CFO Explains Why EPISD Paid for Overpriced Posters
POSTED: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 5:33pm
UPDATED: Friday, August 12, 2011 - 3:31pm
EL PASO- Too much trust in district employees may have allowed the superintendent to allegedly scheme hundreds of thousands of dollars from EPISD.
Today, NewsChannel 9 asked the CFO of the district how a contract this large passed with so little scrutiny. How could a nearly half a million dollar contract for posters and training make it past district staff?
The CFO of the El Paso School District, Kenneth Parker says, “”At this particular time there was more trust in the department that they would do the research and due diligence to make sure it was a legitimate purchase.”
Indicted superintendent Lorenzo Garcia allegedly conspired with a business owner to defraud the EPISD. The district paid a Houston based company called Infinity Resources $360,000 for posters and the training to use them. But the district says no one knew that Garcia had a personal financial interest in the company and no one asked any questions.
“The department developed what they wanted to purchase, they even issued a purchase order and they receive the goods. So it was all basically handled in one department and doesn't have the checks and balances in place that it does today,” says Parker.
And with only one department looking over such an expensive purchase, there was more room for error.
“The memo from the vendor stating that it was copyrighted materials those types of things look like a legitimate transaction and it’s very easy to see how this transaction could have been processed,” says Parker.
Even after spending big bucks for these posters, it still cost the district even more money to make them.
“The materials were going to be reproduced by the districts media center and distributed to campuses within EPISD,” says Parker.
Parker says they still don't know how much was spent printing.
Kenneth Parker also added that he obviously wishes this hadn't happened but he told us that this incident will not have a negative impact on the students in the EPISD.