DALLAS - The chief internal auditor for Dallas ISD is accusing administrators of trying to cover up wrongdoing and brought his concerns to the school board on Tuesday.
Steven Martin did it as the district contemplated what he considered a premature review of his audit plan.
"As a federal investigator for 24 years I understand when a case against defendant is air tight defense attorneys investigate the investigator. I feel this is happening now,” Martin said.
During his first year as the district's chief internal auditor, he's wasted no time uncovering wasteful spending.
“Internal audit has been highly effective showing the district disregarded state law when it came to Job Order Contracts or JOC’s for 4 years and potentially overpaid for the work,” Martin said.
Two of his audits found the district overpaid $330,000 to contractors, but he says that's just the beginning.
“We estimate over payments on only nine contracts at $1.7 million. There are over 400 JOC’s,” Martin said.
In an email Martin sent to a school board candidate responding to her questions about the audits, he described a hypothetical worst case scenario.
"If the average overpayment of the 447 contracts is $150,000, the total loss to the District would be over $67 million.”
Last month, the superintendent proposed raising the threshold for investigating fraud to $250,000.
In the same email, Martin wrote: "I believe these proposed changes are nothing more that the administration’s attempt at a cover up.”
In a statement, the district said changes were made in response to the audit findings including a program being disbanded.
"...many of the individuals cited in the audits no longer are employed by the district. In addition, Dallas ISD has established the Procurement Compliance Committee that meets regularly with the superintendent and Board of Trustees regarding compliance priorities.”
Last month, trustee Dustin Marshall said on Facebook that the matter was referred to federal law enforcement. But Martin said Tuesday, the feds were not the right agency to investigate.
“We recommended referring this to the district attorney’s office. These are state violations not federal. There is nothing secret to this. I am not a whistleblower. I am the Chief Internal Auditor,” Martin said.
Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis said he felt blindsided by the auditor's statements.
“I have not once been contacted by internal auditor to discuss any of this. Probably most unprofessional acts that I have ever seen in seven years on school board,” Solis said.
The school board spent hours in closed session today discussing the chief auditor’s job. In the end, they did not take any action.