Deconstructed: 'SPOYLD' money man

Deconstructed: 'SPOYLD' money man

The Examiner first reported on BISD Director of Finance Devin McCraney in July of this year, when it was revealed that the BISD money man had made hundreds of thousands of dol­lars worth of improvements to his home, paying cash to an unknown contractor for the work performed while, at the same time, skirting city of Beau­mont building codes. He was subsequently forced to tear down a large portion of his newly renovated home and ordered to pay fines by the city of Beaumont.

According to records from the Jefferson County Apprais­al District (JCAD) and the city of Beaumont, McCraney failed to file for a single construction permit to account for adding more than 2,000 square feet (not including an in-ground pool, steel fencing, multiple garages, and lighted pool awning) to his home since the time he purchased the home valued at $125,000 at the end of 2010, thereby dodging the additional property taxes that accompany additional proper­ty. JCAD Chief Appraiser Roland Bieber said the con­struction, if reported, would have roughly doubled the school administrator’s tax bill, the lion’s share of which is school taxes that pay McCraney’s public servant salary. Bieber explained that appraisers had not re-evaluat­ed McCraney’s home since it was purchased without any mortgage in 2010 due to there being no record of change to the noted residence. Since The Examiner first contacted JCAD, the agency has since re-evaluated the home, result­ing in additional property tax­es invoiced due to the county. Additionally, city of Beau­mont officials forced McCraney to tear down por­tions of his home constructed without permit; the BISD finance director, currently on administrative leave while the focus of an FBI probe, is in the process of reconstructing the new construction.

Beiber said that according to JCAD records, McCraney’s Avie Lane home was appraised at $125,690, taxed at $2,932 in 2012. However, prior to the end of 2012, McCraney’s home had expanded by square footage to hold a value of over $200,000 based on size alone, to be taxed at roughly $4,800. Other improvements have been made since Jan. 1 of this year to reach a square-foot-based value of the home of more than $210,000, taxed in an excess of $5,000.

With a reported annual sal­ary of $75,500, since Decem­ber 2010, McCraney not only paid outright for a $125,000 home but doubled the size of his home and also paid off his wife’s $79,000 Travis Street home. Just months prior to the land acquisition, McCraney let a separate home in Louisiana that was mortgaged to the full­est extent go into foreclosure. Also in the last couple of years, McCraney and wife, Traci, acquired several new model vehicles, most of which were purchased without any lien holder and a couple of which hold personalized license plates such as “SPOYLD” and “DA MRS.”

Vehicles registered to the McCraney couple include a 2011 GMC Denali valued at $56,315 purchased in June 2011 with no lien-holder; a 2011 King Ranch truck valued at $30,155 purchased in Octo­ber 2011; a 2011 Chrysler 200 valued at $31,940 purchased without a lien in July 2012; a 2011 Nissan Murano convert­ible valued at $46,390 pur­chased in July 2012; and a 2006 Cadillac purchased for $41,990 with no lien in August 2012.

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Comments

Independent Audits

Know this will be quite controversial with some, but maybe, for a change, but try someone like Price Waterhouse, Deloiitte & Touche, or Arthur Andersen, instead of local yokels. The Finance Director apparently illegally spent more of the district's money on his and his wife's homes and their cars than retaining one of these firms would have cost.

Outside audit

A school district of this size should certainly use a Big 4 Accounting firm as it's outside auditors. It should be a requirement by the Board. To go with the lowest bidder, who happens to be a local minority firm isn't a prudent business decision. We've all heard the saying, "You get what you pay for." In the case of an external audit, a low bid means less billable hours, which means less work performed. Not to say that there aren't reputable local firms. There most certainly are. BUT they are not scrutinized the way the Bog 4 firms are. They don't recruit the top graduating accountants and they don't spend a fortune on their continuing education programs. When you hire a Big 4 Firm, you know that qualified CPAs are performing and/or reviewing the work on multiple levels.

Even so, what good is an audit report or a management letter from a Big 4 firm if their suggestions will just be ignored by the administration and the Board? They've been told that there were issues with activity funds, AND YET, they still kept unqualified individuals in key positions. In fiscally prudent companies, restructuring would occur and policies and procedures would have been implemented to correct areas of weakness, like cash controls.

Director of Finance Credentials

Again, by using the "Licensee Lookup" function on the website of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, it is clear that he is NOT a CPA in the state of Texas. Shouldn't this be a requirement for this level of position? It is with other local companies.

BISD should WANT someone that holds this designation and is required to complete ethics courses every two years, as this license requires.

They should be held

They should be held accountable. I'm still wondering how they got all of those top ratings for their finances. Maybe the people who came to audit have some type of close connection to BISD.

Troubling questions

Just a few 'troubling questions' are :

(1) Why didn't any prior BISD audits by outside firms not find any inappropriate activities?

(2) Why didn't any prior BISD audits provide any significant observations/findings that should have been implemented to adhere to general accepted accounting procedures (GAAP) ?

(3) Are the prior BISD audits provided by outside firms able to held accountable? Will they be held accountable?

Outside Audits

The outside "independent" accounting firm is based in Port Arthur, TX. I question the size of the firm, the number of CPAs employed, and their ability to handle the size of the BISD audit. I further question their "independence."

Further, what are the credentials of the two financial employees? Are either of them Certified Public Accountants? Do they even hold degrees in Accounting? What interview process was followed when they were hired and who approved their hiring?

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