Four months after resigning as coordinator of a career-training program for the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, Donald Taylor found himself in jail, accused of stealing more than $9,100 worth of iPads and other equipment from the district.
The 49-year-old resident of Clinton was booked on Oct. 28 into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a count of felony theft. Taylor is a former employee of the District Attorney’s Office in East Feliciana Parish and ran unsuccessfully for parish sheriff in fall 2007.
Taylor spent six years as a grants manager for Jobs for America’s Graduates, or JAG, before he resigned. JAG is a federally funded program aimed at preventing teenagers from dropping out of school and also prepares them for careers after graduation.
According to Taylor’s arrest warrant, soon after his last day of work on July 16 a school principal discovered some missing items, including two iPads and a printer, and contacted Taylor’s old office as well as law enforcement, who in turn contacted Taylor and directed him to return the missing items.
Taylor returned about $3,000 worth of equipment, according to school officials. But some returned items had been missing for years and were unrelated to those the principal had flagged. At the same time, the school system conducted a property inventory, which revealed that $9,116 worth of items were still missing, according to the warrant.
Unable to reach Taylor despite several phone calls, the school system contacted the Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 3. Unable to arrange its own meeting with Taylor, deputies issued an arrest warrant Oct. 27 and arrested him the next day.
The missing equipment was noted briefly in the school system’s annual audit, conducted by Postlethwaite & Netterville and completed in November, but Taylor’s arrest is not mentioned. The Legislative Auditor on Monday released the audit, covering the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Mike Schexnayder, a partner with Postlethwaite & Netterville, said the school system made no mention to his auditors as they were finishing the audit that an arrest had been made. He said, though, that since the amount missing was less than $10,000, federal accounting rules do not require that it be noted as a finding that would raise doubts about the school’s financial controls.