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Robbinsdale Schools faces state audit of district's financials

Updated: October 31, 2019 10:14 PM

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has learned the state auditor is now reviewing the financials of the Robbinsdale School District after the district reported an $8.5 million deficit in 2018 and a citizens' petition was filed requesting a full audit.

Sources told KSTP part of the audit will include a review of a potential conflict of interest with Robbinsdale School Board Chairperson John Vento and his ties with a company that has business contracts with the school district.

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Vento lists his job as a sales representative with Sourcewell Technology, which recently acquired another company called TIES.

Vento became Robbinsdale School Board chairperson in 2017. Since then, TIES and Sourcewell have received technology contracts with Robbinsdale Schools for more than $3 million.

Vento did not respond to repeated requests for an interview and when KSTP went to his home an unidentified woman answered the door and said "we are aware of the audit and the state auditor has to do their job."

That same woman appeared to ask Vento if he wanted to talk to KSTP and he seemed to decline, because the woman said he was not interested in talking at the moment.

Jim Ramlet is a citizen who helped organize a petition drive, which received more than 2,000 signatures asking the State Auditor's Office to conduct a full review of the district's financials.

Ramlet said several members of the citizens' group met with the Auditor's Office and a full audit has since commenced and it is expected to be done by the end of the year.

"My confidence in the district is starting to wane, because it keeps running a budget deficit," said Ramlet. "We all just want to know what the problems are and we want to get them fixed."

The State Auditor's Office didn't confirm or deny the existence of any specific audit.

The Robbinsdale School District has not yet responded to KSTP's request for an interview.

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Credits

Jay Kolls

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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