News

No further action in case of missing PTA gift cards

KINGSTON — The investigation into missing gift cards from the Gordon Elementary PTA is over.

The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office issued a “decline” notice at the end of April, according to Deputy Scott Wilson, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

The Prosecutor’s Office found “insufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt” to continue, according to Wilson.

Calls to the deputy prosecuting attorney responsible for the case were not returned by deadline.

According to Cindy Kleinfelter, the Region 1 director for the Washington State PTA, the prosecuting attorney did not press charges.

“So no one was arrested for the crime,” she wrote to the North Kitsap Herald.

In addition, no one on the Gordon PTA board is pursuing civil action, according to Kleinfelter.

The sheriff’s investigation into the PTA’s finances began when Gordon PTA board members gave the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department financial records, text messages and other information related to a possible theft of PTA funds.

A detective from the sheriff’s office studied the information to determine if the disarray in financial records showed evidence of criminal intent or careless bookkeeping.

Gordon PTA board members went to the sheriff’s office in Silverdale on Feb. 13 after 10 a.m. to meet with a sheriff’s deputy. The reporting party was Ryan Black, Gordon PTA’s vice president. Also present were Marta Michalski, president; Tanya Guest, treasurer; and Lindsey Still, secretary.

Black told the deputy she asked a then-member of the PTA board for financial reports in January, because she wanted to see where the PTA was financially, according to the sheriff’s report. Black said the member told her “there may be a problem with the financial reports.” The member later resigned and reimbursed the PTA $9,000, Black said, according to the sheriff’s report.

The PTA board found the books in such disarray there was no realistic way of knowing where it stood financially, Wilson said the sheriff’s department was told.

The request for a sheriff’s department investigation followed approximately a month of investigation by the PTA board, including a financial review by a PTA panel that was overseen by the state PTA’s regional director.

A sheriff’s detective met with people from the school and PTA, but “a suspect” declined to participate in the investigation and no arrests were made, Wilson said.

The possible theft in question mainly surrounded Scrip gift cards — a service that allows PTAs to purchase gift cards at discount and sells them for a small profit.

All of the remaining missing Scrip cards were returned to Scrip for a refund, according to Kleinfelter.

The PTA is no longer using the Scrip fundraising program, according to Kleinfelter.

The PTA has also set up a better financial monitoring system.

“Procedures are in place to ensure that a checks [and] balance system is used for monitoring financial activity,” Kleinfelter wrote.

 

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