State audit finds that Oklahoma City charter school superintendent may have misappropriated over $250,000

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma’s state auditor said the superintendent of a permanently closed charter school in Oklahoma City may have misappropriated more than $250,000 over a five-year period.

Cindy Byrd, Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector, released the findings of an investigative audit into Justice Alma Wilson Seeworth Academy on Tuesday.

Seeworth Academy’s school board put then-superintendent Janet Grigg in charge of the school’s finances.

“Available records show she may have misappropriated more than $250,000 between January 1, 2014 and March 4, 2019 including 31 extra payments to herself without board approval,” a news release from Byrd’s office said.

Photo goes with story
State audit data of alleged misappropriation of funds.

Grigg is also accused of underreporting her income to the Oklahoma State Department of Education an average of $49,000 each year during a five-year period, according to the Auditor & Inspector’s Office.

“Ms. Grigg acted with sole authority as the superintendent, chief financial officer, and human resources director,” Byrd said. “The result is an incredible disservice to our taxpayers and the students. School choice is important for students in Oklahoma and should be protected. However, the criminality of this cannot be ignored.”

Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, issued the following statement regarding the investigative audit:

“We thank Auditor Byrd for her diligent work initiated at our request. This is yet another example where parents, students and Oklahoma taxpayers are failed by a less-than-fully-engaged school board and loose state laws regarding charter schools. A lack of structure and accountability in state law has allowed for this apparent fraud. Charter school boards aren’t even currently required to undergo training for their fiduciary roles. We continue to call for the legislature to strengthen oversight of charters.”

JOY HOFMEISTER, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

Grigg continued driving a Seeworth-owned GMC Yukon, with a school license plate on it, as her personal vehicle after her termination, according to state officials.

“She did not turn in the vehicle to Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) with all other assets required by statute,” officials said.

OKCPS repossessed the vehicle from Grigg’s home about 10 months after she left Seeworth.

Photo goes with story
Justice Alma Wilson Seeworth Academy

Grigg is also accused of setting up an outside bank account not approved by the school board and funneling school money into it, including donations, student activity funds and general fund expenditure reimbursements. She never included the bank account in the school’s annual audited financial statements.

“Grigg used the outside bank account to misappropriate over $41,000,” Byrd said. “The scheme included improper ATM withdrawals, improper debit card purchases, and checks. She spent almost $10,000 with online retailers.”

She allegedly used the account’s debit card for $4,500 in ATM withdrawals including $2,200 at a local casino. She also made $11,500 in debit card purchases at Dillard’s, PayPal, Priceline and local convenience stores, according to state officials.

The full investigative audit can be downloaded below:

It’s also provided here:

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