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Findings Continue to Pile Up Against Two Convicted Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy Officials
Columbus – Two former Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy (CCPA) officials continued to misspend tax dollars two years after a special audit was launched, according to a financial audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“While these audit findings are no surprise, they’re nonetheless appalling,” Auditor Yost said. “Hamm and Millard stole more than just taxpayer dollars – they stole opportunities from students.”
From July 2011 to June 2012, former Superintendent Lisa Hamm used school credit cards to spend $32,518 on entertainment, trips and personal items for staff. Payments were made to vendors such as Hard Rock Café, Jeff Ruby Steakhouse, Broadway Across America, Open Top Sightseeing and Swim Outlet. Additional payments also were made to Hamm totaling $40,517 for “reimbursements” without board approval. Former treasurer Stephanie Millard authorized all payments and is held jointly and severally liable for each amount.
Auditors also determined that during the 2011-2012 school year, Millard signed twelve checks totaling $4,225 to various vendors, including the Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Preschool Academy. Due to lack of supporting documentation, the auditors were unable to determine if the expenditures were related to school business.
Findings for recovery were issued against Lisa Hamm in the amount of $32,518 and $40,517. An additional finding for recovery was issued against Stephanie Millard in the amount of $4,225.
During the 2012 school year, four teachers received payments totaling $7,078 for “extracurricular activities” that were not approved by the board. Findings for recovery were issued against each staff member, and Millard is held jointly and severally liable for the total amount.
After receiving allegations of credit card misuse, the Auditor of State’s office conducted a special audit that identified nearly $520,000 in findings for recovery against Hamm and Millard. They were indicted on March 6, 2013 on 26 charges of theft in office, unauthorized use of property, tampering with evidence and tampering with records. On October 8, 2014, Hamm entered an Alford plea deal for 3 of the 26 felony counts and is currently on house arrest. Millard pled guilty to two misdemeanor accounts and was sentenced to two years probation. The CCPA Board of Directors terminated the employment of Hamm and Millard on March 18, 2013. Millard surrendered her treasurer’s license in February 2015. The Ohio Department of Education is pursuing Hamm’s superintendent license, and a hearing with the Attorney General’s office is pending.
A full copy of this audit may be accessed online.