Huntsville School Leaders to Request Audit of Madison County Commissioner’s Funds

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s the latest punch in a growing battle between the Huntsville City School Board and a Madison County Commissioner. Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Casey Wardynski wants accountability. He and School Board President David Blair plan to request an audit of thousands of dollars awarded to two non-profit organizations.

School leaders want to know if giving two non-profits $40,000 in 2008 was the right thing for them to do. WHNT News 19 has obtained a three-page document that raises questions about money funneled to two groups and Commissioner Bob Harrison’s involvement with those groups.

The document details how Huntsville City Schools awarded at-risk dollars to two organizations. A school district auditor wrote the district gave $30,000 to the Circle Project and $10,000 to the Northwest Huntsville Community Services Organization.

“Commissioner Harrison’s signature appears on the contracts for these grants on the very front page. When you look at them, it says non-profit non-governmental and there lies the problem,” said Dr. Wardynski.

Alabama law states the funds are not to be used to partner with government or quasi-governmental agencies and entities with functions that already include programs designated for at-risk funding.

“It appears there was a significant co-mingling of employment, co-mingling of physical location, co-mingling of office space, co-mingling of directorship and a common employer between the District 6 office and Northwest Huntsville Community Services Organization,” said District Chief Financial Officer Jason Taylor.


Related: Huntsville School Board Claims Commissioner Harrison Demanded Johnson Closure 8 Years Ago


School leaders plan to request an audit of Commissioner Harrison’s funds.

“We’re happy if the State Ethics Commission want to look at it, but we’re probably also looking at state, federal and local fines here. That tells you the sort of law enforcement agencies that would likely be interested in this matter,” added Superintendent Wardynski.

The 2008 letter states the person who recommended one of the grants worked for the Madison County Commission and was paid from Commissioner Harrison’s budget.

“This is a very serious matter. Huntsville City Schools is not a piggy bank for adults to reach into and extract resources for their benefit,” added Dr. Wardynski.

Superintendent Wardynski told WHNT News 19 the audit request will be made later this week. He wants the $40,000 if it is proven the organizations should have not received the money.

Superintendent Wardynski and CFO Taylor are concerned about a three-page document dated March 2009.

“The documents on their face look very problematic. The entities involved look very problematic. The findings of our internal audit from 2006, brought to our attention by the media, look very problematic,” added Superintendent Wardynski.

The document reveals concerns about $40,000 designated for at-risk programs.

“If this was an inappropriate grant, those agencies which were appropriately seeking grant funds, such as the Boys & Girls Club, Second Mile or others, did not receive full funding because in this case, on the face of it, it looks inappropriate,” added Superintendent Wardynski.

CFO Taylor says the amount in question equals the approximate salary of a teacher.

“In and of itself, that is one important number, that’s one important aspect and that is one important fact,” added CFO Taylor.

Both men are questioning actions made years before either worked for the city school system. The superintendent doesn’t care about the timeline.

“A lapse of time and stories told don’t really matter to me. What matters to me is where did the money go? Was it an appropriate disbursement? Was it for the intended purpose?” said Superintendent Wardynski.

WHNT News 19 reached out to Commissioner Harrison through email, his work and cell phones.  Commissioner Harrison has not responded.  WHNT News 19 will continue to seek a response from the commissioner.

49 comments

  • Bill

    Mr. Harrison, the old saying goes”you mess with the bull,and you get the horns”. You had this coming too you and you can’t blame anyone else, except yourself. It’s very obvious that you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  • Nuclear Mike

    ALL are now subject to investigation as ALL are not innocent of their spendingof public funds!!!!

  • Bill

    If it is…….Mr. Harrison started it by sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. I have a feeling Mr. Harrison is going to loose alot of sleep in the near future. He better buy a big supply of anti-acid pills..he’s going to need it.

