Details of Timpview High audit revealed

Football coach suspended

Published: Wednesday, March 14 2012 12:38 p.m. MDT

Read more: Timpview coach Louis Wong vows to fight suspension as supporters charge to his defense

PROVO — A state audit of financial practices at Timpview High School indicates a much more widespread problem than just issues related to the school's football program.

In fact, the state's auditor who oversaw the examination recommended that the Provo School Board "undertake a thorough examination of all school activity accounts by engaging an independent auditor and legal counsel."

On Tuesday, the district suspended Timpview's head football coach Louis Wong without pay pending termination. He does have the right to a hearing on the action within 15 days. Otherwise, he'll be fired in 30 days.

Acting Superintendent Bob Gentry said the investigation by the Provo School District is ongoing and other personnel could face disciplinary action for their roles in questionable financial transactions.

Supporters of Wong and parents are expected to be at tonight's regularly scheduled school board meeting.

In the audit, which was released at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, state officials point out that while the district and school appear to have sufficient safeguards and policies governing financial transactions, there doesn't appear to be adequate oversight to ensure compliance of those rules.

"The unusual accounting practices and lax internal control environment at THS exhibit all the characteristics of an environment susceptible to errors, misappropriations, and waste or abuse," CPA Natalie Grange wrote in the audit letter. "There appears to have been an intentional and willful disregard by certain PSD employees at THS for compliance with appropriate practices and PSD policies."

Grange's letter also points out that some of these issues were reported to the Provo School District's Board of Education in its Oct. 11, 2011, meeting, "and many of the issues appear to remain unresolved."

Auditors took samples from 14 Timpview accounts, including that of its administration, and sampled 90 transactions — or roughly 22 percent of the expenditures of those accounts. They separated football and drivers education accounts — both of which Wong oversees — and sampled 11 percent of those expenditures or 85 items.

The auditor then pointed out "questionable or unusual expenditures."

Some notable examples:

 Personal reimbursement for former principal George Bayles' spouse for $358 in airfare.

 Personal reimbursement for airfare and hotel to a vendor-sponsored football game in Florida. Player was not paid for by Timpview, while principal and assistant principal were.

 Reimbursement for Bayles' spouse for a hotel room for an assessment conference in Atlanta that Timpview administrators attended. Bayles was compensated $801.30, while the other hotel room charges were $686.55, "which may represent an additional charge for the weekend, after the rest of the staff had returned to Utah. No explanation provided."

 Reimbursements for food, clothing and gifts for coaches that totaled $1,265.17. Those included shrimp cocktail, hot dogs, drinks and bulk candy.

 Personal reimbursements for meals during summer football camps for which coaches were being paid by another entity. One of those was a summer camp in Price that totaled $910.66, while another was a little league summer football camp that totaled $1,083.85.

 Personal reimbursement for a football vendor golf tournament totaling $200.

 Reimbursements for personal repairs to Wong's vehicles totaling $759.84. No sales tax was paid on those repairs as they were processed through the school's account.

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