Who Was (Not) Minding the Store in Warwick When $72,000+ of Illegitimate Improvements Walked Out of the Budget?

In December, we learned from an ongoing WPRI Target 12 investigation that a Warwick School Department employee had been charged with five counts of misappropriating an eye-opening $72,662 to purchase tools, equipment and materials for his own house. With the house now under a purchase and sale agreement, WPRI reports that the Warwick School Department is moving to secure its financial claim, though it’s not clear whether there is enough equity in the house to cover the tax dollars lost.

The school district’s attorney filed a Writ of Attachment about three weeks after the house went under contract, asking the court to order “security” for the district’s claims to the money used to buy the “items and supplies.”

Two things stick out here.

1.) The depth of greed on display by someone who apparently wasn’t satisfied with receiving $100,000/year plus generous benefits but had to – allegedly – supplement his publicly-funded compensation with various home improvement tools and materials also funded from the public coffers.

2.) It appears that all of these allegedly illegitimate purchases were not made in one day. Who was minding the store in the Warwick School Department while this went on? Why didn’t this get stopped at the first purchase? Is this laxness indicative of the attitude that elected officials and public employees have towards hard-earned tax dollars? If so, it is egregiously unacceptable and only underscores the case to cut taxes and cut the size of government as clearly our officials are not capable of handling its current scope.

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