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Cleveland School Treasurer Owes State $1.4 Million
Another $1.5 Million in Federal Funding Questioned; Issue Referred to Local Prosecutor
State Auditor Mary Taylor today released the final audit of the International Preparatory School in Cuyahoga County finding that the school’s treasurer owes more than $1.4 million back to the state due to inflated enrollment numbers. The audit also questioned more than $1.5 million in federal grant money. The Auditor’s Office has referred the case to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Department of Education.
“The people in Ohio who are handling public funds will be held accountable,” Taylor said. “This audit shows that the treasurer of the International Preparatory School must repay $1.4 million in state funding and possibly mishandled another $1.5 million in federal funding. We have referred this case to the proper authorities for action and will continue to aggressively investigate cases like these to ensure that Ohio taxpayer dollars are being spent legally and appropriately.”
The audit covering July 1, 2004 to October 18, 2005 found that the school did not have the attendance numbers it projected to the Ohio Department of Education and was therefore overpaid. A finding for recovery in the amount of $1,407,983 was issued against the school’s treasurer, Hasina Shabazz, and the estate of her husband, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Du’ad Abdul Malik. The school permanently closed on October 18, 2005.
In addition, the audit reported that there was no documentation to support the spending of $1,598,515 in federal grant money. Programs with questioned costs included the Federal School Breakfast program, the National School Lunch program, and the Title I program.
Other findings include:
- The school overpaid on a lease for a building which was owned by Shabazz and her husband. Records show that they paid more than $1.7 million in monthly payments over five years even though the purchase price of the building was $1.4 million. In addition, most of the costs associated with the lease of the building were charged to the school.
- The school did not present financial records to the Auditor’s Office even after being directed by a subpoena. Other accounting records that were provided were incomplete and lacked information such as cancelled checks.
The State Auditor’s Office works to ensure that all public funds are spent appropriately and in accordance with state and local laws. The office also works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending, and help prosecute those who seek to use public funds for personal gain.
A complete copy of the audit is online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2007/International_Preparatory_School_05-Cuyahoga.pdf