The booster club for A.C. Flora High School’s athletic programs said Monday that an investigation by state officials has cleared its fund raising and spending practices.
“The result of the civil inquiry from the attorney general’s office is one of exoneration,” the club said in a statement released on its website. “While any organization subjected to scrutiny can improve its practices, the board of directors of the A.C. Flora High School Booster Club could not be more pleased with this report.”
“The result was as expected, and we’ll move forward stronger than ever,” the club’s new president, John McCabe said in an interview Monday with The State newspaper. “We came out stronger on the back end (of the investigation).”
The statement refers to a Aug. 7 letter to the club from Assistant Deputy Attorney General Jared Libet. He wrote that a 6-month investigation found no evidence of misappropriation or misuse of nearly $500,000 provided by the city of Forest Acres and from money raised by the club from parents of student athletes, according to the club’s statement.
But the probe highlighted four areas where the club’s bookkeeping needed improvement. Libet wrote that the club must complete recommendations made by the attorney general’s office as well as all suggestions made last year by an accounting firm the club hired.
“The process has been an expensive exercise in reassurance, and an unfortunate diversion of funds and efforts from the good works of the booster club,” the organization said in its statement.
The club’s new president, John McCabe, declined to say in an interview on Monday how much money was spent in answering questions from the attorney general’s office and two fathers of former baseball players.
The State newspaper first reported questions about the club’s practices in February after the two parents raised issues with the club’s bookkeeping and asked for access to its financial records.
The attorney general’s office said it is barred by the state’s Nonprofit Corporation Act from releasing its findings. But the office urged the booster club to disclose Libet’s letter in the spirit of transparency.
The McDowell Pearman firm’s financial analysis of the club turned up “material weaknesses and significant deficiencies in the financial accounting prractices of the booster club.”
Columbia attorney Joe McCulloch, hired by the club, said those were largely limited to unauthorized fundraisers.