School board members: Hempstead audit shouldn’t have been leaked

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The Hempstead School Board majority members say the disclosure of a preliminary audit of the district’s books has harmed the schools’ reputation. The Hempstead School Board majority members say the disclosure of a preliminary audit of the district’s books has harmed the schools’ reputation.
HEMPSTEAD -

Some members of the Hempstead School Board say a preliminary audit that revealed possible criminal activity in the district should not have been leaked to the media.

The Hempstead School Board majority members say the disclosure of a preliminary audit of the district’s books has harmed the schools’ reputation. They say the leaked document compromises the integrity of the audit because the investigation hasn’t been completed yet.

Majority board members say they conducted their own investigation into who leaked the preliminary audit.

“Ultimately it was determined that a directive was given from the central administration office to release this report,” says School Board Member David Gates. “That directive had not been approved by the board. It was determined that the board president and vice president had received copies of this report.”

As News 12 has reported, auditors raised over a dozen concerns in the 24-page report. Those concerns included employees receiving significant amounts of overtime pay and nearly 300 payments to ex-workers.

Board President Maribel Toure and Board Member Gwen Jackson say the majority board members stalled on approving more money for the auditor to finish the investigation.

"Basically in my opinion, they're putting up barriers, they're putting up restrictions and it's so important for us to know the truth," says Jackson.

But majority members say that's not true, and Gates called the suggestion “preposterous.” The board eventually approved more money for the auditor to finish the investigation.

“We're hoping and we're really believing that once this audit has been completed that it will exonerate many of those issues, that we feel as though there has been some level of fraud,” says Gates.

The board members say they'll address the final findings of the audit when it is completed in 60 to 90 days.

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