KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Investigators found that the former treasurer of the Kingston Elementary Parent Teacher Organization misused at least $19,000 over a nearly 4 year period, according to a report from the state’s comptroller’s office.
Between October 2014 and August 2018, the Tennessee’s Comptroller’s Office found that the former treasurer misappropriated at least $19,363 of PTO funds, making multiple withdrawals of cash from the PTO bank account without documentation to support how the money was used.
Investigators found that the former treasurer made 23 cash or ATM withdrawals over the 46-month period, including seven cash withdrawals of $1,250 or more.
Additionally, investigators found that the former treasurer made $46,976.78 in questionable disbursements using the PTO debit card and checks. The report states the usage of these funds was also not supported by itemized receipts or invoices.
No charges have been filed at this time. The results of the investigation have been communicated to the Office of the District Attorney General of the 9th Judicial District.
Without proper documentation, investigators could not determine whether the PTO funds were used to benefit the PTO or for personal benefit. According to the report, the former treasurer was afforded ample time to provide documentation supporting the use of funds but was either unable or unwilling to do so.
“I don’t have time to deal with now. It has been two years. Sorry, so go ahead and finish your report,” the former treasurer told the comptroller’s office in May 2020.
The individual did not seek another term as PTO treasurer during the August 2018 election.
The organization made up of volunteers uses money raised from fundraisers such as merchandise sales and advertising on school fencing to sponsor activities like teacher appreciation week, family fun nights and purchases like playground mulch.
“School support organizations in Tennessee are required by law to implement controls to safeguard funds and property. In this case, the PTO failed to provide adequate oversight and accountability of PTO funds. At a minimum, the PTO should ensure all invoices for disbursements are obtained and kept on file.”Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower