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State sues ex-school chief, seeks $615,000

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The former superintendent of a small southern Indiana school system owes the district more than $615,000 in public money that he misappropriated, according to a lawsuit filed by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office.

Marion “Al” Chapman was fired as superintendent of Cannelton City School Corp. in December 2011, after more than six years in the position. The State Board of Accounts this month released an audit that revealed misappropriation including:
-- $206,688.27 Chapman authorized payments to himself beyond his contract through payroll or annuities;
-- $333,333.33 gifted to the school as a trust intended to fund high school improvements but instead was depleted to pay general fund operating expenses;
-- $50,185.64 in attorney fees stemming from Chapman’s discontinuation of paying taxes;
-- $9,000 in unallowed prepaid travel allowances, and;
-- $1,241 in penalties, late fees and charges the schools accrued under Chapman’s leadership.

Chapman also is asked to pay the $15,157.89 cost of the audit in the civil suit filed in Perry Circuit Court.

The lawsuit also asks for an injunction to freeze Chapman’s assets, including bank and retirement accounts and vehicles. Perry Circuit Judge Lucy Goffinet on Friday signed a temporary restraining order and scheduled a hearing for Aug. 30 on the state’s motion for a preliminary injunction, a statement from the AG’s office said.

“The amount that the audit found misappropriated is simply shocking even without the misuse of a trust fund gift worth one-third of a million dollars; but what’s truly disheartening is that a top school official – a person to whom teachers, students and parents ought to look to for leadership – has drained public school funds intended for children’s education in order to overpay himself. This is a betrayal of the public trust, and my office will use all our legal tools to make this individual reimburse the school system,” Zoeller said in a statement.

The lawsuit also names as a defendant Indiana Insurance Company, which carried a $1 million errors and omissions policy on Chapman. The suit seeks to collect on the policy to reimburse the school system for the loss.

With 240 students enrolled last year, Cannelton City Schools is the second-smallest non-charter public K-12 school system in the state, according to Indiana Department of Education data.

 

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  1. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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