School employees using taxpayer money for spa trips? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

School employees using taxpayer money for spa trips?

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SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - An investigation is going on to determine if there is credit card abuse happening within the Cleveland County school district.

Danny Blanton says he received thousands of receipts from the district of 22 school administrators spending habits. He claims all the purchases were not for school use but instead personal use.

"Groceries, going out to eat, tires," Blanton said. "Bought clothing and there have been checks written back to the county for that misuse - maybe part of it, have they done it all the time - I can't answer that."

Blanton does want the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) to answer that question. It is investigating. SBI would not comment on the investigation nor say when it will be complete.

In the meantime, Blanton has a receipt of a worker traveling to the Grove Park Inn and getting a spa treatment for nearly $250.

"They are using the Cleveland County taxpayer money like a bank." Blanton said.

He also has receipts of other purchases ranging from Bojangles to Walmart. A spokesperson from the school district claims there is no wrongdoing. She says all the purchases were justified. She also added if administrators did purchase something for their personal use, they paid the money back to the district.

The district said it tried to answer all of Blanton's questions, but he wasn't satisfied. So he took the matter to the District Attorney.

"If you are not no more responsible for that credit card they gave you," Blanton said. "You don't need that credit card."

On some receipts people wrote down the purpose they purchased the items and other receipts there was nothing written down. The district says that is not unusual. Blanton has receipts dating back to 2007 and he thinks someone should review those receipts with a fine tooth comb.

"There should be some restitution made," Blanton said. "Because we are talking about many of thousands of dollars that I think have been misused."

While Blanton waits for the investigation to finish, the school district has changed the way it does business.

Before the district had about 140 credit cards floating around for staff to use, now the district cut that number down to about 50.

WBTV reached out to the District Attorney and school board members for comment, but they have not responded.

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