The state auditor’s office has ruled that three South-Western City Schools athletics department employees must repay about $7,000 in public money because they cannot definitively show it was properly spent.
The state issued findings for recovery in the amount of $5,754 against Central Crossing athletics supervisor Dennis Dew and $1,000 against Westland High School athletics director Greg Burke, according to a March 28 news release from State Auditor Dave Yost.
Both officials must make restitution for those amounts.
A third finding for recovery of $205 was issued against Grove City athletics supervisor Ron Hutcheson, and he repaid the full amount March 20, according to the auditor's statement.
A state financial audit showed the expenditures were made using outside athletic bank accounts which were set up in violation of district policy, Yost stated in his announcement.
The district requires the purchasing of supplies, equipment and services be centralized in the business office, South-Western Treasurer Hugh Garside said.
The outside accounts were used for tournaments sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Garside said.
There is no evidence the funds were misspent or used for personal reasons, he said.
"There's nothing we saw that led us to believe there was anything improper going on," Garside said.
However, the findings were made because the employees were not able to provide documentation to show the expenditures were proper, he said.
For example, a purchase of basketballs may have been made, but no invoice for the purchase was provided, Garside said.
When the district found out about the accounts last year, they were closed immediately and the leftover funds paid into the district's bank account, he said.
Garside said he then asked the auditor to look at transactions for the previous five years.
"We take this kind of situation very seriously," he said.
While some unsupported expenditures were found to have been properly made, the findings for recovery were issued for those that could not be verified as proper, according to Yost’s news release.
A full copy of the audit can be accessed online at www.ohioauditor.gov.