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Former Tipp athletic director faces charge 2 years after searches

TROY — A misdemeanor charge of misrepresentation by a present or former public official or employee was filed Friday in a Miami County court against former Tipp City schools’ athletic director Matt Shomper.

The charge comes more than two years after search warrants were executed at his home, car and the high school athletic department office Feb. 12, 2016.

Shomper, now 47 and a Tipp City resident, was placed on paid leave during the investigation and resigned under an agreement with the Board of Education in May 2016. He had been athletic director since 2006.

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The investigation started after a complaint filed with Tipp City police in September 2015 by Tipp City Exempted Village Schools’ Superintendent Gretta Kumpf after irregularities were found by state auditors in a district audit. The allegations included Shomper employing family members.

The investigation included local police, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the State Auditor’s Office and the Ohio Ethics Commission. When search warrants were filed, police said the investigation involved inconsistencies allegedly found in school athletic department accounts and expanded to include Shomper’s personal travel agency business. No charge was filed in relation to that business.

The charge filed by the Tipp City police alleges that on or about June 23, 2014, through May 18, 2015, Shomper, “in his capacity as a public official … did use his authority or the influence of his office to secure the approval of the Tipp City EVSD Board to hire Matt Shomper’s family members … to serve as paid workers at Tipp City EVSD sporting events.”

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The charge states the alleged actions “provided things of value which were of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon on Matt Shomper with respect to his duties as a public official.” Four people are named as those family members.

Jim Ambrose, a Kettering lawyer representing Shomper, said Friday he could not comment because he had not seen the charge and had not talked with Shomper about it.

An arraignment for Shomper was scheduled for March 20 in Miami County Municipal Court.

The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a potential penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Superintendent Kumpf said Friday there was not much the district could comment on regarding the charge.

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“I would indicate that once inconsistencies come to our attention, we are required to report. We did, right away, to local law enforcement,” she said.

School officials said in early 2017 during a public discussion with the board of education that changes were made in some money handling and hiring procedures following a finding against the district involving handling of money by the Athletic Department for events and a noncompliance finding involving Shomper’s employment of family members.

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