Brazeal Endorses Fox Audit

9 Aug

Since the Dianne Critchlow scandal broke at Fox C-6, followed closely by revelations of a looming budget deficit, members of the community, including Rich Simpson of Fox C-6 Watchdogs and Nikki McClain of NO MORE MONEY OR Resources for the Fox C-6 Superintendent, have called for the state auditor to be brought in to do an audit. Members of the school board, however, resisted. John Laughlin and Dan Kroupa insisted that new CFO John Brazeal and interim superintendent Tim Crutchley be allowed some time to set things straight. Laughlin and Cheryl Hermann suggested a state audit would not be helpful, perhaps due to misunderstandings on their part about the scope and purpose of a state audit. Talk of organizing an audit petition began.

But yesterday the audit football was advanced far down the field when Brazeal wrote a memo suggesting that the board ask for a state audit. A special board meeting was scheduled for August 12 for the sole purpose of passing a resolution to that effect. Brazeal stated that evidence of the following has been found:

    • Financial transactions that appear to be of a personal nature rather than for a District purpose (this has to be the credit card charges of Critchlow and others)
    • Unauthorized rates of compensation (perhaps the salaries that deviate from what was set out in contracts?)
    • Misuse of District property
    • Transactions that are potentially illegal (perhaps Critchlow’s credit card donation to the Missouri School Administrators Political Action Committee?)
    • Destruction of physical and electronic records (probably attempts by guilty parties to cover their tracks)
    • Irregularities related to the issuance of the most recent General Obligation bonds and disposition of the bond funds (this one could be juicy)

Here is the memo, along with the agenda for the August 12 meeting (be there).

The potential wrongdoing mentioned in the letter goes far beyond what bloggers and parents have been discussing in recent weeks. Some of this could be quite serious and criminal. But I have to wonder about Crutchley’s involvement in the investigation. He has been an assistant superintendent for a number of years. He was in the inner circle. Could he really have been ignorant of all that was going on? A glance at Crutchley’s credit card charges (starting on page 27) includes a lot of charges from Amazon, several from Skywalker Communications, a swanky $125 ride from Execucar (“a late-model, luxury sedan or SUV picks you up for a private ride”), and almost $200 at a upscale DC sports bar. These suggest he was in on at least some of the fun. Some of these charges could be job-related (he was asst. supt. for school services), but how are we to know without an investigation?

Anti-audit board members will be hard pressed to say no to an audit at a board meeting with an angry crowd in attendance and without cover from Brazeal. Brazeal’s memo states that the auditor has a Swift Assessment Program, which sounds like a SWAT team for auditors, to come in and do quick work when serious wrongdoing is suspected. Unfortunately, Dianne Critchlow will be retired before anything comes of this (she gets her final early retirement incentive check for $65,000 this week). Perhaps the district could rip up the settlement agreement, cancel her retirement, and put her on unpaid suspension until the audit is complete. Then they could give her the appropriate punishment (this is not to exclude any penalties that the legal system may choose to pursue). I know, I’m dreaming.

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One Response to “Brazeal Endorses Fox Audit”

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  1. Fox Board Approves Audit Request; Brazeal Adds Details | Jefferson County Penknife - August 12, 2014

    […] to take a look at the district. Brazeal expanded upon the questionable activity he outlined in his memo to the board. Here’s what he […]

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