By Ed Runyan
Lenny Redmond, a former Warren G. Harding High School math teacher who managed the high school’s athletic ticket sales, is charged with felony theft after school officials discovered $46,422 in missing athletics money.
The problem resulted in a finding for recovery by the Ohio Auditor’s Office, which on Thursday released its audit of the school year that ended last June 30.
The audit says Redmond was responsible for missing athletics receipts from August 2009 to October 2011. He paid back $11,384 on Oct. 31, 2011, but still owes $35,038.
Redmond, 40, of Clearview Drive Northwest, was charged with theft in Warren Municipal Court on March 27, and the case was bound over to a Trumbull County grand jury May 9. The grand jury has not yet acted on the case. He is free on $20,000 bond.
The Warren City Schools Board of Education terminated Redmond from his teaching position and supplemental position in charge of ticket sales Jan. 18, 2012.
“Too many times, people who owe us good behavior instead put their hands in the till,” Ohio Auditor Dave Yost said in a press release. “It’s a shame, it’s wrong, and it’s a crime.”
Redmond did not return a phone call to his home Thursday seeking comment.
He was first employed by the district as a teacher in 2004 and began working in the ticket office in the 2006-07 school year.
Since the theft was discovered, the school district has implemented changes in the way ticket funds are received and accounted for.
Paul Trina, Harding athletic director, said the district now requires two people to verify every receipt and every report relating to ticket sales.
One person is in charge of creating the reports, another person for making deposits.
Further, the school district treasurer’s office now receives a report on every revenue-producing event that takes place, and an internal audit is performed at the end of every season — at the end of the winter and the end of the spring, Trina said.
The fact that Redmond violated the school district’s trust in handling the job is “disappointing,” Trina said. “We’ve corrected our procedures so it won’t happen in the future.”
According to minutes of the Jan. 17, 2012, Warren City Schools Board of Education meeting, Trina discovered on Oct. 18, 2011, that Redmond failed to deposit $7,752 in athletic ticket funds that a report Redmond generated said should have been received from athletic events from Sept. 28, 2011, to Oct. 18, 2011. Trina asked Redmond on multiple occasions to verify that he had made the deposit, but Redmond never did.
Trina also discovered on Oct. 28, 2011, that $2,581 in parking funds and $573 in petty cash had been removed from a locked cabinet in the ticket office, according to the board minutes.
And on Oct. 31, 2011, Trina discovered that $2,692 in athletic funds were not deposited by Redmond. Redmond was placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 31, 2011, and a report was filed with the Warren Police Department on Nov. 1, 2011, according to the board.
The state audit says the missing money is $15,478 in cash receipts from season tickets, $23,977 in cash receipts from sporting events for which Redmond generated a ticket report, $5,068 in cash receipts from an event for which there was no ticket report, $716 missing from events for which ticket sales were incorrectly reported, and $1,183 in unspecified missing money.
Trina said all of the missing money was related to ticket sales and doesn’t know what the $1,183 refers to.