Nearly $43K in Findings Issued in 2013 Audit of Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy
2014 Audit Shows Significant Improvement with No Findings for Recovery
Columbus – The 2013 state audit of the Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy released today cites $42,967 in misspent tax dollars, raising the total amount identified at the charter school to more than $700,000 since 2007.
But there is some good news for the academy: The 2014 audit, also released today, marks the first time in eight straight audits that the school was free of any findings for recovery, which auditors issue when they identify public property that has been misspent or misappropriated.
The academy’s new financial management, Mangen & Associates, assumed financial responsibilities in 2014 following the ousting of now-convicted former academy leaders Superintendent Lisa Hamm and Treasurer Stephanie Millard.
Hamm and Millard spent hundreds of thousands of public dollars to finance their lavish lifestyle that included travel around the world, Cincinnati Bengals season tickets, a sightseeing helicopter tour and a trip to Boston to see Oprah.
“There isn’t much left to say about the egregious acts committed by these two individuals,” Auditor Yost said. “Now that justice has been served, the academy has begun a new chapter and can focus on education instead of self-indulgence.”
Still, the two former administrators managed to land a few last blows prior to their exit. Auditors discovered Millard signed a $1,269 check to Queen City Radio Automotive during 2013 to pay for repairs to Hamm’s personal vehicle. The expense was not approved by the academy’s board and it did not serve a proper public purpose.
The academy also lacked board approval when it paid the entire $10,616 employee portion of Hamm’s State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio contribution and reimbursed her $4,224 for unrelated expenses. In a separate finding, auditors learned Hamm improperly charged $1,648 to an academy debit card for meals, postal expenses and other expenditures that lacked supporting documentation.
Auditors issued $17,757 in findings for recovery against Hamm. Additional findings for recovery were issued against the following individuals for the amounts listed below:
- $16,475 overpayment to Edna Jones (teacher);
- $2,750 overpayment to Angel Morgan (teacher);
- $2,269 overpayment to Elizabeth Horter (teacher);
- $2,000 overpayment to Steven Ellison (teacher/athletic director); and
- Current Superintendent Guyton Matthews lacked board approval for $1,716 in charges to academy debit cards.
Former treasurers Millard and Michael Ashmore are jointly and severally liable for $27,876 and $11,727, respectively, of the total audit findings.
Hamm entered an Alford plea deal in October 2014 for three felony counts of unauthorized use of property and was sentenced to five years of probation, 120 days in an extended treatment program for women and ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution.
Millard pleaded guilty in January 2015 to two misdemeanor counts of unauthorized use of property and was sentenced to two years of probation. The academy’s board of directors terminated both women from employment in March 2013.
Full copies of these reports are available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.
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