After a forensic audit uncovered corruption, theft, and fraud by former school district officials at Greenville Independent School District, the district says the Texas Attorney General’s office has launched an investigation into the matter.
School district officials recently sent the following statement to staff:
“Greenville ISD officials have been in touch with the Texas Attorney General’s office regarding the forensic audit that was conducted this spring. AG officials have decided to open an investigation as a result of some of the information contained in the audit. … AG officials indicated that they will not be returning the audit in any form until conclusion of the investigation.”
The AG has good reason to investigate. The forensic auditor, Sandy Alexander, told the local press several months ago that he found evidence of criminal behavior by former officials. There were other glaring problems, such as no paper trail for at least $54 million in school bond expenditures. In an interview with a local TV news outlet, Alexander stated:
“Former GISD officials engaged in cronyism, misappropriation of payroll assets, misconduct to include mismanagement and abuse of position, and theft by gift of taxpayer monies.”
After the district ran a budget deficit, local taxpayers and other influential community leaders put pressure on the board to conduct a forensic audit. Prior to the forensic audit, GISD Superintendent Dr. Demetrus Liggins said such a review was not necessary.
Liggins recruited the Texas Association of School Business Officials to conduct their own audit, which Liggins deemed sufficient. He claimed TASBO’s review did not uncover any evidence of criminal wrongdoing, and that a forensic audit was no longer needed. Clearly, he was wrong.
The GISD scandal demonstrates that the current financial audits required by state law are woefully insufficient. Every local taxing entity in Texas should be required to undergo periodic, forensic audits, especially prior to asking voters to approve bond propositions.