A state audit has found over $121,000 raised by a booster club for the Des Moines Lincoln football program was improperly handled.
Deputy State Auditor, Warren Jenkins, says they found problems in two areas. The first was over $83,000 raised in advertising sales. “That money was going to a private, non-district bank account rather than being deposited to the school district as it was required to be,” Jenkins says. “We had access to the account, we know what the money was used for. It appeared that at least the majority of it was used to support the football program. But again, it was not handled in accordance with district policy.”
That money was deposited in an account of a football parent. Another chunk of money from the sale of discount coupons was also mishandled.
“In that area — we found approximately 37-thousand dollars — that was collected, but we do not know where it was deposited and we do not know where it ended up,” Jenkins explains.
The request for the audit came after former head football coach Tom Mihalovich and two of his assistants were fired last October. The auditor’s report says the money was raised primarily by the daughter of Mihalovich, and he handled the invoices and deposits.
Jenkins says it is not uncommon for school districts to run into some problems in handling money in the right way, but this instance is unusual. “We have occasionally found similar problems in other districts, but I don’t recall anything of the magnitude that we reported on in Lincoln,” Jenkins says.
He says even though most of the money went for it’s intended purpose, it is still important that the money be handled properly to prevent any misuse. “People contribute with an expectation that it’s going to be used for a specific purpose. And unless it is clearly labeled as a booster club activity, most donors expect that it is going to the school district and it will be subject to the controls that the district has on the money and the collection,” Jenkins explains.
The audit has been forwarded to the DCI, Attorney General and Polk County Attorney.
See the full audit report here: Lincoln audit PDF