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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Misappropriation of funds probe underway

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  • A preliminary investigation into alleged financial improprieties has cost Kurt Lemley his job as executive director of the HFV Wilson Community Center.
    Kevin Boatright, Ardmore Parks and Recreation director, said Lemley was placed on administrative leave Aug. 14 and was terminated on Aug. 20. Boatright told the HFV Wilson board of directors during a meeting Monday afternoon that the evidence points to misappropriation of funds.
    Boatright, along with Teresa Ervin, assistant parks and recreation director, performed a limited review after it was discovered there was a situation in which the finances did not add up in a program.
    "It did not add up, and we turned it over to our finance director (Ken Campbell)," Boatright said.
    Documentation has been released to the police department, which is conducting a full criminal investigation into the matter.
    "At this point, we are still in the process of obtaining records and information," said Ardmore city manager J.D. Spohn. "Based on the results, we will have a better determination of where to go."
    Spohn said Lemley had been employed with the city as the executive director for 2½ years.
    "He was placed on administrative leave and, based on some admissions on his part, his employment was terminated," Spohn said. "It centers around misuse of a credit card and a Paypal account. This is not acceptable, and we will prosecute to the full extent of the law."
    Spohn said Lemley made admissions to Boatright, who made a recommendation to Spohn that Lemley's employment be terminated.
    During the meeting, Boatright said the improprieties would have no bearing on the center, as it will remain open to the public. Both Ervin and Alicia Gilmartin, program coordinator for the center, will fill the void left by Lemley's termination.
    "We are making sure the financial evidence is handled," Boatright said. "We are trying to meet the needs and services of Ardmore. Nothing has changed. We feel, and Ken (Campbell) feels, everything is safe right now.
    "There is not a financial reason to shut the doors."
    Ervin said payroll had been paid and current bills were caught up. The center has $25,107.49 in its account. There are additional bills that will be due Friday in the amount of $6,090.70. The center's payroll was estimated between $1,300 and $1,400 each pay period. Ervin said the payroll would be met. The center is also expecting $9,800 from United Way in quarterly funding. The new year of United Way funding will bring in $40,000.
    The credit card debt of $23,116.78 was described as significant. The card was used to fund the track club and field trips for the summer program. The amount of the debt fraudulently accumulated will need to be determined through investigation. The Paypal account is at around $700. Board member Cynthia Cooper asked Boatright if the embezzlement was limited to Lemley.
    Page 2 of 2 - "That is what we are checking on," Boatright said. "From the sense I get from talking to Ken, everything will be uncovered."
    Boatright was also asked if any of the misappropriated funds would have shown up on the financial reports.
    "The correct answer is it would not have shown up," Boatright said. "But the reports were put together by the former director."
    It was not certain how long it had been since the board last met. It is required to meet six times a year and the board voted not to have meetings during the summer. A number of meetings prior to the summer had been canceled because of the lack of a quorum.
    Boatright said he is hoping the center will be able to start discussions on a new director by the end of the month.
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