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HSV school board approves forensic audit of non-profit

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A forensic audit was proposed to determine what happened to $40,000 in grant money provided to a non-profit established by County Commissioner Bob Harrison. A forensic audit was proposed to determine what happened to $40,000 in grant money provided to a non-profit established by County Commissioner Bob Harrison.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Huntsville school leaders voted unanimously Thursday to approve a resolution requesting a forensic audit on some $40,000 awarded to a local non-profit. They also revealed they have turned the matter over to the Alabama Attorney General after uncovering more evidence of questionable practices.

The money was awarded to a non-profit organization helping at-risk kids called the Northwest Huntsville Community Service Organization, established by Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison.

An internal memo obtained by WAFF says the non-profit isn't what it seemed. Now, Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski said he's past this being just an ethical issue – he said it is now a legal matter.

"A school system is not a piggy bank for adults," said Wardynski. "A school system has resources taxpayers provide for kids, and that seems to have been forgotten again. It appears through strong evidence from the face of those documents that those grants and that grantee were ineligible for those grants."

"We have a responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayer money, so when it looks suspicious, we feel like we need to turn it over to the proper authorities and let them investigate it," said school board president David Blair. "It could come back that there was nothing wrong with it, but those agencies are there to look at these types of things.

School officials began digging, and found yet another document, one they said is even more telling. "In that document is the director of the program that received those funds, and in it that director states funds were misappropriated, misapplied; that there was a malfeasance," said Dr. Wardynski.

Wardynski said the board will look for the recovery of those funds. "These funds were for kids. They were for distribution to non-profit, non-governmental entities. That's where they need to be," he said.

"Today we learned the Boys & Girls Club had to re-trench a little bit. They would have been a candidate for those funds back in 2008. They didn't get these funds because a governmental entity may have gotten these funds," he continued.

Commissioner Harrison was not present at the meeting; he was holding a community meeting on education at the Harrison Center.

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