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No charges in White County

The investigation is over in White county...and four women who administered federal grant money will not face any charges.

A prosecutor has reviewed the findings of a State Police investigation into an after-school summer program operated in White County.

So is it good news or bad news for the four women handling the money?

Five months ago, we showed up in Russell, Arkansas, just as trucks and trailers were being loaded with items purchased with federal grant money.

The 21st Century Community Learning Initiative helps small communities across Arkansas better serve children either after school or when they were out of school.

The funds were cut off to three White County programs last year when state auditors raised questions about how money was being spent by the women administering the programs.

In a letter sent to state auditors, Prosecutor Rebecca McCoy states that, "It is clear Renee Garr, Davissa Brimer, Ladonna Gibson and Tammy Cloyes violated the guidelines of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. Such violations do not, however, translate into criminal conduct."

"Despite over $21,000 worth of equipment being "unaccounted" for, many people (adults and students) had access to the property."

"There is insufficient evidence to support criminal charges in this matter. Certainly the state of Arkansas or the Department of Education may levy civil or administrative sanctions against the parties involved in the three grant programs in question."

Because some of the women involved have connections to the Bald Knob School District superintendent, Melissa Gibson, also received a similar letter from prosecutor McCoy. McCoy states that, "Extremely poor record keeping and the purchase of items that appear to be excessive and/or not financially sound are not in itself a criminal offense."

The Department of Education refused to confirm or deny if it is investigating the use of grant money in White County.

Air date: September 13th, 2018

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