ST. PAU, Minn. (KMSP) - Athletic Director Mike Searles is no longer on Como Park High School's website and he hasn't been at the school since mid-December. Sources Tell Fox 9 it is because he is being investigated for stealing money from the school’s athletic department.
St. Paul police can only confirm the theft is over $1,000, but sources say the total could be over $100,000.
The alleged theft was discovered during a routine audit late last year, and appears to have been going on for years, sources say. Auditors noticed irregularities in the athletic department's receipts and on Searles' purchase or "P-card" which is a district credit card.
The district says it placed Searles on unpaid administrative leave on December 16, however St. Paul police say the district didn't file a police report until March 8.
Sources say Searles is actually a Como Park graduate himself. He's been with the district for 21 years and makes nearly $95,000 a year.
Como Park principal's letter to families
Dear Como Park Senior Families,
I’m writing to provide you with information regarding a scheduled media report tonight, March 17, about an allegation of staff misconduct at Como Park Senior. This allegation does not involve students.
Following an internal review, Saint Paul Public Schools learned about an issue that required the Saint Paul Police Department to investigate. A Como Park Senior High School employee was put on administrative leave on Dec. 16, 2015, which is standard practice while the investigation continues.
I wanted to share with you what I could, however, due to privacy laws and the ongoing police investigation, I am unable to provide additional details about the situation. If you have questions or concerns that you believe I can answer, please call me at 651-293-8800.
I know we have faced our share of challenges this year. Together, as one school community, we can get through anything. Thank you for supporting your child and Como Park Senior.
Theresa Neal, Principal
Como Park Senior