Former Basketball Coach Owes School District Almost $8K for Botched Fundraiser

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Columbus – A former basketball coach of the Northwest Local School District is on the hook for nearly $8,000 related to a fundraiser he mismanaged during 2016. 

A state audit of the Hamilton County school district reports that Bernard Caldwell, former coach of the Colerain High School girls basketball team, held the fundraiser without the district’s knowledge and failed to follow its policies for fundraising and record keeping. 

“As public employees, we don’t get to pick and choose which policies to follow,” Auditor Yost said. “Anyone who feels differently must be prepared to assume responsibility for the outcome of their actions.”

Caldwell ordered 400 coupon books from Great American Savings in August 2016 and agreed to give the company half of the proceeds from the sale of each $25 book. The district caught wind of the fundraiser in February 2017 when the company requested a $5,100 payment that it never received from Caldwell. The amount included a $100 late fee. 

Caldwell admitted to investigators that he did not keep accurate records of sales or an inventory of merchandise, and he never returned the unsold coupon books to the company. Using special audit procedures, auditors determined that the team sold 267 of the coupon books. Caldwell returned 34 of the books to the district during the investigation, leaving 99 that are still unaccounted for. 

Records show that $1,940 in check payments from the fundraiser were submitted to the Colerain Boosters, who spent the money on items for the girls basketball team. The boosters repaid that amount to the district in May 2017.

Caldwell claimed he deposited cash proceeds onto a prepaid debit card that he used to make purchases for the team. Although he told investigators he still had the card, he never responded to their requests for an account number or records detailing his spending. 

Auditors issued a $7,735 finding for recovery against Caldwell for the amount owed to the district.

A full copy of this report is available online.


The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies.  Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.

Beth Gianforcaro
Press Secretary