An outside auditor for the Minneapolis school district has concluded that checks written by the treasurer of the parent-teacher organization at Green Central Park Community School were fraudulent.
Auditor Barry Rogers said that a total of $3,060 in “possibly abusive payments” were written by treasurer Mary Ann Robinson, although she returned most of the money after the audit began.
Robinson tells a different story. She said that she segregated in her Wells Fargo account money reserved for various projects that the PTO had discussed. “I needed to do what was convenient for me,” she said of that decision.
She also attributed the monetary dispute to differences she had with the school’s former principal and family liaison over proper use of federal poverty aid, to cross-language communication difficulties at the dominantly Latino school, and to a brain illness that she said causes her memory problems.
She said that she was drafted reluctantly into the treasurer role, didn’t have any background in bookkeeping, and wasn’t given any training.
“I feel they set me up. Now I look like the bad guy,” she said. She also accused the school of illegally opening mail from the bank and addressed to her that arrived at the Central neighborhood school.
The audit found that Robinson made what appeared to be restitution payments, but was still $160 short. Robinson said that she has not yet paid the remaining funds, which were due by mid-June.
Robert Doty, the district’s chief financial officer, said that the district has not referred the findings of the audit to authorities for potential prosecution.  He said that the findings were reported to the Green Central PTO, which is not affiliated with the state PTA organization. Efforts to contact the PTO leadership through the school were unsuccessful.
Doty also said the district hasn’t billed the PTO for the cost of the audit, deciding that the district will eat it because it's  within the scope of the district’s “audit universe.”