Theft, embezzlement charges investigated at La Vernia ISD

Parents: LVISD superintendent has failed to act

La VERNIA, Texas – A Wilson County grand jury may soon hear accusations of theft and embezzlement in the La Vernia School District.

One group of parents said financial impropriety and other problems have been going on for a while and the district has ignored them.

Jennifer Moczygemba is one parent who said thousands of dollars from a school activity fund has disappeared.

"I've got clear evidence of embezzlement," Moczygemba said.

Parent Garrett Comeaux is concerned as well and said the district has not taken enough action.

"There seems to be clear evidence of fraud," Comeaux said.

They say La Vernia ISD is in trouble and that Superintendent Dr. Tom Harvey has ignored the warning signs.

"We've had a drug addicted teacher in the system. We've had a principal commit suicide. We have an embezzlement investigation ongoing," Moczygemba said.

She presented evidence showing a check written to Michelle Brandt for around $1,100 from a school activity account was actually cashed by Joe Felan. A purchase order for Odyssey of the Mind program expenditures for around $1,100 was also cashed by Felan.

And no one seems to know who he is or how he got those checks.

Again, Comeaux blames Harvey.

"Allegations of fraud were reported to him as early as November of 2009," Comeaux said. "So he took no action."

The group also questions the school district's purchase of a parcel of land for more than $800,000. That money went into the pocket of a high ranking school district official.

The land was owned by Ed and Laura Ramzinski. Laura Ramzinski is the school district official who signed off on the purchase Director of Finance. The Texas Education Agency suggested she declare a conflict of interest.

"Because this was an employee she had nothing to say in the vote," Harvey said. "She didn't make a recommendation on the vote."

Harvey said the land was bought simply for its location. And he said allegations of financial impropriety have been turned over to the proper authorities.

"When we found what we felt was questionable activity, we turned it over to the police," Harvey said.

And he said he did it promptly.

La Vernia police are still investigating the allegations of misappropriation of funds and expect to send a case to the grand jury this summer.

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