Berkeley County School District

Berkeley County School District school board has authorized its legal counsel to hire an auditing firm to conduct an internal investigatory audit of district finances.

The move comes in the wake of a federal investigation into the district’s former CFO. Brantley Thomas was terminated when detailed of the investigation became known to the district, but charges have not been filed. According to a school board statement, Thomas admitted to investigators to bilking nearly $400,000 since 2012.

During the Feb. 28 regular meeting of the board, the board approved allowing its legal counsel Smythe Whitley LLC to engage Cherry Bekaert auditing firm to forensically examine the district. A forensic audit is more detailed than the regular, annual audit government agencies are required to complete. Cherry Bekaert is one of the largest accounting firms in the nation.

The Berkeley Independent has sent a Freedom of Information Act request seeking disclosure of the cost of the audit and terms of the contract. Last year’s required annual audit of the district, which did not uncover the missing funds, was budgeted at $3,000.

The board authorized hiring the firm “on reasonable and customary terms and expects the accounting firm to report back through counsel.”