State releases audit on former Marble City superintendent

Friday, February 29th 2008, 12:53 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

An audit released Friday from the State Auditor's office sheds some light on the investigation into former Marble City School Superintendent Larry Couch.  

Couch is accused of stealing $100,000 dollars from the district. But that was not the only offense Couch is facing, according to the audit.

According to investigators, an outside bank account called the Organization of Rural elementary schools, ORES, was supposed to have been closed back in 1998. Couch allegedly kept that account open, read the audit.  Officials at the State Auditor's Office said Couch used that account to conceal stolen funds.

Some of those funds allegedly include $791,000 dollars of Marble City School money, $109,000 of donations from the Cherokee Nation and a $1,000 donation from the Wal-Mart Foundation.

The report also alleges Couch used a forged signature of school board member Raymond Bolin to purchase land. Bolin was not a board member at the time the authorization was processed.

Some say Bolin was the most outspoken about investigating Couch's activities. Bolin said he wanted Couch to resign, but Couch had enough support from other board members to remain in office. 

After NEWS 9's reports on Couch's alleged activities and the investigation, Couch was later stripped of his accreditation and ultimately lost his job. 

Couch faces one count of embezzlement of public money. 

He could face federal charges in connection with this alleged theft.