More Details of Woodlawn High School Theft, Cover-Up


April 13, 2016

Many questions remain unanswered about the theft of public funds at Woodlawn High School in Shreveport.  Such is no surprise, though, given the attempted cover-up, now evident, by top Caddo Parish School Board officials.

My original articles on this subject may be read here and here.  To my knowledge, $11,000 – the amount last cited by the office of the Caddo Parish Sheriff – was stolen.

For the record, my source of this information is not the whistleblower busily revealing CPSB wrongdoing.

Thanks to a Public Records Law request to the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office by Will Broyles at RealShreveport.com, there is much to report.  As you read, remember that CPSB Superintendent T. L. Goree is the school system’s officially designated “Custodian of Public Records” for such purposes, and he deliberately ignores this law.  It is more and more obvious why.

The official report documenting the CPSO work has been provided, and may be viewed here.  Note that follow-up explanations to Will Broyles by Capt. Sheila T. Davis accompanied this report.  At CPSO, such reports are written by the assigned investigator, CPSO’s Bobby Herring in this case, at a time of their choosing during the investigation.

Readers may note, too, that Will Broyles was informed, “… all other documents related (to his requests) are being withheld at this time, also pursuant to LA R.S. 44:3, which governs release of information in a pending criminal litigation by a law enforcement agency.”  What we know to this point follows.

August 1, 2015 – February 24, 2016 ….. the theft at Woodlawn High School “occurred” over some six months.

March 7, 2016 ….. Allison May, CPSB Internal Auditor, verbally reported the theft to CPSO Investigator Yomeka Evans.

March 8, 2016 ….  Sgt. Bobby Herring, CPSO Financial Crimes Task Force, was notified and began investigating.
March 8, 2016, 5:38 PM ….  My source informed me of the theft, including the employee’s name, “Ms. Lee.”
March 8, 2016, 6:15 PM ….  I emailed that report to Supt. Goree, including word that an official cover-up was underway.

March 10, 2016, 7:13 AM ….  Receiving no response from Supt. Goree, I wrote my source for an update.
March 10, 2016, 9:25 AM ….  I wrote my first social media report of the theft and alleged official cover-up.
March 10, 2016, 11:33 AM ….  I updated my report by noting The Inquisitor publication had the story, too.
March 10, 2016, 3:35 PM ….  My source noted, “… this was done because she (Ms. Lee) was the principal of the schools (sic) best friend and to keep negative media away from transformation zone.”

March 11, 2016 …. Forced by public disclosure, Supt. Goree issues a “statement” – likely a written release to select media – acknowledging the theft, while attacking my report’s mention of a possible $20,000 amount, which he insisted was $2,100.

An article parroting Supt. Goree’s lies about the theft appeared very briefly on the website of our daily newspaper, but cannot now be found by searches on their website or the internet.  Later, March 25, 2015, the paper went ahead with its publication of a syrupy sweet opinion piece by local lawyer Tom Arceneaux about Goree’s pet program and its bossman, Transformation Zone schools, run by top CPSB official Billy Snow.

The CPSB whistleblower later lifted the veil on details of Supt. Goree’s long-term personal relationship with Snow.  The superintendent brought Snow to CPSB from their previous positions at Mansfield, Texas, ISD.

March 20, 2016, 5:49 PM ….  My source sent me photographs of a CPSB official vehicle provided by taxpayers parked at a local bar / restaurant.

March 20, 2016, 6:30 PM ….  I emailed the report and pictures to Supt. Goree and CPSB member Larry Ramsey.  I included several questions I had about the associated CPSB policies, including whether or not the vehicle was assigned to CPSB “marketing” employee William Strother, a/k/a Bill Sharp.

March 25, 2016 ….  By the end of the same week, William Strother resigned his position at CPSB under pressure.  HIS exit was reported by the local newspaper and other media … unlike that of Ms. Lee at Woodlawn.  (For the record, I do not believe Mr. Strother is the CPSB whistleblower.)

This CPSB incident report notes that the statute applicable to the Woodlawn theft is La. R.S. 14:67, “Theft.”  It includes,

“B. (1) Whoever commits the crime of theft when the misappropriation or taking amounts to a value of one thousand five hundred dollars or more shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than three thousand dollars, or both.”

As we know with certainty, our Caddo Parish School Board exists and operates above the law.  Still, one must wonder what the punishment would be – in the real world – for an official cover-up of felony theft.

Elliott Stonecipher

(Elliott Stonecipher does this work pro bono … no compensation of any kind is solicited or accepted.  He has no client or other relationships which in any way influence his selections of subjects or the content of any article.  Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing – unedited only, of course – is expected.  The use of his work without such credit to him is unethical and will not be quietly accepted.)

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