HUTSONVILLE, IL. (ECWd) -
To start off with, Mr. Monte Newlin, Superintendent of the Regional Office of Education #12, fresh off of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy only a few short years ago, and since then has been caught using the ROE credit card for personal purchases.
Previous to his position as Superintendent of ROE#12 he was the High School Principal in Hutsonville, IL.
The significance of this will be discussed below.
The Illinois Auditor General conducted an audit on ROE#12, released in June of 2016, for the year ending June 30, 2015 (here), which is the most recent audit available on the Auditor General's website.
On page 12 of its audit findings, the IAG found improper use of public credit cards for personal purchases of Mr. Newlin. He apparently had possession of two ROE credit cards and decided to use them for personal purchases (which he reimbursed later).
"The ROE has six (6) credit cards, two (2) of which are used by the Regional Superintendent. During our testing of ROE credit card expenditures, we found personal expenses of the Regional Superintendent charged to both cards at various times throughout the year. These expenses were paid in full by the Regional Superintendent with personal checks written to the credit card companies. The ROE maintained copies of the personal checks and the related charge receipts with the credit card statements. Personal expenses charged to each of the cards in fiscal year 2015 amounted to $1,562 and $669, for a total of $2,231. "
The auditor found improper use of ROE credit cards, and then asked the ROE for a response, which (unsurprisingly) was:
"The Regional Office of Education No. 12 did not realize that this was not an acceptable practice as the Regional Superintendent paid all personal expenses when the credit card payment was due."
He claims didn't know he couldn't use the ROE credit cards for personal purchases and pay it back later. Does anyone actually believe this response?
As a former High School principal, teacher, guidance counselor, community college teacher, and village trustee, he had to have known thru experience that use of public credit and public money for personal reasons was a violation of law. He had to have known that thru his previous employment. But now when it is convenient for him - he claims ignorance of the law and Illinois Constitution - and the auditor bought it?
This is why auditors for a public body must be made mandatory reporters for suspected criminal activity such as this. Public auditors should be mandated to turn this information over to the prosecutor for potential prosecution. All the years he worked in the school system and other public offices and he claims to not know he can't use a public credit card for his personal purchases? What a joke.
His history of the recent bankruptcy was probably the real reason he used the public credit card instead of a personal one (if he could even obtain one that soon after bankruptcy).
A good prosecutor, wanting to keep public officials honest, and wanting to lower the tax burden on taxpayers, would prosecute this for the alleged felonies they appear to be, and since they would have been committed during the course of his employment, claw back any retirement payments and cancel his retirement package. Do this a couple times around this state and people will start paying attention to how their selfish actions could impact their retirements.
See page 12 for the findings:
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