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Sloppy Bookkeeping Found in Closed Charter School Audit
Columbus – Public funds paid for the personal court costs of a board member at the now closed Ashe Cultural Center community school Elite Academy of the Arts (Cuyahoga County), according to the 2007 and 2008-2009 audits released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost. The release of these audits removes the academy from the “unauditable” list, which it has been on since 2010.
“Using public funds to pay off personal debts is just plain wrong,” Auditor Yost said.
In the school’s FY 2007 audit, it was found that Dr. Elijah Scott, Developer/Superintendent, issued a check to the Akron Municipal Court. The expenditure was unsupported and auditors could not determine the purpose of it. Court records indicate that this involved a personal matter regarding Carol McDaniel, a board member. A finding for recovery in the amount of $510 was issued against McDaniel, as well as Scott.
The FY 2008-2009 audit issued an additional $2,104 in findings for recovery. Of that amount, $1,000 was due to a double payment for a reimbursement to Dr. Elijah Scott. Another $511 in findings was due to inadequate documentation to support an expenditure at Fun N Stuff. Scott also used the school’s credit card to purchase $50 in alcohol. Also included was a $240 overpayment for rent and a $303 ATM cash withdrawal that lacked proper documentation.
Elite Academy of the Arts was placed on the Auditor of State’s “unauditable” list for the 2007 and 2008-2009 audits on November 3, 2010. The completion and release of these audits effectively removes Elite Academy of the Arts from the “unauditable” list. In October 2011, the Ohio Department of Education notified the school’s sponsor, Ashe Cultural Center that they are no longer permitted to sponsor community schools in Ohio and Elite Academy of the Arts was closed on June 30, 2012.
Full copies of these audits may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 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.