Why Does Our State Auditor Only Find Things Like The Sussex Tech Fraud From Tips? Are There More Sussex Tech Situations We Don’t Know About?

Boom! Jack Wells sent one hell of an email to Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner today.  This is one for the record books and opens up a whole new ballpark on the question of financial oversight of our school districts and charter schools!

TO: Mr. Thomas Wagner, Auditor of Accounts

This report reveals numerous problems that were “only” revealed because the Office of Auditor of Accounts {AOA} received an anonymous complaint on 1 July 2014. 

While I am concerned about the findings, I am even more troubled why these findings were not identified in the State of Delaware Statewide School Districts’ Construction Projects Attestation Engagements conducted in fiscal years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.  

Question: Since these reports did not reveal the problems identified in the report conducted by your auditors as a result of an anonymous complaint, can you inform me the purpose of these engagements/examinations?

Comment: Some findings were revealed, however the report ending June 30,2015 states: “Our examination disclosed no instances of noncompliance or other matters that are required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards. Hopefully your answer to my question will disclose what must be reported under Government Auditing Standards.

While I am troubled by these findings, I have to wonder if these findings and others problems are not being revealed by the engagements/examinations that are being conducted each year. Provided below are the number of districts that are audited each fiscal year.

Fiscal Year     # of  School Districts  Audited

2012                   18

2013                   17

2014                   18

2015                   18

2016                   16

I have to wonder if the findings on Sussex Technical are only the tip of an iceberg.

Finally and even more troubling is the fact that audits required by law to verify expenditures of $2.3 billion annually for the education of our children were legal and used for the purpose provided are not conducted.

Amen Jack!  I am dying for these questions to be heard.  But I fear we will only hear the empty vacuum of space on this.

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17 Who Will Make An Impact In 2017: Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner

tomwagner

Tom Wagner is going to have a VERY busy 2017.  Why?  Because I’m going to make sure he does.  Everyone and their mother is talking about education funding and how to change it.  But all of these funding advocates aren’t bringing up in the elephant in the room.  Do our districts and charters in Delaware spend the money they already have for the benefit of children?  Is that foremost in their minds when they spend their money?

Indian River School District, Family Foundations Academy, Delaware Military Academy, Academy of Dover, Providence Creek Academy, Odyssey Charter School, Sussex Academy, Charter School of Wilmington, Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security, Delaware College Prep, Kuumba Academy, and Pencader Business School have all been investigated by the auditor’s office and found to have some pretty major financial issues.  The extremes, outright theft of tens, if not hundreds, of dollars which should be going toward the kids.  And they were the ones that got caught.

I believe, no, make that KNOW there are others.  I’ve been investigating an educational establishment the past few weeks.  You can ask, but I won’t tell you who.  There are not enough flags that would trigger an audit by Wagner’s office.  So I will create those flags and I will plant right in the middle of Wagner’s office.  The days of playing with school funds are over.  And if anyone should start to feel bold, I’ve made arrangements to make sure information gets out no matter what.

We live in complicated times with no clear direction of what is up and what is down.  This is the world we have created.  We can sit and talk about education until the cows come home but we have already slaughtered those cows and served them for dinner.  Everyone wants to feast on the scraps.  Tom Wagner’s office is, by law, supposed to audit every single school district in Delaware.  But he can’t.  Because our General Assembly won’t fund his office to do the work needed to hold our districts accountable for how they spend money.  Which is why I find it VERY ironic that certain charters and districts want to go after certain things in their quest for more money.  I find that to be completely despicable and if it continues I will not rest until that conversation ends.  Because NOTHING would tick me off more than something going forward with one particular certain thing.  If you thought I was a pain in the ass about opt out, that will be an episode of Romper Room compared to THAT.  Out of respect, I am not going to make that public at this point but it is a fair warning.  And I will say it is not even remotely connected with the charter school lawsuit against Christina and the Delaware DOE.

