SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — San Benito Consolidated Independent School Board Vice President Janie Lopez revealed to 4 Investigates Derick Garcia she supports a criminal investigation into former Superintendent Nate Carman.
“There is a possibility that laws were broken, yes, and so that would be something that law enforcement would need to further look into,” Lopez said in a one-on-one interview.
Her comments stem from the release of an independent audit performed by Fort-Worth based firm Weaver and Tidwell L.L.P. The scope of the audit looked into areas of concern from the school district’s finances beginning Sept. 1, 2016, through Aug. 31, 2021.
The audit states: “The Superintendents serving San Benito CISD during the period receiving forensic audit review were Dr. Adrian Vega (January 2016 – April 2017) and Dr. Nate Carman (September 2017 – February 2022).”
Lopez had suspicions of mismanagement of funds specifically with the $40 Million Bond Program. In November 2018, district voters supported the big plans to construct an Indoor Multipurpose Facility, Aquatic Center, and Performing Arts Center.
However, the audit findings suggest best practices were not utilized. This includes how the bond was marketed to voters. Auditors determined the cost estimates were not calculated by professionals and some vendors who were contracted to build the facilities had made donations to Superintendent Carman’s Golf Tournament in the spring of 2019.
- Brighton Group Diamond $25,000
- ROFA Architects Gold $5,000
- PBK Architects Silver $1,500
- Hellas Construction Bronze $1,000
- Raba Kistner Bronze $1,000
Click the link for the Forensic Audit Report:
“December 18, 2018, the Board selected Brighton Group as project manager without any discussion or deliberation concerning how each board member evaluated the proposals.” The audit stated.
The report continues: “Brighton Group was not registered as a professional engineering firm with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors until February 2019, which was after they entered into a contract with the District in January 2019.”
As of December 2020, Brighton Group had received $1.25 million in project management fees and is not scheduled for completion until August 2023 (at the earliest), states page 9 of 125 of the audit.
“Hellas Construction donated $1,000 to the Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) named Investing in Our Children’s Education in October 2018 and was later selected as CMAR for the construction of the Indoor Multipurpose Facility in May 2019” and ultimately received approximately $5.7 million from the District for the project. The auditors wrote: “We have not determined if the contribution by Hellas to the SPAC influenced the Board’s selection of Hellas, however, we noted that the SPAC was formed by Gilbert Weaver, whose spouse was a Board member at the time of their selection.”
This appears on page 49 of 125 of the audit report.
For more information, follow our CBS 4 Investigates reports to come.
Attached is the special board meeting with the presentation of the audit and PowerPoint to follow along.
- Redacted Weaver Forensic Audit Report – SBCISD-1_Redacted https://4.files.edl.io/9694/09/21/22/030016-ec2b2da5-5fcc-4f8d-a550-2230106201a5.pdf
- Weaver Presentation of Forensic Audit Report – SBCISD https://4.files.edl.io/67c8/09/21/22/160113-9542ce35-2e1b-41ad-a99f-974a10e3b935.pdf