Report: Former Leaders of Dallas County Schools Fail to Participate in Critical Internal Audit

NBC 5 Investigates has obtained a copy of a new critical report probing the financial mess at Dallas County Schools.

The report finds a lack of oversight, conflicts of interest and millions of taxpayer dollars lost on a risky business deal.

It suggests that taxpayers might be able to get some of their money back.

But what may be most surprising is what is "missing" from the report.

It says the two men who used to run the school bus agency – former superintendent Rick Sorrells and ex-board president Larry Duncan – would not answer questions.

The report, compiled by auditors hired by DCS, describes a stunning lack of oversight, especially on the school bus camera program that dragged down the agency's finances.

It said the auditors saw "no evidence that DCS performed any due diligence" to see if the program would be financially successful.

The report also said there was "no evidence DCS performed background or reference checks" on the camera company that the agency partnered with, Force Multiplier Solutions.

It raises more concerns about something NBC 5 Investigates uncovered earlier this year, when Denise Hickman, the former DCS director of business, told us her bosses at the agency kept buying cameras from Force Multiplier even as the camera program was losing millions in taxpayer dollars.

"And I was amazed to see a room stacked to the ceiling, full of cameras, and I'm signing checks for new cameras," Hickman said at the time.

The audit, obtained through a Texas Open Records request, found that "DCS spent approximately $11 million for an additional 1,300 (camera) units when DCS has, or should have had, 3,300 units available in inventory."

Meanwhile, the report says former board president Duncan and ex-superintendent Sorrells "failed to disclose" relationships they had with executives at the camera company.

Duncan received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from people tied to Force Multiplier.

And NBC 5 Investigates discovered Sorrells shared side-by-side vacation apartments with Force Multiplier's CEO, Robert Leonard, in New Orleans' French Quarter.

Sorrells still denied having a relationship with Leonard when NBC 5 Investigates found him in New Orleans earlier this year.

When asked about Leonard, Sorrells said, "I really don't have a relationship with him …at this time."

Despite being the two men at the center of the deals, the report says neither Sorrells nor Duncan spoke with DCS's own auditors.

It says there were "multiple scheduling conflicts" that prevented auditors from talking to Sorrells, and that "Mr. Duncan failed to respond to our requests despite multiple attempts."

Duncan then resigned from the agency's board in October.

Neither he nor Sorrells could be reached for comment for this report. Both men have previously said they did nothing wrong.

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