According to the Arizona Republic;
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office descended on the Deer Valley Unified School District on Wednesday morning, leading to the closure of the district office.
A special investigation team with the Attorney General’s Office served a search warrant for records related to the district’s dealings with Valley Schools Management Group, according to school board member Christy Agosta.
The investigators also served a search warrant on Valley Schools, which has offices about 2 miles away from the Deer Valley district office in north Phoenix.
Attorney General’s Office spokesman Steve Wilson said he could offer no details on the searches. But an investigator with a holster at his side combed through a box of district documents Wednesday morning, after officials closed the office and sent most employees home.
Schools in metro Phoenix contract with Valley Schools for certain functions, such as handling construction projects and managing insurance pools. The group, which negotiates employee benefits for more than 20 districts, is overseen by an executive board that includes two Deer Valley school board members, Tom Boone and Bill Maas.
The Attorney General’s Office first requested documents last year to look into a possible conflict of interest involving district contracts awarded to Valley Schools. Similar document requests to the district and Valley Schools have continued over the past 18 months.
Agosta said she’s been concerned about some of the services Valley Schools has been providing the district and the potential conflicts of interest for Boone and Maas.
“I’ve been waiting to hear back from the AGs office for some time,” Agosta said.
But Maas said he was unclear what the Attorney General’s Office was after on Wednesday.
“Everyone wants to know what’s up, but I won’t jump to any conclusions,” said Maas, who is president of the Deer Valley school board.
Boone, chief executive of Valley Schools, did not return phone calls to The Republic.
John Hartsell, a spokesman for Valley Schools, issued a statement criticizing the raid. He said it compromised the group’s ability to serve its member districts. And he questioned the motives.
“Considering the ongoing cooperation VSMG has shown and the timing of this action so close to the end of the attorney general’s term in office, VSMG cannot help but question the motives for today’s heavy-handed action,” Hartsell said.
Wednesday’s raid on the district did not close any of the district 37 schools, which stretch from northern Glendale to Anthem.
Investigators showed up at 8:15 a.m., 45 minutes after the district office opened.
About 75 employees, from budget personnel to the superintendent, were working when state investigators arrived. District officials sent all but a dozen home.
Deer Valley spokeswoman Sandi Hicks said the employees couldn’t work while the Attorney General’s Office executed the warrant.
The investigation did “interrupt the district’s ability to serve schools and the community as we typically do,” Hicks said.
She said that the closure did not affect students. Automated phone calls went out Wednesday afternoon to parents and employees about the situation and to inform them the district office would reopen today.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2010/12/16/20101216dvag1216.html#ixzz18O8a19zj