Ex-Baltimore Blast GM accused of stealing more than $170K from indoor soccer team

Published 8/24/2023 1:39 p.m. EDT, Updated 8/30/2023 12:41 p.m. EDT

A former general manager of the Baltimore Blast is facing felony theft charges after prosecutors allege that he stole more than $170,000 from the Rosedale-based indoor soccer team.

Gianni Tumminello, 49, of Nottingham, was charged on Aug. 18 in Baltimore County Circuit Court with six counts of theft.

In an email, Adam Lippe, chief of the Economic Crime Unit in the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, said the allegation in the case is that Tumminello stole more than $173,750 while he worked for the Baltimore Blast. The thefts happened from Jan. 1 through April 22, according to court documents.

“It’s thievery, forgery and just total betrayal,” Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale said in an interview.

Tumminello appeared on Wednesday for a bail review hearing before Baltimore County District Judge Marsha L. Russell, who released him on his own recognizance, according to court records. He could not immediately be reached for comment, and court records do not list an attorney for him.

Hale said Tumminello handled ticket sales and group tickets and did not have any financial authority.

In the spring, Hale said he and Tumminello had some words. Tumminello quit that night, Hale said.

A few days later, Hale said, his assistant came in and asked him whether he knew anything about checks that did not have his signature on them. Hale said he does not allow anyone to sign for him.

When Hale returned from the Major Arena Soccer League championship series in Mexico, he said that’s when the checks started “really hitting.” He said the thefts have shaken the people who’ve been with him for decades.

“The enormity of this is crazy,” Hale said. “After it’s all over, it’s going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million bucks or more.”

Hale said he’s the single owner of the team and suffers the financial loss. He said he can withstand it but wants to recoup the money through restitution.

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In 2016, Tumminello’s wife, Shawn, filed for divorce in Harford County Circuit Court, which a judge later granted, according to court records. Litigation related to alimony has continued for years.

Court records indicate that Tumminello took a position as vice president of soccer operations with the Baltimore Blast in 2019, which came with a salary of $36,000. He had the opportunity to earn more in the role.

Tumminello, court records state, no longer worked as a DJ and had given up a gig hosting a trivia night.

On May 15, Harford County Circuit Judge Kevin J. Mahoney approved an agreement that called for Tumminello to pay the mortgage on the home that he and his ex-wife owned in Belcamp.

Starting on June 1, Tumminello would have to pay $1,100 in alimony for 12 months. The amount would decrease to $500 per month in 2024.

The modern Baltimore Blast was founded in 1992 as the Spirit and six years later adopted its current name, which was used by a previous iteration of the franchise during indoor soccer’s glory days in the 1980s. A winner of 10 league championships, the team plays its home games at SECU Arena at Towson University.

It’s unclear when Tumminello is expected back in court.