School Treasurer Stephen Maag resigned Friday following a district investigation that started in September after the board of education learned of “irregularity” with signatures on two documents from the district’s 2011 and 2012 audits.
Maag has been on unpaid administrative leave since Oct. 1.
The documents in question are certificates issued by the county auditor that assures the district has enough money to pay its bills for the coming school year. But the Greene County Auditor, whose office would have produced the documents, questioned the authenticity of the certificates included with the district’s 2011 and 2012 audits.
“My office did not produce those documents,” David Graham, the county auditor, said shortly after the board accepted Maag’s resignation. “I did not sign them.”
No charges have been filed against Maag.
“There is no evidence of fraud, there is no money missing,” Greene County Prosecutor Stephen Haller said. “There is evidence that someone was taking short cuts, which you can’t do.
“That makes it a personnel matter that’s been addressed with Mr. Maag’s resignation. It happened on his watch.”
Haller said the single-page certificates are a formality only, called pro forma documents. “That’s the puzzling thing,” Graham said. “They are not a big deal.”
Maag has not returned repeated phone calls to the Dayton Daily News for comment since Sept. 19. The newspaper also made repeated visits to his listed address to get comment.
Board president Al Nels said the board was advised of the “irregularity” Sept. 19 by a representative of the State Auditor’s Office. The office was about to start the district’s annual audit. At the time, the board put Maag on paid administrative leave while it investigated the matter.
“The certificate is created by my office from information from the district,” Graham said. His office compares the expected revenues for the coming fiscal year with the board’s appropriations to confirm the district has not budgeted a deficit, which is prohibited by state law.
Once the the figures are reconciled, the certificate is drawn up, signed by the auditor, sealed as an official document and sent to the district for its records, Graham said.
The certificates are documents an auditor would review, Haller said. “It would be a box they would check off” during the audit.
Previously, the audits from 2011 and 2012 found no problems.
The certificates “certainly looked like they came from the county auditor’s office,” said Nels, who reviewed the documents.
Graham said the certificate easily could be reproduced from a previous certificate with available current computer technology.
He added that has no authority to order the district treasurer to submit the information. He said he wrote to Maag in January requesting the information. Maag didn’t respond, he said.
Graham said he received a call from the Springfield accounting firm compiling the district’s comprehensive financial report for the past school year with a question about an appropriation that did not match with the certificate. Graham said he told the accountant there was no certificate.
“He said that was strange because he was holding it his hand. I went to the county prosecutor and explained the problem,” Graham said.
Haller said he wrote a letter to the state auditor alerting them to the problem. Haller said he later spoke with the school board to discuss the matter.
The state Auditor’s Office declined to comment, citing the on-going annual audit.
Maag has been the district’s treasurer since 2000 when he was brought in to straighten out the books from his predecessor. Under his direction, the district has been recognized statewide and nationally for its financial reporting. He oversaw a $68 million annual budget and was paid about $136,000 annually.
According to public records obtained by the Dayton Daily News, a Stephen L. Maag has more than $134,000 in federal and state tax liens. The address on the liens is identical to Stephen L. Maag’s address in the district’s directory.
The board has said they were unaware of the liens until the newspaper brought them to their attention.
Under the terms of his resignation, Maag will be paid for previously incurred professional expense and accrued vacation time, as required by state law and his contract, but will not be paid for the remainder of his contract, Nels said.
After accepting Maag’s resignation, the board appointed consultant Ernie Strawser as interim treasurer. Strawser, who holds a treasurer’s license from the state Department of Education, has more than 30 years experience as a financial officer in several school districts.