November 15, 2017 03:52 PM
The former superintendent of the Shakopee school district has been arrested, Shakopee police say.
Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate announced that Rod Thompson, who resigned in June amidst scrutiny over his use of a district credit card, was booked into Scott County Jail Tuesday.
Formal charges were filed Tuesday afternoon.
Thompson faces six felony counts of theft by swindle, 13 felony counts of embezzlement of public funds and two counts of receiving stolen property - one a felony and one a misdemeanor.
"This was not a one or two time 'I accidentally used district credit card instead of my own,'" Tate said. "There is a distinct pattern here over the last five years of him using that card for personal purchases."
A release from police alleged Thompson used his district-issued credit card to purchase 305 items for personal use including airfare and hotel stays, various electronic devices, tickets to the Grand Ole Opry, sports decor and memorabilia, alcohol flasks, jewelry and cowboy boots.
The release also alleges Thompson committed fraud with his contractual adoption benefit. Over five years, the release claims, the investigation revealed $73,642.26 in fraudulent purchases and reimbursements. A group of concerned parents shared their suspicions with investigators, after the school board reported a $4.5 million budget shortfall last spring and cited "human error."
According to the official complaint, Thompson's transgressions included allegedly telling the school board there would be no expense to the district for travel to Washington D.C. and New Orleans for the Urban Superintendents Academy. Thompson is reported to have claimed the costs would be covered by grant.
However, the complaint alleges he put the cost for 10 trips total on his district P-Card, charges that amounted to $13,448.71.
Thompson has a bail hearing in Scott County Wednesday. His attorney, Peter Wold, said he will have something to say at that hearing.
The Shakopee school district also issued a statement on Thompson's arrest Tuesday:
"The allegations surrounding former Superintendent Thompson have taken their toll on the entire staff and community," the statement read in part. "They are not only disturbing, but, if true, clearly reflect inappropriate conduct. Over the summer, the Shakopee School Board voted to terminate the district’s contractual relationship with Thompson, effective June 30, 2017.
"The district has taken several steps in both policy and procedure to prevent future action by any employee similar to those alleged to have occurred with the former superintendent. The newly established Citizens’ Financial Advisory Committee will help evaluate, guide and improve the overall fiscal condition of the district and the revised Purchase Card manual will help improve the district’s system of “checks and balances” as well as accountability.
"The district remains focused on its mission of being “Education Forward” and delivering the best educational services for the students of Shakopee. We’re hoping today’s developments are another step for healing and continuing to move forward for our entire staff and community.
"As the case progresses, we are committed to cooperating with authorities."
Frank Rajkowski and Beth McDonough
Updated: November 15, 2017 03:52 PM
Created: November 14, 2017 01:49 PM
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