Tuesday, February 21, 2017


By Juan Montoya
In a very public show to highlight its supposed fiscal watchdog function, the administration of the Brownsville Independent School District has cancelled its contract with Brownsville armored-car provider American Surveillance.
But as details surface surrounding the cancellation, it now seems that the BISD administration out on this show to cover up its fiscal audit deficiencies and has made the security company the scapegoat.

BISD reported that it caught the theft of $495 from missing receipts that had been picked up last September. When it notified the company's owners just this week, they learned that the guilty party – a "messenger" assigned to pick up sealed deposit bags from the company's armored-car clients – had already been charged by the management with local police for another heist from another of their clients. The company quickly made the district whole when they learned of the missing money.

In that Cameron County case, the "messenger" had been caught taking money from the Cameron County Adult Probation Office totaling nearly $1,500. The administrators from the security company were alerted to the missing money after a cursory reconciliation of receipts had showed funds were missing from that office.

But what was the difference?
In the case of Cameron County, it took them only about a week to see that the receipts left by the employee of the security company when he picked up the sealed bags did not reconcile with the receipts they had at the local bank. In other words, the money had never made it to the bank after the messenger picked up the sealed bags. Somewhere between the time he picked up the bags and when the truck reached the bank he had pocketed the money.

But while it took the BISD four to six months to realize there was money missing, it took the county less than a week to detect the missing funds using its checks-and-balance procedures. In the case of the missing county money, the company was able to investigate its internal processes and discover that the suspected thief was a "bad apple" among its employees and he was turned in to the local police. The company also made the county "whole" on the spot. After all, every security company has millions in insurance to address such events.

Sources close to the events that uncovered the heist said that the security company had shown that they had cleared the suspected employee through the Texas Department of Public Safety, and had run his security check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation without any alerts from either body. In fact, he had been employed by Rochester, a leader in armored-car services in the country. County sources say that American Surveillance showed them he had been cleared by all these entities.

In the case of the BISD, its internal audit procedures procedures lagged far behind the day-to-day business and allowed the thief to continue nibbling away. In fact, if the BISD had alerted the company to the missing money early, it is possible that the theft at the county could have been prevented since the theft at the district occurred in September and was not detected until February. The county detected the theft last month and the culprit was nabbed and chrarged a week after it occurred.

A county source said that American Surveillance's quick internal investigation cleared a county employee who had been suspected of the theft.

"If ti hadn't been for the prompt response from American Surveillance supervisors, an innocent person might have been indicted and charged with a crime," said a county source close to the investigation. "They acted quickly once they were told of the missing receipts from adult probation."

The stark night-and-day difference in the internal fiscal controls between the BISD and Cameron County were made all too clear with this case. It took the internal controls in the county only a week to discovered the theft. Once the thief was found and the money was accounted for, business went on as usual. But in the BISD, where it took six months to notice that $495 was missing, the reaction from the district was to cancel the armored-car contract without admitting its internal controls were deficient and remain so to this day. Was the cancelling the contract with the Brownsville company merely a show to cover up its own fiscal audit deficiencies?

What else could be missing in the district that it will take another six months to uncover?


Anonymous said...

BISD continues, every day, to prove that corruption exists and that management and security of tax dollars is questionable, at best. BISD continues to waste money and it seems that no one is ever held accountable. Poor management persists in BISD.

Anonymous said...

All of your headlines just cast doubt... your part of the media problem. If you have story and have done your homework then make the accusation and show the proof. otherwise you look like a pussy.

Anonymous said...

Now BISD is hung up over $495; but can't figure out how $31,000 worth of rings were handled for Porter High School's soccer champions????
We could probably find corruption in BISD on a daily basis and put it in a "Daily Waste of Tax Dollars in BISD" report. Why should BISD be any different than the city; no leadership and no respect for tax dollars. But alas, citizens don't care and won't take any action. We don't just accept corruption, we demand corruption here.

chuy said...

juan your amiga Melissa landin got fired from harlingen on Friday, chuy

Anonymous said...

Pura caca tiene bisd. It took them that long to discover the money missing. Who do they have auditing their books. Look at how much money Leticia Arreola took before bisd discovered that she was stealing the money. Now she sits serving her federal sentence in Bryan TX. Fire the bookkeeper... Maybe he/she is pocketing money too...

Anonymous said...

Is Don De Leon getting the new contract ?

CC Voter said...

Of course! BISD has a lot to hide! A word to the Feds, its time for you all to investigate the corruption THAT we all know is going on in that district!