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No charges filed in credit card probe
Patrick County Schools
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By FROM BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
An investigation into the use of a Patrick County school credit card has been closed with no criminal charges filed, according to a news release.
The Patrick County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office received a complaint May 2 from county officials regarding the use of the credit card at Primland, according to the release from Patrick County Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Vipperman. The case was referred to the Virginia State Police.
Special Agent Accountant Jim Minter was assigned to the case and interviewed various witnesses, including Patrick Schools Superintendent Roger Morris and Pittsylvania County Schools Superintendent James McDaniel, the release said. Both men are members of the Region Six Superintendents Association, with Morris serving as vice chairman and McDaniel as treasurer, the release said.
The association’s annual meeting was held March 23 at Primland, a resort in Meadows of Dan. According to the release, McDaniel could not attend the meeting, so Morris used Stuart Elementary School’s credit card to pay for the meals of the superintendents at the meeting.
“The association fully reimbursed the school on March 30,” the release said.
The cost of the meals was not disclosed.
Vipperman and Minter reviewed the evidence and witness statements on June 14, and Vipperman “determined there was no criminal intent regarding the credit card transaction at Primland on March 23,” the release said.
In a statement issued in response to Vipperman’s announcement, Morris said that when he became aware on June 11 that the state police were involved in the investigation, he immediately contacted them and volunteered to be interviewed.
“To emphasize, no taxpayers’ money or money from any school was used to support this meeting,” Morris said. “This was a normal reimbursement transaction.”
According to Morris’ statement, he became aware earlier that the Patrick County Board of Supervisors had asked the county attorney to contact Vipperman’s office about the meeting. He said he shared the same information that he gave state police with two members of the board of supervisors on April 24, several weeks before he spoke with law enforcement.
“I am puzzled as to why the county supervisors involved law enforcement after members were briefed on April and shown all of the information that was provided to the state investigator,” Morris said in his statement. “Further, to my knowledge, no school board members, who have authority over this matter, were contacted by any supervisor. However, as it turns out I am grateful that they did, as it reinforces the fact that the school division continues to maintain a high level of accountability and is open to public scrutiny.”
Morris said Monday evening that he asked Vipperman to release a statement “so we could put it (the issue) to rest.” He said he hopes school and county officials now can move on with conducting the schools’ and the county’s business.