|Updated: 2/06/2009 10:25 am
||Published: 2/05/2009 10:32 pm
(Thursday, February 5, 2009 5:30 pm by Kaci Christian, FOX23.com, Tulsa OK) – We continue to follow breaking news this evening, as Broken Arrow Police executed a search warrant today to obtain records from the Broken Arrow School District. And a fire at a local storage unit is also being investigated in connection with allegations against the school board and a local heating and air conditioning company, Air Assurance. FOX 23’s Kaci Christian is here now with more.
“The Broken Arrow School Board has been facing accusations of impropriety for several months now,” reports FOX 23’s Kaci Christian, “but this started as much as ten years ago, in connection with allegations that the BA School Board failed to follow competitive bidding practices.”
But let’s go back to August of 2008:
Superintendent Dr. Jim Sisney requested an audit, expressing concerns about possible misuse of funds. Sisney says the board issued a gag order and refused to authorize funds for an investigation.
Sisney responded in September with a lawsuit against three board members, Flippo, Whelpley and Wilkins.
The board voted to suspend Sisney with a 3-2 vote. Outraged taxpayers led by Broken Arrow businessman, John Lare, launched an effort to recall the three board members and have a grand jury investigate.
In November, Sisney was fired by a vote of 3-2, and Gary Gerber named interim superintendent. Meanwhile, not enough signatures were gathered to convene a grand jury or recall the board members.
And in December, Broken Arrow Police began investigating allegations against the board.
Last month, Air Assurance publicly denied accusations of bypassing competitive bidding practices.
And a member of the State House Oversight Committee, Rep. Mike Reynolds, demanded last week that the board respond to charges of the district’s improperly paying employees for unused sick pay, naming Gary Gerber as someone who had received those payments.
And that brings us to today, with the latest that a fire* that reportedly destroyed Air Assurance documents may have been intentionally set, and police executing a search warrant this morning to seize records at the school district.
*The fire occurred around 4 am at EGI Storage near Aspen Ave (145th East Ave) and the Broken Arrow Expressway (Hwy 64/51) in Broken Arrow. Police and firefighters are also investigating whether this fire was arson.