DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A report released Wednesday by Iowa’s state auditor says Des Moines Public Schools made more than $200,000 in improper payments to a district maintenance and projects specialist and a maintenance contractor over the last seven years.
The report said school funds were used to reimburse contractor Ja-Ra Enterprises for costs of various school repair and construction projects from 2013 to February 2020. But auditors determined that many of the purchases included items that were not necessary or reasonable for the projects and personal in nature — including purchases of clothes, snack foods, electronic items, ammunition and cigarettes that went to district project facilitator specialist William Joseph Hinrichs and Ja-Ra contractor Kevin Kurth.
The audit was requested by the school district over concerns about questionable financial transactions, State Auditor Rob Sand said in the report.
Neither Hinrichs nor Kurth could be reached for comment Wednesday. The audit said Hinrichs declined to speak with investigators and that auditors were unable to reach Kurth for comment.
The report recommends that the school district improve its internal controls, including requiring that all invoices include detailed documents. Sand said the report has been sent to Des Moines police, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Polk County Attorney’s Office and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.