton Community Center and Ice Arena, told Tinsley, who was club president at the time, that the “incident was reported to police and they talked with Mark Jones concerning the situation.”
If someone ne to report an SafeSport issue during parks and recreation programming, Jones said the complaint would go through the parks department. If someone ne to report an issue with programming that is not affiliated with parks and recreation, the complaint would need to be filed through the appropriate national governing body, such as U.S. Figure Skating or USA Hockey.
Peery said several former club members have not spoken out about the Lincoln club in the past out of fear of retribution.
“That’s one of the reasons why no one has come forward and said anything about that club,” she said.