Tipp City school leaders said changes were made in procedures after State Auditors reviewing 2015 finances issued an audit finding involving handling of money collected by the Athletic Department for athletic events and a noncompliance finding involving the former athletic director’s employment of family members.

The latter finding involving alleged nepotism was referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission, according to the audit management letter signed by State Auditor David Yost.

The audit of the district’s books for 2015 and state auditor’s reports were finalized late last year and reviewed with the Board of Education by Treasurer Dave Stevens and Superintendent Gretta Kumpf on Jan. 9.

“We did not have a clean audit because of some issues we had in our athletic fund,” Stevens told the board. “That has been cleaned up with the new (athletic) director.”

Stevens said he and Kumpf met with the new Athletic Director JD Foust to discuss ticket taking procedures and cash collection reconciliations.

“He is in full agreement with what we have told him,” he said. “I do not expect to see this comment again, at least starting with fiscal year ‘17 audit. I am not sure what will come out with fiscal year ’16.”

Former district Athletic Director Matt Shomper was put on administrative leave Feb. 12, 2016, after search warrants were executed at his Tippecanoe High School office, his home and his car.

The warrants were part of the investigation of a complaint filed with Tipp City police in September 2015 by Kumpf after irregularities were found by state auditors in the district audit.

An investigation is being conducted by agencies including the auditor’s office, ethics commission and others. No charges have been filed. Shomper left the district last year after 10 years as athletic director.

The board later hired Foust.

The state audit finding is listed as a material weakness. It reads as follows:

During the fiscal year 2015, the Athletic Department collected money for entry to the district’s athletic events. However, tickets were not utilized at the time of sale. After the athletic events were over, the ticket takers provided the cash collected to the Athletic Director without performing reconciliation between tickets issued and cash collected.

“The Athletic Director created reconciliation sheets by pulling tickets that agreed to the cash collection in order to support the amount turned over to the treasurer for deposit into the district’s bank account. The reconciliation sheets were maintained on file for audit. We were unable to determine during audit if the cash deposited agreed to actual ticket sales and therefore were unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support the $423,099 of extracurricular activities revenue reported in Other Governmental Funds.”

The auditors suggested policies to correct the situation. Failure to implement change would increase risk of theft, they said.

In the official response, the district said:

“Procedures for athletic events gate revenue require each ticket seller to reconcile the cash they collected to the tickets they sold. The first ticket on their roll is attached to a reconciliation form before any tickets are sold. After ticket sales are completed, the next unsold ticket is attached to the reconciliation form. Any variance between cash collected and tickets sold are documented on the form. The ticket seller must sign the form and turn everything over to the athletic director. The athletic director will perform a second reconciliation and document any variance noted on the form. Once completed, the Athletic Director will sign the form.”

The discussion on the hiring of family members by the former athletic director was addressed in the audit management letter. The letter includes recommendations for changes to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, grant agreements, contract provisions and internal controls.

The district noncompliance findings included the state law section that says no public official should knowingly employ family members:

“During 2015 the Athletic Director employed members of his family as ticket takers for district athletic events as well as OHSAA events. The Athletic Director was the only individual who approved timesheets for family members. There was no indication that the Athletic Director offered the position of ticket taker to individuals other than the athletic secretary unless a member of his family or the athletic secretary was unable to make the scheduled event. Policies should be established and procedures implemented to provide that district officials do not use their influence or position to secure pay for family members or associates.” This issue was referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission.

Stevens said the concern about nepotism has been addressed with a new athletic director and hiring procedures in place.

The district’s audit for 2016 is now under way. Groundwork for that audit was done but the audit could not begin until the 2015 audit was finalized, Stevens said. “Hopefully we can get it done in a much more timely manner,” he said.