Nathan Haymer

Advocate staff file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Southern University band director Nathan Haymer in his office in the Isaac Greggs Band Hall.

An audit by the Southern University System is questioning why about $300,000 in band camp and other fees wound up in the personal bank accounts of Nathan Haymer, the school's former band director.

The findings have been turned over to the offices of East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III and Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera, officials said Thursday.

Haymer was fired by the system's president on May 1 amid accusations that he requested kickbacks for the band to appear at an event for schoolchildren.

Haymer has denied the claims.

He could not be reached for comment Thursday on the latest issue.

Haymer's attorney, Karl Bernard of New Orleans, reviewed the audit after being asked to do so by a reporter.

Bernard said the report is based on incomplete information and that additional records are being compiled.

"I do believe, after having spoken with Mr. Haymer and based upon the information that has been provided to my office, that Mr. Haymer, his name will be cleared," Bernard added.

The audit says $300,459 collected from a high school band camps, fees for students to try out to become Dancing Dolls and fees paid by band members for the fall semester were found in two of Haymer's personal bank accounts.

The revenue covers the period from Jan. 1, 2015 to May 15, 2018.

The audit says $74,033 of the money has been accounted for as of July 30.

Officials are trying to account for the other $226,426.

Information gathered from Haymer's legal counsel on July 31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 2 was inconclusive, according to the report.

Bernard said his side has gathered bank statements to support Haymer's case but they are still collecting receipts.

"There are definitely some unorthodox methods used not just by Mr. Haymer but his employer," Bernard said. "But in the final analysis, Mr. Haymer's reputation will be intact."

Bernard added: "For anyone to conclude from the report that in fact Mr. Haymer has misappropriated funds I think is premature."

The investigation included the review of about 25,000 emails and financial activities of Haymer.

Haymer's firing earlier this year sparked controversy at the Southern Board of Supervisors meeting.

Some members of the band, known as the Human Jukebox, attended the gathering in a show of support for Haymer, who had held the job since 2014.

He is a 2001 graduate of the school.

The latest audit followed a narrower report issued by the school on May 2.

It focused on band appearances during Mardi Gras in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

"During the investigation, it was brought to the attention of the auditor that the 2018 annual high school summer band camp was about to begin and the location of where the band camp fees were deposited was not known," according to audit, which is dated Aug. 3.

"This was also the case for the fees associated with the Dancing Dolls tryouts and the fee existing band members pay when they return each fall," the review says.

Based on the recommendations of the initial report issued in May a wider probe was launched.

The president's decision to fire Haymer was sparked in part by a lawsuit filed in January.

According to the lawsuit, the owner of Baton Rouge-based Octagon Media alleged the band director backed out of band appearances after she declined to fulfill a "kickback" request.

Haymer said in May that he always took pride in being an ambassador for Southern University and that he never accepted kickbacks.

The audit says the school should seek restitution and strengthen controls over revenue from fee-based performances done on behalf of Southern.

Ray Belton, president and chancellor of the Southern University System, agreed with the recommendations.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.