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Ovid-Elsie superintendent's personal use of district fuel not permitted, fees paid back to state

Ovid-Elsie Transportation Department gas tanks
Posted at 7:51 PM, Jul 27, 2022

OVID-ELSIE, Mich. — The investigation into Ovid-Elsie Area Schools Superintendent Ryan Cunningham's use of district fuel for his four personal vehicles over the past decade is complete. It found that, although this is not a legal practice, Cunningham did not knowingly violate any laws or policies.

Earlier this year, Cunningham was accused of inappropriately using Ovid-Elsie Area Schools fuel for his personal vehicles for several years, but he insisted when he became superintendent 12 years ago, he was told he was entitled to one tank of gas and one car wash per week.

"This was a past practice going back almost 20 years," Cunningham said. "It was something that was passed on to me, and I just continued the practice."

Ovid-Elsie Board of Education President Eric Jones said that due to the "gravity of this allegation," the board contacted third-party Recon Management to investigate the situation.

Jones announced last week that not only is the investigation complete, but it is also open to the public through a Freedom of Information Act request.

"Now that the District has discovered that this longstanding practice is not permitted, Dr. Cunningham has worked with the State of Michigan’s Treasury Department to pay all required fees, including monthly penalty and interest fees on taxes owed," Jones wrote in a statement. "The Board considers this matter resolved and looks forward to returning the focus to students."

Cunningham declined an interview at this time, so it's unclear exactly how much he had to pay the state treasury.

FOX 47 News is waiting for a FOIA request for the investigations findings to be fulfilled.

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