Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy Special Audit Released
Nearly $520,000 in Findings Issued
Columbus – Professional football season tickets, trips to the theatre, travel expenses and cocktails are just a few of the nearly $520,000 in items for which taxpayers picked up the tab, according to the special audit of the Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy (CCPA) released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost. The findings in this audit led to the indictments of former Superintendent Lisa Hamm and former Treasurer Stephanie Millard.
“These school officials tried to charge their fancy-schmancy lifestyle to taxpayers,” Auditor Yost said. “The extent of their misdeeds is astonishing, but the good work of our auditors and investigators has put them to a stop.”
The special audit reviewed school records for the period of July 1, 2006 through May 31, 2010. Auditors sought to determine whether credit card purchases and other disbursements were proper and supported by documentation, and whether employees were compensated according to board-approved contracts.
The review found many instances of improper use of school credit cards, leading to 17 findings for recovery totaling $340,800. These charges included purchases of alcohol, theatre tickets, concert tickets, clothing, magazines, and personal hygiene items during trips to Chicago, New York, Europe and other locations. In addition, CCPA paid $1,642 for lawn care services and magazine and newspaper delivery to Hamm’s private residence.
Another 11 findings for recovery totaling $164,247 were issued for inappropriate expenditures not made with a credit card. CCPA paid $2,207 for legal services unrelated to school operations. The school also paid $26,259 in property taxes for LKH Victory Corp., a private legal entity in which Hamm is president. Additionally, CCPA purchased season tickets to theater productions and professional football games. Most of these findings were issued against Hamm and Millard. Other findings for recovery totaling $12,377 were issued against Hamm’s family members for salary overpayments.
The special audit was initiated on December 22, 2009 after allegations of credit card misuse surfaced. The Hamilton County Prosecutor obtained indictments against Hamm and Millard on March 6, 2013 on 26 charges of theft in office, unauthorized use of property, tampering with evidence and tampering with records. The CCPA Board of Directors terminated the employment of Hamm and Millard on March 18, 2013.
A full copy of this audit can be found online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,700 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.