A prominent Washington state football coach has resigned under pressure from his school district and may face serious financial penalties after an internal audit discovered that he bilked as much as $16,000-$20,000 from funds raised by a long-running program fundraiser.
As reported by the Seattle Times, Bonney Lake (Wash.) High football coach and teacher Chad Barrett has resigned amidst turmoil about the alleged theft of thousands of dollars intended for the Bonney Lake football program. The money was taken from funds raised by the annual sale of 'Elite Fundraising Cards', which members of the team sold for $20 per card.
While the total number of missing funds remains undetermined because of a number of missing unsold cards from the 2011 season, the fundraiser brought in approximately $17,000 on average in 2009 and 2010. If successful in raising a similar amount in 2011, the sale of the cards would have accounted for some $51,000 across the three years.
How much did Barrett deposit into the designated accounts? Just $320 in total, according to the district's internal audit.
While the coach is almost certain to leave in disgrace, he will also do so with a winning career record at the school, finishing with a 17-10 total mark across three seasons. In the process he also became just the third coach in Washington state history to coach in the U.S. Army All-American bowl, which he did in San Antonio in December.
Barrett had been on paid administrative leave since February 29, when an investigation into the missing fundraising cash first began, a period which ended with his resignation.
While the state auditor's office will now be taking over jurisdiction into the investigation into the allegations against Barrett, the Sumner School District still urged anyone who had purchased a fundraising card from the program in the years in which Barrett ran the program to contact its business services department, in part to verify their donations to the program and where they currently stand.
According to the Times, Barrett's resignation included an arrangement through which the now-former coach will re-pay an undisclosed sum to the school district, and it is possible that some of those funds could be returned to card purchasers.