Jim Thorpe School District's Capital One credit card issued in their business manager's name has been under a forensic audit since October. School board officials tell us the results will soon be available. But News 13's Katya Fitzpatrick did her own audit and looked at six years of credit card transactions and receipts. Here's what she found.
239 charges were made on the business managers credit card from June 2014 to October 2018, totaling more than 62-thousand dollars. In the fall, Jim Thorpe school board members requested a forensic audit on the credit card issued in business manager, Lauren Kovac's name. The board took action after a tax payer questioned miscellaneous charges, including numerous restaurant charges, on the card.
"What I"m asking is for a forensic audit, which I'm glad you approved."
Most of the charges on the card were for school supplies including books, computer software, and monitors. There were also some charges for continuing education credits for faculty and staff. But there were a few charges that caught our eye.
Credit card statements show 44 of the charges on the card were made at area restaurants including Dom n Ali's. The charges total nearly $5,000 over the last six years. That averages out to less than $800 a year. Superintendent Dr Brian Gasper justifies the expenses by saying all lunches were business meetings with board members to discuss school matters...Exiting superintendent, Dr.Brian Gasper declined an on camera interview with News 13. But he did issue this response to our question on who started the lunch meeting trend? "There wasn't a specific person or trend that was started. To be clear, there were several meetings held in many different locations including the district office and district schools as well. Due to work schedules, etc. there were times that we met on a member's lunch break or closer to their employment." I asked school board members the same question at tonight's meeting. Only one member responded.
Credit card statements also show tax payers paid nearly $7,000 for first class airline tickets on three separate occasions for Dr. Gasper and four board members to attend out of state conferences, a surprise to some board members.
From 2014 to 2018 over $700 were earned in rewards on the credit card "who received the rewards, Mrs. Kovac?"
So not all of our questions were answered but because of our investigation, school board members tell us the new superintendent's contract restricts him to coach when traveling by air.