Charter School Audit Finds Duplicate Payment to Janitor
Columbus – A Lucas County charter school issued a duplicate payment to a janitor after he claimed a check for the first payment was lost or stolen, but the check eventually cleared the bank, according to an audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
The Academy for Educational Excellence issued a $324 check to former janitor Devon Loggins on June 30, 2015 for his services. Loggins later told academy Superintendent Ann Harris – his grandmother – the check was lost or stolen. Harris immediately paid him another $300 in cash, but the check for $324 cleared the bank several days later.
“The academy made zero effort to prevent the loss of tax dollars,” Auditor Yost said. “Someone at the school should have been on the phone with the bank long before a second payment was made.”
According to the report, “Due diligence was not performed by placing a hold or stop payment on the check” and no investigation was conducted. Treasurer Cindy Mercer recorded the cash payment as an additional expenditure for contract janitorial services.
A $300 finding for recovery was issued against Loggins with Harris and Mercer jointly and severally liable for the full amount. Harris repaid $300 to the academy on June 23, 2016. Loggins was terminated from his position for reasons unrelated to the audit finding.
The audit also found Harris violated the academy’s related party policy and potentially state law by paying her daughter, Sonya Loggins, $1,000 to give a presentation during the academy’s Family Literacy Night. The matter will be referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission.
A full copy of this report is 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.