Accountant's report confirms WIS investigation - - Columbia, South Carolina

Accountant's report confirms WIS investigation


An accounting firm's report into a high school's athletic booster club confirms what WIS uncovered in its investigation.

A report released this week showed that two checks were indeed signed by an unauthorized district employee to provide pregame meals for the football team. In WIS' report, we discovered those checks were signed by Brookland-Cayce High School's Athletic Director Rusty Charpia.

One check was written for $340 to Bogarts, which is a restaurant in West Columbia. The second was made out for cash at $360.

"Although we agree that poor judgment took place with these two checks, we do not feel that any illegal activity took place," the report states.

When WIS previously spoke with the South Carolina Bankers Association about the two checks, we were told this was wrong if the individual was unauthorized to sign on the checking account and could be classified as forgery.

In searching through check documents, WIS also recovered checks for more than $500 each with one signature. The club's bylaws state checks written for more than $500 should have two signatures – one from the president and the other from the treasurer. The vice president can also sign if the president is absent.

The report confirmed what WIS discovered and added to it by outlining 35 checks written for amounts more than $500 with only one signature from July 2009 to March 2013.

Concluding the report, the accountants made seven recommendations:

  1. That the district finance department require clubs to pick up their financial records from the district office, leaving schools out of the process;
  2. Petty cash checks be made payable to the individual in charge of an event and the cash returned to the treasurer;
  3. Checks made to a club officer should be signed by another officer or school district chief financial officer;
  4. All purchases should have a request or reimbursement form completed;
  5. Annual training by the district for policies regarding clubs;
  6. Reimbursement receipts include only items purchased for the club and not personal items; and
  7. Check payee and check signor should not be related.

The district says it will utilize these recommendations once a new athletic booster club is formed, which is expected by the start of the new school year.

The former Bearcat Athletic Booster Club was disbanded following a March 5 meeting when Charpia asked the club to change its bylaws because he needed to be able to access the money, according to approved club minutes. BCHS principal disbanded the club because of discord among the members, according to former club secretary Michelle Swancey.

However, this week, Lexington Two district officials said in a statement that "the club was disbanded in accordance with board policies" because "it quickly became obvious that the club was not following their club-approved bylaws nor district review and oversight policies and procedures."

The accountants' report is one step in the district's investigation into the operation of the athletic booster club. The investigation is ongoing, and WIS will update this story as new information is available.

Copyright 2013 WIS.  All rights reserved.

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