BISD in chaos as federal officials storm sites of interest, take $56,000 from finance director

BISD in chaos as federal officials storm sites of interest, take $56,000 from finance director

Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investiga­tion (FBI) were at the Beau­mont Independent School District administration building and the homes of school district finance employees Devin McCraney and Sharika Allison the morning of Thursday, Nov. 7. Investigators had been to the home of BISD Superin­tendent Dr. Timothy Char­gois earlier in the morning to inform him of the warrant service. The BISD adminis­tration building ejected visi­tors to the school district’s main office while investiga­tors from the federal agency swarmed the main office, saying that administrators would not be taking meet­ings from the general public. BISD employees working in the administration building were moved to the attached boardroom and cafeteria as FBI agents collected boxes of material to remove from the building.

FBI investigators stayed at BISD finance director McCraney’s home until shortly after 9:30 a.m., spend­ing more than an hour on the premises. McCraney paced outside on the phone while investigators rummaged through his new Denali with the license plate SPOYLD. Multi­ple FBI agents also searched the inside of his residence, removing more than three boxes of confiscated materi­als upon their departure. Investi­gators made a return trip to the BISD finance director’s home later in the afternoon. According to sourc­es close to the investigation, the second trip to McCraney’s home was to seize $56,000 in cash and money orders McCraney withdrew from a bank account immediately after the FBI had paid him a visit earlier that morning.

BISD comptroller Sharika Allison also received a morn­ing visit from the FBI at her home on Scantilly in the city’s West End. Allison serves the district as the responsible par­ty in charge of overseeing bond expenditures and student activities funds, and has access to the district’s cash vaults and check printing area.

According to BISD Communica­tions Specialist Nakisha Myles, “The district is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding allegations that someone set up bogus accounts and diverted district funds. It is the district’s intent to fully investigate and pro­vide information to the FBI.”

Myles advised that no fur­ther comment would be pro­vided, but as the day drew to a close with FBI agents still scouring the contents of the school district’s main office building, Chargois stood in front of the BISD administra­tion building to deliver a mes­sage to the public. The super­intendent was flanked by Board of Trustees president Gwen Ambres and the dis­trict’s hired attorney, Melody Chappell, neither of whom said a word.

“Today has been a very dif­ficult day for the staff of BISD,” he said, asking for “professionalism” as the FBI investigation unfolds. “Misuse of funds … will not be toler­ated. The district is fully sol­vent, and we will rise above this.”

According to Chargois, although “this investigation is in (an) extremely preliminary stage,” there are two known suspects who have been placed on administrative leave. Char­gois then asked for the pub­lic’s “continued confidence and trust” while under federal scrutiny, before retreating back into the building and refusing to answer questions from the media.