HASTINGS, Minn. (FOX 9) - A Hastings High School assistant principal and head wrestling coach has been charged with stealing more than $13,000 of school funds over seven years, allegedly spending the money on trips to Division I college football games such as Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Joshua McLay, 37, is facing eight counts of embezzlement of public funds and eight counts of theft by swindle. The charges allege he had been submitting reimbursement requests for a “coaches clinic” since 2011.
According to the charges, in September 2011, McLay told the Hastings School District’s accounting supervisor he was bringing his coaching staff to Lincoln, Nebraska for a coaching clinic at the end of October and wanted to pay for gas, a van and hotel rooms for two nights. He also said he wished to treat the coaches to a Nebraska football game and wanted to know if that would be possible.
The accounting supervisor advised McLay that the expenses for gas, van and hotel were okay, but entertainment expenses like the football game were not.
An investigation found that although McLay did not purchase football tickets in 2011, he did use district funds to purchase tickets for several people to attend an Iowa State football game in 2012, a Wisconsin game in 2013, a Minnesota game in 2014 and a Notre Dame game in 2018. He did not purchase tickets in 2015, 2016 and 2017 because he received them free from a staff member associated with the university.
McLay also allegedly purchased car rentals, hotel rooms, gas for rented vehicles, food and other expenses related to trips for a coaches clinic. Some of the expenses for these events were charged to a Hastings School District credit card and other expenses he paid for directly and was reimbursed.
The investigation found that although McLay claimed the expenses were for coaches clinics, no coaches clinics took place on any of the trips.
The alleged theft was discovered in October after the school district’s finance supervisor noticed that unlike the other requests for reimbursement and purchase orders McLay submitted over the years, the two purchase orders he submitted for the planned 2018 trip to Indiana did not include any reference to a “clinic.” The discovery prompted a full investigation into McLay's spending.
In total, McLay is accused of stealing more than $13,900 from the school district since 2011.
McLay was charged by summons and is not in custody. He will make his first court appearance on April 8.