    • Nuclear Mike

      Freeze all their personal & LLC accounts just like a full blown bank audit to find the “pea under the shell”…

  • Bobs_A_POS

    I love this superintendent just a little more each time I see him in the news. Keep it up, you’ve got my backing

  • jamison jones

    This has to stop! Its ridiculous. I mean, the guy raises some legitimate issues about things and the only way to address is to open up stuff from the past. I mean, why now? May be the mr. blair and his cohorts need to be audited too because i don’t think they are that clean. if you couldn’t address mr. harrison’s issues and the only way to silence him is blackmail him, you have no idea what ‘we the people’ have for you. Its so obvious, stop it. before he raised his issues, no one ever audited anything! alla of a sudden, you are trying to make him irrelavant.

    • Branko Pezdi

      Sorry, pal, Harrison’s race does not immunize him from his obvious corruption, no matter how much you obamabots wish this ti=o be true.

  • Bill

    It’s a Tit for a Tat. Politics is a FULL contact sport. Mr. Harrison is going to find himself on the ropes. Just depends how long it takes to count to 10. Someone will need to have the smelling salts close by for the big guy. Jan Leno would have a ball with this one.

  • jamison jones

    everybody will go! watch. he’s an elected official. this ain’t gon’ fly anywhere…harrison is a tremendous leader for our community. roll the dice and take your chances. he ain’t goin nowhere

    • Branko Pezdi

      “Tremendous leader”. Really? What has this Al Sharpton wannabe actually accomplished for the community?

      • Big Earl

        My question is , when is state rep. Laura Hall, doing to step in and defend him,or will she? . maybe with all the digging, her name may surface .

  • selaws

    No one’s perfect but GOD, not even wardynski! For those of you who seem to be his fan club. Who knows, maybe something’s in his closet. Time will tell.

  • Wes

    I support tMr Wardynski! The Sharptons, Jacksons, Harrisons and Showers only make divisions in races to get themselves in the news. There’s a legitimate concern on where OUR taxpayer money went and we and law enforcement have a right to know. I love how the libs get caught and the first words out of their mouths is “they did it too” instead of defending their argument. The only true cause they have is to devide the races and put themselves on a pedistal. We are sick of it!!

  • jamison jones

    LOOK here wes, all that stuff has been under wraps! you know. but they don’t have an answer for his issues regarding the rezoning thing. so the best way to keep to quiet him is to bring up stuff from way, way, way back in 2008. why have they waited until? they just want him out of the way so they can go on with their segregation agenda.

  • Wes

    So if there’s nothing to find, what are you worried about? This issue was brought to the school boards attention by the media because of Mr harrisons allegations. It’s new news to this board, would you rather everyone just ignor it? They have every right to ask the state for a forensic examination of taxpayer funds being misused. They have an obligation to the taxpayers to follow up! Sorry, this is not a “shut you up” moment. There just doing what they were elected to do, protect the taxpayers money.

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  • jamison jones

    Wes, really/ This ain’t a ‘shut you up’ moment?? Are we following the same thing? ok, mr. Harriosn brings up issues, about rezoning. You know this stuff is going to be so divisive across the board. But the ‘bus’ for some reason is already gone without total consensus from everybody, including black leaders. what do you expect? You can';t just bulldoze everybody into their stuff! so guess what, things cool down alittle bit and well, gotcha ya! Everybody’s accounts have to be audited, plus their private lives!! gat some dirt too. i mean we demand the highest moral standards from our leaders, if you don’t measure up, you resign! politics all round.

  • Wes

    There were (6) meetings Mr Harrison chose not to attend prior to the decisions that were made. He had ample opportunity to voice his opinion, he chose not to until it was a done deal. Grandstanding at it’s finest. The fact that he is black is a non issue, but of course he wants to make it an issue. That is always the case when you have no credible argument. Right out of the Al Sharpton playbook. It is discusting, I believe that’s what all this is about, an agenda. The rezoning may just be a vehicle to promote his agenda, sad.

  • max bruce

    Atticus Finch would say take out all the adjectives and you will have the facts.

