OMAHA (KPTM)- One man who was once a trusted official is now is being accused of stealing thousands of dollars. James Clark, former financial director of the Westside Community School district now faces charges of federal embezzlement.
"It seems like Westside, the 66 district, is just going farther and farther out of control," said Westside Warrior alumni Carl Jennings.
That's what many people in District 66 are saying now-a days. This after word spread that Clark is being accused of stealing over $160,000 in school funds.
"It's just too many dark secrets going on in 66 and it needs to be opened up. It needs to be complete clarity of what's happening for the future, for our children's future," said Jennings.
Clark is being accused of taking the money between 2004 and 2010 while he was still in office. He was fired in May 2010 when the allegations first started to pop up.
"As the U.S. attorney's office has indicated, this matter is now being addressed through the judicial process. We want to honor that process and will continue provide whatever information and assistance we can to the prosecuting authorities," said Westside communications director, Peggy Rupprecht.
But a statement from Clark's attorney, Steven E. Achelpohl, says Clark is denying all of the allegations. In it he says, "We look forward to the opportunity to air all the facts in this case, which include evidence that records which would tend to show Mr. Clark's innocence were destroyed by personnel of District 66."
Westside officials would not comment on these claims.
According to the indictment, some of the many purchases in question come from Nebraska Furniture, Sam's Club, Petsmart and Hy-Vee.
Clark is also being accused of purchasing a subscription to a pornography web site, cashing almost $13,000 of district checks and depositing them into his personal bank account. Along with $10,000 worth of gasoline towards his own vehicle, which Clark was already being reimbursed for, by the district.
Prosecutors said in the indictment that, every month, Clark gave himself "extra checks" using funds from Westside's Early Childhood program, claiming to be for work he did with the program. The checks totaled to over $21,000 in about a five-year span. He's also being accused of issuing a Discover Card to himself and paying off the bill with school funds.
Alumni like Jennings said this causes damage to more than just the community.
"All these kids they see this type of things that they get away with. It just sends the wrong message," said Jennings.
"We've implemented numerous suggestions such as hiring an additional accountant to segregate financial duties, we have restricted check signing privileges, and we've also limited access to district credit cards," said Rupprecht.
All of this to ensure something like this never happens again.
Clark will have his first day in court November 14th.