Como Park High School athletic director Mike W. Searles is under investigation for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from athletic ticket sales over several years, according to police and court documents.
Searles, 47, allegedly failed to account for $119,520 in ticket sales starting in 2009, and he charged $2,300 in personal expenses to his district "purchase card," said a search warrant affidavit filed Friday in Ramsey County District Court.
Authorities executed a search warrant on Searles' bank account last week and searched his Dellwood home Thursday, confiscating financial records and more than one computer, said Searles' attorney, Phil Villaume.
"He's denying any and all misconduct, either at the school level or criminally, and he intends to zealously defend his reputation as an excellent educator," Villaume said Friday.
No arrests have been made, no charges have been filed and St. Paul police have said there are no other suspects in the case.
Searles was placed on unpaid administrative leave from the School District in December, when school officials discovered the alleged financial discrepancy, Villaume said.
The district conducted its own investigation and then contacted police, according to Villaume.
Police spokesman Steve Linders said school officials notified police on March 8.
"This will be a complex investigation that will take several weeks," Linders said, adding that investigators are following the money and paper trail.
According to the search warrant executed on his bank account March 10: Searles has been the athletic director at Como Park since 2009. In that time, he reported athletic ticket sales of $141,731 but only deposited $22,211 in the school's athletic budget account.
The rest — $119,520 — is unaccounted for.
A review of Searles' bank activity at City and County Credit Union showed a "repeated pattern of cash deposits," the search warrant affidavit said. Between June 1, 2015, and Sept. 16, 2015, Searles allegedly made 31 cash deposits into the account totaling $16,945. The deposits each ranged from $100 to $2,000.
Villaume said he couldn't address the allegations more specifically, because he hasn't seen the results of the police investigation, which is ongoing, and hasn't had a chance to conduct his own investigation.
"It's premature for me to comment on any law enforcement investigation or school district investigation," he said.
It's unclear why the financial discrepancy wasn't discovered sooner. Villaume said he believes school officials recently conducted an audit that led to the investigation.
The search warrant affidavit states that at one point, the district confronted Searles about the personal purchases on the district card, and he repaid $580 toward the total sum.
Searles' annual salary is approximately $94,000, according to St. Paul schools.
After he was placed on leave in St. Paul, Searles worked as a substitute teacher in the South Washington County School District until this month, Villaume said.
Staff writer Beena Raghavendran contributed to this report.