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A look back at 2012: School audit alleges misuse of funds

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By VINCE LUECKE
Editor
CANNELTON – A Cannelton City Schools audit released in August painted a damning picture of the actions of former Schools Superintendent Marion “Al” Chapman, who allegedly showered himself with more than $200,000 in extra pay while the school district was cutting positions and struggling to pay its everyday bills.

Fired in January, Chapman has been asked to pay back more than $600,000 covering not only salary that was in excess of his contract but reimbursements for expenses for which there are no records and more than $300,000 in a gift from a former Cannelton man’s estate that was used to pay school expenses instead of being preserved for future generations of students.
No criminal charges were filed but the state’s attorney general filed a suit against Chapman in an effort to recoup the money.   
After changes of venue and judge were granted, Special Judge Mark McConnell  is scheduled to oversee a hearing on the issue at 1 p.m. EST Jan. 29 in the Dubois Superior Court.
The report alleges Chapman paid himself $206,688 more than what was called for under terms of his contract.
The audit detailed the alleged misuse of a large gift to the school district.
On June 15, 2011, the school system received a $333,333 distribution from the Dorothy von Solbrig Income Trust. The gift came from a bequest made by the woman’s husband, Dr. Charles von Solbrig, who attended Cannelton Schools.
The money was to be deposited and interest would benefit the school system for many years. Chapman allegedly had the money placed in the school’s general fund, where it was used to pay bills.