CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Clay County cheerleading coach is facing grand theft charges for taking thousands of dollars while she ran a cheerleading organization for kids. The Clay County Sheriff’s office said she used much of the money as if it were her own bank account.
Amanda Herndon used to operate two organizations. She was the president of the Orange Park Athletic Association and she ran a cheerleading group called “Crush Cheer.”
The town manager of Orange Park said people started hearing stories that the group was using the facilities at the Orange Park Sports and Recreation Complex. A cease and desist order to the Orange Park Athletic Association was sent in June. It reads in part, “it has come to our attention that Crush Cheer continues to use the facility without a lease from the town or insurance.”
“Mayor Anderson and I attended one of their board of director meetings in April to advise them of that prohibition, and we were not given an opportunity to speak. It was a very chaotic meeting,” Orange Park Town Manager, Sarah Campbell said.
Amanda Herndon was removed from her role as president of OPAA. Her arrest warrant shows she was the only member of Crush Cheer with access to the VyStar bank account. When other members of the organization started looking into it, they found Herndon “used the account as if it were her personal bank account.”
“I felt all kinds of emotions. I felt sadness because we trusted this person and we thought that this person truly cared about our kids,” parent Clarissa Mathieu said.
Mathieu is the parent of one girl who joined “Crush Cheer.” She says parents spent thousands of dollars to put their children in the group. She’s outraged over what Herndon is accused of doing.
“And I felt anger because cheer season is not cheap. We spend thousands on each season. And the thing is, that with a lot of us, we depend on sponsorship from either family members or local small businesses. And so it’s very disheartening,” Mathieu said.
“Crush Cheer” is listed as a non-profit and the money given by parents is supposed to go toward uniforms, cheerleading equipment and other similar expenses.
News4JAX reached out to Herndon’s lawyer, she had no comment.