    The Sup says “ ‘A lapse of time and stories told don’t really matter to me. ‘ ”

    Me either!

  • jamison jones

    He couldn’t attend because they had already approved it! whether he voted for it or not, it didn’t matter. so what do you want him to do? we are also going to contact a media out let about everybody’s indiscretions you know, morally, legally, financially. let the chips fall where they may. and you can’t say race is not involved. which america do you live in?

  • Wes

    Finally you admit it, this is about race!! Mr Harrison has never done nothing that benefited the students, just himself. There’s no facts you could here that will change your mind. You want a race issue and by God that’s what it’s going to be, forget the facts, dishonesty this man has alledgedly commited, he’s black and therefore it doesn’t matter what he’s done, we owe him because he was born black! This is the America YOU live in, once again, sad.

  • My Two Cents

    As long as schoolboard wants an audit how about explaining how you can be in debt $20 million one year and few years later be building two new high schools.

  • jamison jones

    Of course, race is a big part of it. How do you know he ain’t benefitted anybody? we elected him! All this witchhunt is nothing but smoke filled blackmail to advance the segregation agenda. We’ve come along way in black empowerment and this stuff here aint gon’ happen…why bring up something that happened 8 years ago right now? who contacted the media? what was the reason for it? Like someone just said, how could you be in debt up $20 and all of sudden two schools are being built? explain that. its not a bad thing but them guys are playing a very crooked game. i have my own resevravtions about harrison but don’t do him like that. everybody enjoy the slice of the pie while it lasts.

  • Wes

    We can agree to disagree, race is manufactured for the most part to advance an agenda. Of course there are exceptions, but I don’t believe this is one of them, otherwise he would have a long list of accomplishments, not baggage.

  • jamison jones

    fair enough. My friends and i are gatjhering all kinds of dirt on these people and we are also going to contact the media. its a smear capign and lets roll.

    • alafan 2010

      Fair enough. Let us know your findings then we will talk about how Harrison is being picked on. I have defended integration since I was in the 6th grade( first black ln Huntsville school year). Can’t you understand how this race card grandstanding just gives the prejudice more fuel for the fire. It has pushed true integration back 20 years.

  • Wes

    If there are additional dirty politicians out there and you can prove it, we will be on the same side, regardless what their race is!! There’s no room for corrupt elected officials….period!

  • jamison jones

    Look wes, the only problem with this is that its so obvious! They couldn’t even let things cool down.Alot of things cloud our memory and this should have been forgotten along ago but its fresh and we know where its coming from. And of course they are all dirty! Like i said, we are gathering stuff..from their ex girlfriends, to anything we can find. let them leave the big boy alone. he earned his poltical capital…gat elelcted, that means we believed in him and still do.

  • Wes

    I can say with certancy Mr Jones you are in the minority with those opinions. The “big boy” brought this on himself, quit blaming others for his own actions. If he’s dirty, let the cards fall where they may, I haven’t heard the evidence and I’m smart enough to wait before judging him. To say everyone else is dirty too, so let this go away is absurd. Like I said in an earlier post, if he has nothing to hide, what is he worried about? This is the consequences of being a public official, and no the fact he is black has absolutely nothing to do with it. The public is sick and tired of everytime we have a disagreement with a black official’s policies we somehow become racist! If you want respect, stay away from that BS!

  • jamison jones

    This is America and yes, in these kinds of things, race has to be looked at as an angle. Not the whole thing, but as part of the larger conundrum. I mean, wes, you sound very brilliant but lets agree on this, race can never be out of the question in this country. its what it is.

  • Wes

    Let me ask you this Mr jones, if the audit (if it’s done) reveals wrongdoing by harrison, will you accept it? My guess is no, you will then call the investigators racist. Can you see a pattern here?

  • jamison jones

    the problem is not the audit. its the timing amidst everything. you know the ‘wag-the-dog’ syndrom. deflect present crises by artificially creating another one. Remember the time line? if he’s found wrong, so be it. its just the timing. it stinks.

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