SLED investigation involves former Charleston Co. principal accused of mismanaging money

VIDEO: SLED investigation involves former Charleston Co. principal accused of mismanaging money

HOLLYWOOD, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has opened an investigation involving former Baptist Hill Middle High School Principal Vanessa Brown who is accused of mismanaging money and breaking procedure.

Some Charleston County School District 23 Constituent Board members asked for this investigation and said in their letter to SLED that they “received numerous complaints from citizens and parents of the Hollywood and surrounding areas of irregularities in the way money for school events was handled by the Principal, Vanessa Brown.”

Brown has since denied all of the accusations.

“This ridiculous accusation is a continuation and example of the lies and preposterous treatment I endured over the past five years. I look forward to SLED conducting a thorough investigation just as I welcomed CCSD’s previous audit,” Brown said. “While I hate this process wasting time and resources much needed elsewhere, I know it will finally let the community and general public learn the truth and clear my name and reputation.”

The letter to SLED stated the high school’s homecoming and other athletic events were a viable source of income for the school.

“Reports from eyewitnesses verified the inconsistencies in how funds were collected, receipted, and taken to the bank,” the letter stated. “Additionally, the principal’s husband was involved in collecting funds during the 2017-19 homecoming events. These activities and other athletic events do not adhere to CCSD policy procedure regarding the collection of school funds.”

SLED opened its preliminary inquiry in February, according to spokesperson Tommy Crosby. Investigators have since opened a full investigation.

“We need answers for this,” constituent board member Charles Glover said. “We are not saying she stole the money, we just want accountability. There is no accountability here, so we need to know: Where exactly did this money go?”

The letter also claimed the board wrote to Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait and Board Chair Rev. Dr. Eric Mack with their concerns but stated they have no record of a response from anyone.

“CCSD has investigated accusations raised by the District 23 Constituent Board members over the past two years, but there have been no findings or evidence of wrongdoing,” school district spokesperson Andy Pruitt said.

“It was truly an honor and a pleasure to serve the students at Baptist Middle High School for the past five years. During that time, Baptist Hill Middle High School made impressive academic gains in student academic growth measures which moved the middle school from Below Average to Average, increased ACT scores and increased the number of students earning college credits through Trident Technical College,” Brown said. “But, in spite of all the positive gains made in the school culture and academic performance of our students, some members of the District 23 constituent board were extremely critical, accusatory, and difficult to work with.”

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