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Former State Superintendent Responds To Education Audit

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Sandy Garrett Sandy Garrett

Former State Superintendent Sandy Garret responded today to the investigation that implicates the Oklahoma Department of Education's misuse of funds.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi asked the state auditor to  investigate irregular travel claims, which resulted in a larger investigation. The findings implicate Garrett in misusing $2.3 million in funds. Garrett says the funds were private funds and adamantly denies claims of wrongdoing.

The state auditors' 39 -page report reveals for more than a decade that state money was being funneled through what he calls three unauthorized bank accounts.

"There was not a dime that was spent that was not audited," Garrett said.

3/7/2012 Related Story: Education Department Audit Reveals Disturbing USe Of Funds

According to Gary Jones' report, the first account was for the Oklahoma director of special services but the address on the checks showed the treasures home address. Then transfers were made to an operating and leadership account and finally an ODSS account, all accounts which Jones said were slush funds and were unable to be audited.

"I am very disappointed in our new state auditor and I don't know how he explained it, but you don't put private money in state accounts and co-mingle them. That is against the law," Garrett said.

The money was intended for a superintendent's ball, but with budget cuts in education across the board, the current administration admits expenses were excessive.

"Yeah all of this money being spent on lavish productions and liquor and those types of things clearly and we are troubled by that," Damon Gardenhire, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said.  

"Everything we did was approved by the Attorney General's office and other legal authorities," responded Garret, who held the office for 20 years.

The attorney general's office told News 9 they received a copy of the report and are reviewing it.  No word if criminal charges could be filed as result of this investigation. However, Garrett said she has proof to back up her claims.

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