Talawanda, ex-AD signed separation deal after missing money report

The Ohio Auditor has released a report citing the former athletic director of Talawanda Schools as responsible for more than $5,300 in missing ticket revenue money.
The Ohio Auditor has released a report citing the former athletic director of Talawanda Schools as responsible for more than $5,300 in missing ticket revenue money.

A former athletic director for Talawanda Schools was responsible for a shortage of more than $5,300 in school money, according to a state audit, but a separation agreement obtained by the Journal-News from the district calls for no repayment.

Jamie Mahaffey, who resigned in September 2015 from the Butler County school system, was cited in an Ohio Auditor’s report for not depositing the entire amount of ticket revenue from 71 high school athletic events from August 2014 to April 2015.

Mahaffey, however, faces no criminal charges.

According to Ohio Auditor David Yost, “The district collected $62,388 in ticket revenue from 71 high school athletic events from August 2014 to April 2015, but the amount deposited in the school district’s bank account totaled only $57,075 – a shortage of $5,313.”

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Talawanda officials declined to comment when asked if the district sought the repayment of the missing funds, saying the statement “we have shared is what we can legally share.”

But according to information obtained by the Journal-News throught Ohio public records laws, school officials and Mahaffey signed a separation agreement, stating in the document, “There is mutual interest by both parties to amicably wind down employee’s employment with the (school) board.”

The agreement, which was approved by the Talawanda school board in September 2015, required Mahaffey to resign in exchange for release from “any and all liability.”

Moreover, the agreement stipulates neither Mahaffey nor school officials will make any disparaging public remarks regarding one another or the situation.

“It is understood that the execution of this agreement does not constitute an admission of fault or liability of any kind whatsoever by any party,” the document stated.

Mahaffey could not be reached to comment and did not respond to online solicitations for comment.

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“More eyes mean fewer financial discrepancies,” Yost said. “By adding an extra one or two people to the review process, every organization can vastly improve its odds of catching errors and preventing fraud before it’s too late.”

Officials at the Auditor’s Office declined to comment further.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said that his office has twice investigated Mahaffey, and said his staff found “no prosecutable offense.”

“I do not consider him (Mahaffey) to be a suspect in any crime,” said Gmoser, who added that written notes pertaining to ticket revenue record keeping were inconclusive.

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Mahaffey was in charge of counting ticket revenue and preparing ticket sales reports for the events. On May 22, 2015, the district placed him on administrative leave and later identified an additional shortage of $437 from the athletic department’s change fund, the district’s source of change for ticket purchases at athletic events.

Auditors issued $5,750 in findings for recovery against Mahaffey, who resigned from the district on Sept. 9, 2015.

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The 2,900-student district has an annual operating budget of $32 million.

Mahaffey is a former Miami University basketball player who played for the school from 1991 to 1995.

Talawanda officials released a statement regarding the state audit referring to the finding as “a personnel issue from the 2014-15 school-year.”

“The district became aware that some procedures established by the Talawanda Treasurer’s office were not being followed by the athletic director (at that time) relative to event ticket sales/management in the athletic department. The Talawanda treasurer conducted the initial internal audit of the Talawanda High School gate receipts for fiscal year 2015 and then reported the findings to the Ohio Auditor of State as required by law.

“The Talawanda School District received clean audits for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. The issue appearing in the most recent audit released by the Ohio State Auditor is an isolated incident, discovered through established checks and balances in the Talawanda School District,” said district officials.

“The former athletic director was put on administrative leave as a result of the findings in the investigation. At a later date he resigned from his position,” said officials.