Columbus – For the fourth time in the past six months, Auditor of State Dave Yost is citing community school treasurer, Carl Shye, for illegally spending taxpayer dollars at three separate schools. The multiple findings for recovery issued against him now total more than $600,000.
“The evidence is clear -- Carl Shye is a serial abuser of public dollars and taxpayer trust,” Auditor Yost said. “All the money, including this latest finding, must be returned, and Mr. Shye should be held accountable for his actions.”
In the most recent case, more than $112,000 in taxpayer money, meant to educate students, went to an empty school, according to the closeout audit of the Montessori Renaissance Experience (Franklin County) released today by Auditor Yost.
State Foundation payments are made each month to community schools based on estimated enrollment numbers provided by the school, and adjusted at the end of each fiscal year. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, the school was over-funded by $13,729. Between July 1, 2009 and September 25, 2009, the school received $99,189 in Foundation funding, but was not serving any students.
On September 25, 2009, the Montessori Renaissance Experience was closed by the school’s board of governors. The Foundation payments the school received were used to liquidate the school’s outstanding operating expenses. Findings for recovery in the amount of $112,918 for public funds illegally expended were issued against Treasurer Carl Shye, in favor of the Ohio Department of Education.
Management also spent money without keeping important supporting documentation, such as invoices. Public money was spent contrary to board directive, and the school paid insurance premiums for an employee who was no longer employed. Additional findings for recovery in the total amount of $9,669 were issued against various administrators, including former Treasurers Rochelle Shields and Carl Shye, for unsupported expenditures.
Subsequent records requests made after initial records were provided were difficult to obtain, with significant delays. Bank statements from the school’s financial institution had to be obtained through subpoena.
Findings for recovery in the total amount of $1,625 were issued against four members of the school’s board of governors. In February 2009, the board adopted a resolution to suspend payments of board stipends, but the four board members received stipends in July 2009.
Two employees received payments above normal and customary gross pay. The school did not provide documentation to indicate that the board approved the pay. Findings for recovery were issued in the total amount of $2,422.
Carl Shye was issued findings for recovery in three other audits released in the latter half of 2011 – including two audits of the Legacy Academy for Leaders and the Arts (Mahoning County) and one audit of the NuBethel Center for Excellence (Montgomery County).
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.