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Some prominent figures caught up in the Seattle Public Schools financial scandal denied wrongdoing Wednesday, after they were identified by state auditors as vendors involved in "questionable uses" of public funds.

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Johnson said he found about 15 to 20 workers, and they attended a two hour class twice a week for three months to learn procedures they needed to know to get jobs in the Seattle district.

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Johnson said Potter gave him a check for about $2,500 to $3,500 for his work, but later asked for about half the money back in cash, telling him, "I will make it up to you." Johnson said he gave the money back.

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"I have no comment," Rolland said to that assertion.

According to the audit, the school district's program, which started several years ago and operated until it was shut down last fall, became a loosely run operation in which outside contractors sometimes were paid for services that weren't provided and, as the district scaled back the program, its manager diverted district funds into a privately run organization offering similar services, according to the audit.

David Johnson, head of the agency, said he received $2,500 to $3,500 for his work and that the classes did take place.

In another case, the vendor flatly challenged the audit.

Rolland said he believed the program had been successful in spending more contracting dollars on minority and small businesses and had saved public money by increasing competition for school contracts. "The part that's not being told is that this was a highly successful program," Rolland said.

Johnson said he was hired by Potter about two years ago to find small, independent business owners janitors, framers and other construction workers who wanted to work for Seattle Public Schools.

Under one contract, Sonntag said vendors, including Rolland, billed for two to three hours of work for meetings that lasted just 1.5 hours. Rolland said he probably did that, because he performed related work before the meetings and afterward.

"I welcome any inquiry about my participation or performance," Rye said.

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contracts highlighted by auditors, disputed the audit's characterization of their work.

Rye, like Rolland, was cited as billing the district for more hours than spent at meetings. And like Rolland, he said he worked with officials before and after the actual meetings.

School district staff members said the database wasn't working when they received it, according to Sonntag. Auditors contend the database contained only a list of student names and identifying information.

The district paid Rolland $6,000 in another contract, Sonntag says, to create a database for the small business program's hiring and apprenticeship efforts.

The state did not audit the vendors, and no one is accusing them of wrongdoing, emphasized state Auditor Brian Sonntag's spokeswoman, Mindy Chambers.

Rolland said he had not seen Potter whom auditors have been unable to locate for more than a year. "I don't believe Silas was doing anything to benefit himself personally. I think his objective was to help small businesses. If he violated school district policies, I don't think it was malicious."

The audit reported that the Louboutin Clutch district paid $163,175 to Grace of Mercy, a Tacoma nonprofit, "for instructional services on dates when no classes were taught."

Former state Democratic Party Chairman Charles Rolland and former Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle President James Kelly, who both worked on school Christian Louboutin Wedding Shoes Price

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The audit found that Seattle Public Schools spent up to $1.8 million on contract work that was never done or didn't benefit the school system. The irregularities, according to the audit, center on a school district program that helped small businesses, primarily female and minority owned companies, compete for contracts with the district and other government agencies.

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"I stand by the work," Rolland said about one of the Christian Louboutin Uk Store

According to the auditor, Rolland, who has worked as an advocate for minority businesses, was involved with three contracts that were questionable.

Rolland on Wednesday denied being one of the vendors involved in such work. "I didn't testify or lobby," he said, adding he didn't recall meeting with any legislators on school district business.

In a third contract, auditors reported, Rolland and several other vendors were paid for meetings with state legislators and for testifying on legislation.

Sonntag's report said the district paid $25,000 to the Urban League for a software subscription fee to a database designed to match small business owners with general contractors. But the Urban League reported that the database didn't work and district employees said they never used it, instead preferring another system, auditors said.

Two other vendors known for their work advocating minority contracting opportunities, Eddie Rye Jr. and Ralph Ibarra, insisted they did nothing wrong.

In an interview Wednesday, Kelly, who resigned from the Urban League last month, emphasized that any official Urban League response should come from acting director Tony Benjamin, who did not return a message.

than he charged for.

But, Kelly said he didn't know why the district didn't use the software. He said it could have been helpful, though it was still "in development."

Ibarra was identified in the audit for a lack of precision in how his work was billed. He maintains that he never overbilled the schools and that he sometimes did more work Christian Louboutin Pigalle Vs So Kate

contracts he had with the school district. "Do I think I cheated the district or public out of money? No."

Kelly stressed the audit had nothing to do with his departure from the league, where he still does consulting work. "Not at all," he said. "I needed to refocus. I had a stroke and a divorce."

´╗┐Vendors named by auditors say they did no wrong

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