Monday, July 1, 2019

Columbus OH Radio: Non-Com GM Falsified Invoices

The former head of Columbus, OH City Schools’ public radio station falsified invoices to manipulate cash flow and hide that the station owed nearly $870,000 to NPR for years, school district officials confirmed Thursday.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Dan Mushalko, general manager of WCBE 90.5 FM, had fallen behind on payments for years but didn’t tell district officials until late January.

Instead, he altered invoices submitted to the district treasurer’s office, reducing the amount owed to match the funds he had available to pay NPR and other vendors, according to a report that district Internal Auditor Carolyn Smith released Thursday. The report followed a months-long investigation into records from the past 20 years. Mushalko also altered invoice numbers and dates.

“For example, if he had a $100,000 invoice, but only had $30,000 available, he’d reduce the invoice to indicate only $30,000 was due,” said Kevin Saionzkowski, the district’s audit manager of special reviews. “We didn’t see anything that indicated he modified things for his own use.”

Mushalko submitted his resignation last week.

The district won’t seek criminal charges and considers the matter finished, spokesman Scott Wortman said.

The Columbus Board of Education’s audit and accountability committee reviewed Smith’s report at a Thursday afternoon meeting and agreed to make it public.

It was the first official explanation of how the district’s public radio station, which essentially operated independently, secretly amassed such significant debt with NPR, which supplies news for the station’s broadcasts. Financial audits of the station’s operations performed by Hemphill Wright & Associates, a Cuyahoga County accounting firm, didn’t mention it. The auditing firm didn’t return calls seeking an explanation, Smith said Thursday.

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