Embezzlement scandal at Genesee Intermediate School District

The Genesee Intermediate School District board says Assistant Superintendent Beverly Knox-Pipes embezzled tens of thousands of dollars and has thousands of documents to prove it.

GISD Superintendent Lisa Hagel remained somber addressing the media Thursday.

"You think it's going to be all fun and fuzzy and loving and totally focused on children - and that is the way it should be, however we find ourselves facing a different situation at the ISD,â?? Hagel said.

The GISD board voted unanimously Wednesday night to fire Knox-Pipes after an extensive audit by Plante Moran found she had misused nearly $88,000 to fund unapproved travel and an affair with former superintendent, Thomas Svitkovich.

Among the charges: doctored expense sheets for reimbursements; extended conference stays; and back-dating documents with Svitkovich's electronic signature.

â??We're hoping to maintain some public trust through this and provide transparency that this kind of conduct is just unacceptable,â?? Hagel said.

Hagel said something smelled fishy when the district switched cell phone providers last year and learned that Knox-Pipes had given several district-issued phones to non-district employees, including Svitkovich. The audit revealed Knox-Pipesâ?? misuse of paid phones cost GISD more than $17,000 dollars.

"We're appalled at the behavior of these two individuals,â?? Hagel said.

Knox-Pipes was put on paid leave in October 2011, pending the districtâ??s investigation, but as of Wednesday night, is no longer employed by the district. She has not responded to these charges.

The employment investigation is over.

Michigan State Police is handling the criminal investigation.