So, Tom Wagner, my plan is to keep you so busy that you will have no other option than begging the General Assembly to beef up your staff.  And I will have an apparatus so this won’t just be talk coming from you.  Our General Assembly will be VERY aware why you are so busy.

Someone has to get in the dirty and ugly trenches and dig around.  That’s me.  If you don’t like it, too bad.  If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.  If it isn’t good for kids it isn’t right.  As for Wagner, there is one thing you need to resolve once and for all.  We both know what it is.  I’ve dug around in that abyss as well.  And it reeks of corruption.  The tide is high.

A Delaware Citizen Hits The Bullseye With The Scandal At The State Auditor’s Office

I’ve mentioned Jack Wells a lot in the past few weeks.  He is a good guy.  He has some very strong opinions about the mandated “leave” of Kathleen Davies, imposed by Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner.  We all do these days.  I have yet to hear anyone say “Wagner did the right thing”.  It just reeks of corruption!  But enough babbling, let’s hear it from the good Jack!

During the last 6 years the Auditor of Accounts has expended $29,500.27 for Lodg-Hotl-Out of State, of this amount Kathleen Davis expended $1,953.01 or $325.50 a year.  Three other employees expended $1,262,55, the Delaware Online Checkbook does not identify the employees who expended the other $26,284.71.

 

The article that appeared in yesterday’s News Journal did not reveal what Kathleen Davis did wrong, it did not contain the above facts nor did the article identify;

a.       Who approved Kathleen Davis travel.

b.       Who approved Kathleen Davis request for reimbursement that have to be supported by invoices/hotel bills.

 

Hopefully The News Journal will, in a very short time write a follow-up that provides the answers to the above questions and  informs the readers if funds were misused.  I would think since two months had passed since she was placed on leave, this could have been determined before the information was released to the News Journal. 

 

The article stated that using the P Card provided more oversight, however when I checked the P Card for this category of expense, it identified the hotel not the individuals.  {Marriott, Chicago received $893.96. FY2016}

 

http://checkbook.delaware.gov/catDetails.aspx?Dept_Name=AUDITOR%20OF%20ACCOUNTS&Spend_Cat=LODG-HOTL,%20MOTL%20OUT-STATE&Fis_Q=FY%202016&Div_Name=AUDITOR%20OF%20ACCOUNTS

 

Over the last several years under Kathleen Davis supervision detail reports have been written on fraud, waste and abuse.  The Performance Reviews on Entitlements reveal big problems, as have audits on the used of Petty Cash in some of our Charter Schools.  The report on DDOE procedures on verification of student enrollment by category revealed a major problem, that DDOE made no effort to verify funds were being used for the purpose they were provided.  The report also revealed DDOE requested Auditor of Accounts conduct a review to verify funds were used for the purpose provided, but AOA refused. {This report was rescinded by AOA, no reason have been provided.}

I find it unacceptable that hundreds of hours are devoted to verify the state is not providing more funding to our children than they earn, while both AOA and DDOE provide NO oversight to verify the expenditure of these funds are legal and used for the purpose the funds are provided. 

 

While I support audits on travel and use of petty cash to reduce fraud, waste and abuse, I find it obscene NO oversight is being provided on the expenditure of 2.4 billion annually the public has provided for the education of our children.  Clearly the lack of oversight on $2.4 billion annually provides opportunities for fraud, waste and abuse, and based on the findings in audit reports conducted under the supervision of Kathleen Davis on the used of credit cards, it is clear we have fraud, waste and abuse. Last year our children with special needs represented 14% of our enrollment, however these children earned 33% of Div. I Regular and Special Education Units and many other units.  Are we sure all this funding is used for the purpose the funds were provided? 

 

Jack Wells

Well said Jack, well said!

The Charter School Petty Cash Audit You Will Never See

Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner has a lot of explaining to do.  And possibly Governor Markell as well!

