Cozad, 47, faces eight misdemeanor charges, including four counts of illegal transaction of public funds and four counts of dereliction of duty, according to Xenia court records. Carpenter, board member Virginia Slouffman and past board members Liz Betz and Kathy Kingston were charged with one count each of illegal transaction of public funds and dereliction of duty.
Cozad released a statement of his own through his lawyer James Fleisher, who said that similar issues involving public funds are “invariably” addressed through administrative recovery and not through criminal prosecution.
“The abrupt and unexpected action by the State Auditor to file criminal charges in a case of this nature is more than unusual,” Fleisher said. “To our knowledge, it has never happened before.”
All five are due to be arraigned on Nov. 17.
Both Carpenter and Slouffman will continue in their roles on the board. However, they will be recused from “discussion and voting on these legal matters,” per the school board statement.