in Houston, Texas
Tornillo ISD chief Paul Vranish gets more time to respond to audit of expenses; new attorney to district has ties to Vranish
Friday, Mar 30, 2012, 12:17PM CST
By Steve Miller
clock

The besieged superintendent of the Tornillo Independent School District, accused of possible criminal activity in a preliminary audit by the Texas Education Agency, said he has received an extension for his response to the investigation, according to a story by El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA.

Paul Vranish, who denied the charges in the TEA audit in an interview this week, had told Texas Watchdog that he had filed the response by the March 27 deadline. When asked for a copy of that response, Vranish refused.

It turns out that he did not have a response. His answer to the audit is now due April 30.

The TEA audit accused Vranish of double-billing the district for travel expenses, buying electronic equipment without proper authorization and a number of other infractions. Vranish's wife, Marla, a counselor in the district, was also named in the TEA audit, though she was not accused of wrongdoing and the findings largely centered on her husband. The audit found that she used a personal card instead of a district-issued card to pay for expenses and that the district reimbursed her and her husband more than $117,000 last fiscal year.

The TEA ordered the school district to hire a forensic auditor to perform an audit on the reimbursements of Vranish and his wife for the years 2006 to 2011. It also ordered the district to more closely monitor the reimbursements and expenses of Vranish.

In a meeting Thursday, the board approved the hiring of legal counsel outside that of the district's regular law firm. El Paso attorney S. Anthony Safi was formally approved and addressed the TEA audit.

Safi defended Vranish in a string of small claims cases that were dismissed in 2006, records show.

Marla Vranish is currently fighting a misdemeanor assault charge in an El Paso county court, records show. Her next hearing is April 3. Her attorney, Jim Darnell, did not return a call placed Friday morning.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of clock by flickr user simpologist, used via a Creative Commons license.

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Comments
minn
Wednesday, 04/04/2012 - 09:46AM

Wow.

Michelle
Wednesday, 04/04/2012 - 02:00PM

Wow! When it rains it pours on the Vranish's. I know Paul personally and, while he is extremely intelligent, he also possesses an enormous amount of hubris. He has always believed himself to be smarter than "the rest of us" and that accordingly, his actions would never catch up with him. It's amazing to me that no mention of how he left his last district (Buffalo ISD) is being mentioned. He carried close to a quarter of a million dollars out of that small place. Looks like he was planning to do it again but he got a little careless this time. Several of us have predicted jail time in this guy's future for some time now. Well .... we will see, I guess.

cowboy
Friday, 04/06/2012 - 08:11AM

@Michelle, do you know anything else about Paul you can tell us?

Real Talk
Friday, 04/06/2012 - 10:39AM

To my understanding, Mr. Vranish was not granted an extension by his board, and he lied to TEA that they did grant the extension. If true, more lies!

The Man
Friday, 04/06/2012 - 05:06PM

Hey Steve, Why don't you call TEA and ask them if he really was granted the extension. Then when and if they tell you they granted him the extension, call each Tornillo board member and ask them if they voted to give him the extension. You will find out that he did not recieve the O.K. from the board, for the extension. Then call Vranish back and ask him why the employees of the school district still get to use the wireless internet that was provided to the town, but was cut off.You are the only one he will give an interview to. But, be careful because I think he has lied to TexasWatchdog.com already???

Sunday, 04/29/2012 - 11:43PM

Extension denied, Vranish was seen later after meeting, very mad!!!!

Ricky Stanzy
Saturday, 05/05/2012 - 11:00AM

Steve, can you update us on this story?

EPISD
Wednesday, 05/30/2012 - 09:10PM

Safi's firm could not even produce a signed agreement from his firm and E.P.I.S.D. to show they were contracted to do work for E.P.I.S.D.. The people of Tornillo should not trust his audit. If Mr. Vranish is done with it, why doesnn't he fo public and release his findings to the public? Better yet do that at on of your famous parent chats. I think the last one had s total of 30 people, with some staged questions I heard!......this to shall pass Tornilloans, hang in there! Our savior Chente is in the saddle!!!

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