Things are getting a bit clearer now.  On the Kavips blog, Delaware State Representative Kim Williams wrote a comment on Kavips take on the Kathleen Davies situation playing out at the Delaware Auditor of Accounts office.  She wrote about how she contacted the auditor’s office last September regarding some concerns she had with a Delaware charter school’s petty cash activity on Delaware Online Checkbook.  The report was near completion prior to Kathleen Davie’s abrupt “leave of absence”.  Williams even had a comment she approved that would have appeared in the petty cash audit inspection.

Williams emailed Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner to find out the status of it following Davies’ leave.  Wagner told her he stopped the audit and issued letters to all the charter schools instead.  Really Wagner?  I know which school Williams found on the petty cash situation.  When the Charter School of Wilmington wrote in their board minutes that the auditors were there to review their petty cash accounts, I knew something was up.  So I checked all the charter schools petty cash activity.  Some of them were quite egregious compared to what they are allowed to have in those accounts.  But I figured I would wait to see the report before I wrote about it.  In other board minutes, CSW board members asked where the audit was and they were going to contact the auditor to find out.  I find it very interesting they chose to write about this one particular audit, not once, but twice.

So now we have an elected official voluntarily choosing to cover up information.  This makes the very bizarre action against Davies’ look even more suspicious.  Who knows what other activity is being “stopped” by Tom Wagner.  Lord only knows how much else she found.  We also have the woman who was in charge of the Office of Management and Budget involved in this scandal as well.  Ann Visalli reported to one man, and one man only… Delaware Governor Jack A. Markell.  We have an obvious set-up against Davies with a lot of BIG Delaware power figures involved.  I hope her attorney eats them up!

Hey… Tom Wagner… where is the audit on Delaware Met?  Where is the audit from the tip I submitted about Academy of Dover and Newark Charter School?  What other audits are you cancelling?  Why do you keep ignoring emails from constituents like Jack Wells and myself?  What do you do all day?  Who got you to stop audits showing abuse of taxpayer money?  Is there an Indian River audit taking place given the firing of their CFO?  Mr. Wagner, do you know what else I’m finding?

Hey, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn… when are you going to announce charges for the charter school employees that were caught?  And that Indian River guy?  Are you waiting for Markell to leave his post?  Or for the statute of limitations to run out on these thieves?  I know the FBI are aware of this because I let them know just in case Delaware didn’t.  That was in April.

If I were writing a mystery novel about this, hypothetically of course, I would have to name suspects in a crime.  Keep in mind this would be a fictional story because no one has been charged with anything (including former charter school employees who were nabbed by the auditor’s office, but I digress).  I would have to look at who opposed Kim Williams’ original charter school audit bills.  That would be Kendall Massett (Director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network), a lot of House Republicans, Senator David Sokola, Donna Johnson (Executive Director of the State Board of Education), Nitin Rao (the business manager of Newark Charter School), and Democrat State Representative (and Chair of the House Education Committee) Earl Jaques.  Oh yeah, Speaker  of the House Pete Schwartzkopf voted no on that one too!  Chuck Taylor with Providence Creek Academy (also the President of the board over at the Delaware Charter Schools Network and a member of the Charter School Accountability Committee at the Delaware DOE) had parents from his school send emails to the House prior to the vote opposing the legislation.  And we can’t forget Ann Visalli!  And some guy named Henry Clampitt who was doing work with Kendall’s group also opposed it at the Senate Education Committee meeting on it last January.  I would have to imagine many other charter school leaders were not happy about the bill either.  This is a big list of whodunit suspects!  Did they act in concert in this imaginary thriller?  Or did someone fly solo?  I can’t wait to write the ending to this mystery!  I imagine all these suspects could feel the noose tightening around them right about now.  In this fictional story of course!

I sure hope someone was able to get their hands on all those letters sent from Tom Wagner concerning the petty cash audits that went out to various charter schools…