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Audit: former DeSoto superintendent cashed in on lack of board oversight

An investigative audit of the DeSoto Parish School System has found its former superintendent of schools was in violation of laws governing public officers and employees, as well as criminal laws and even constitutional laws.

An investigative audit of the DeSoto Parish School System has found its former superintendent of schools was in violation of laws governing public officers and employees, as well as criminal laws and even constitutional laws.

In the audit, Walter Lee, who in addition to serving as DeSoto’s superintendent of schools, represents Louisiana’s 4th District on the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), was found to:

  • have received and kept reimbursement for travel paid for with his DPSS credit card; turned in a lease car

  • Turned in a lease car 14 months early, costing the DPSS a $10,653 termination fee and then personally purchased the vehicle for significantly less than its market value

  • Giving himself pay raises of more than $170,000 without board approval over his 13 years as superintendent of schools.

The 11-page report was forwarded to Stephanie Finley, United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana Board of Ethics, DeSoto Parish District Attorney Richard Johnson, and others as required by law.

Johnson said a decision on whether his office will prosecute Lee will be made after a thorough review of the audit. “We just received the report this morning,” Johnson told NBC 6 News, “and I’m going to take a couple of days to digest the report, go over it and then I’ll make a decision on what we’re going to do.”

 

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