0

Audit uncovers unexplained transactions

By Greg Gelpi

Checks were written to the president by the president, checks are missing and checks were written to stores for inexplicable amounts and unknown purchases, according to an audit of the Mundy's Mill High School band booster club.

Judy Klug, a Clayton County school system auditor, found missing documentation and documentation in "disarray," so much so that it couldn't be determined if money was stolen, missing or simply lost in a sea of bad record-keeping.

"An audit could not be completed for this audit because of missing documentation and incomplete record keeping," Klug concluded in her report, explaining that a note indicated that files had been stored on "bad" disks and weren't available. "Also mismanagement of funds could not be established from the information provided."

The audit listed 15 findings, including that only one signature was required on checks, checks written to and signed by the same person, checks marked as "void" were actually cashed, checks were written out of order and of the 275 checks written from Aug. 2, 2002, to June 30, 2004, only 75 had documentation on file.

In addition, three checks were written to Vice President Annie Moorer, but there's no documentation as to why, according to the audit. There was also a $2,927 debit on the June bank statement without explanation.

That withdrawal came around the time that President Stephanie McClenton's daughter went to Europe for a six-week band trip, Evelyn Jackson, who was the second vice president at the time, said.

Only McClenton, Moorer and then band director Vincent Rosse had access to the money, Jackson said. The treasurers were "treasurer in title only."

She said the "million-dollar question" is where did all the money go.

Jackson did know that McClenton and Moorer bought each other gold watches in 2002 using booster club money.

Jackson resigned her position last year after learning of the "fishy" finances of the club.

"We're in debt up to our neck," Jackson said. "Every time we go anywhere our kids have to pay through the nose."

Parents, who have been demanding an audit, aren't sure where the money is, but are sure that it hasn't been going to their children. Checks were written to Dollar Tree, BJ's Wholesale Club, Sam's Wholesale Club and Wal-Mart in June when school was out for the summer.

"We have no idea what those checks were written for," parent Jackie Medley, who was the chairwoman of the uniform and inventory committee, said, adding that about 40 band members have no uniform. "Then what really got our attention was a check for $1,295 to Fashion Clothing. What is Fashion Clothing?"

Running through the list of checks in the audit, she said that the band never saw or benefited from any of the purchases. No one in the percussion section, her son included, even has a uniform.

"We see all of this is bought from Wal-Mart, but where is it going?" Medley asked of $157.95 in three checks written to the retail store from June 29, 2003, to July 5, 2003, which were among 54 checks written during the summer.

"We've been asking that question for years," Medley said. "What's happening with the band money? Everything the kids got we paid for. We're paying fees, but we feel like the kids are getting robbed."

When asked if the money was stolen, Medley said that parents were hesitant to allege criminal activity, but asked what else could have happened.

"You don't really want to say that, but when you see checks written to one's self and then turned around and cashed you have to wonder," she said.

Medley questioned other payments on the booster club checking account, including checks written to Rosse to attend conferences and registration fees documented as being paid by the club, but she said were paid by parents.

Camille Barbee Olmstead, a spokeswoman with Clayton County schools, said that an investigation is being conducted to determine exactly what happened with the booster club's money.

According to the policies of the Clayton County Board of Education, "Any purchases made from activity funds, for any purpose, must be approved by the principal or his/her designee."

Board policy also requires annual audits of all student activity funds and the keeping of a "clear audit trail from receipt of the funds to the disbursement of the funds."

There has been no audit of the booster club since the school opened in 2002.

Repeated calls to the school system, Moorer, McClenton and other officers in the band booster club were not returned as of press time.