KC investigates 'missing funds'

College fires one employee, details limited in ongoing case


A Kilgore College employee was terminated after officials discovered that money was missing from the school.

Funds, believed at the time of a KC press release to be less than $6,000, were found to be missing following a routine internal process.

The unnamed employee was terminated from the college in late May “as a result of the initial discovery,” according to the Thursday evening release.

The Kilgore College Police Department is reportedly working with the Gregg County District Attorney’s office and an external auditor to investigate the situation.

Chris Craddock, the college’s spokesman, said Friday morning he had no additional updates on the situation.

Four terminations were included in the consent agenda of Kilgore College’s June 19 regular board meeting. The positions included are Lead Accounts Payable Specialist (effective April 20, 2017), Assistant Housing Director and Assistant Women’s Softball Coach (effective May 19, 2017), Support Specialist-Cashier, Business Office (effective May 22, 2017) and Director of Student Activities and Residential Life (effective June 19, 2017).

College spokesperson Chris Craddock could not specifically identify if any of the terminations were related to the investigation, but quoted the press release statement that the referenced termination occurred in late May.

Larry Woodfin, president of the Kilgore College Board of Trustees, said he could not comment further on the situation.

“That has been the Gregg County DA, and the Texas Rangers are investigating that and that is an ongoing investigation,” he said. “I can’t say anything about it.”

The information will be available to the public at some point, he continued, but he did not know when specifically because he did not know the status of the investigation.

“It’ll be public information when it’s finished,” Woodfin said, noting the college will make the ensuing document available at that time.

Kilgore College President Brenda Kays said in the press release, “Certain matters are still under investigation, and it would not be appropriate to comment further until those inquiries are complete.”

Other board members reflected this statement with many saying they could not comment on the situation or did not know the information to be able to comment.

In an emailed statement, KC Board Vice President Brian Nutt said, “I have complete confidence in Dr. Brenda Kays leadership of Kilgore College. We hired her as President/CEO at a time when the college was struggling. Change is inevitable and her recommendations on resignations, early retirement, dismissal and hiring have been on target. I am confident that this president will not stand in the way of any investigation, of any kind, but will allow it to run its full course as law enforcement advises.

“This is a great time to serve on the board of Kilgore College and it is a great time to see the success of students at this institution prioritized. Students first, all else will have to fall into place.”

KC trustee Cecelia Sanders echoed this sentiment saying they “just need to let everything play out” while the investigation continues.

KC Board Secretary Karol Pruett explained the board does not discuss “personnel issues and we certainly don’t discuss investigations,” and did not comment further.

Trustees Bob Heath and Scott Andrews referred any questions to the college staff.

“It’s just not something that I really have anything that I could share with you,” Andrews said Friday morning. “They’re doing an investigation, and I think we’re just waiting on the outcome of that.”

Trustees James Walker and Joe Carrington did not return requests for comment, and the News Herald was unable to reach trustee Lon Ford.