The State Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury released a report Tuesday of an investigation of misuse of fees and fundraisers by a former Rock Springs Middle School football and golf coach.
The comptroller initiated the investigation after officials with Rutherford County Schools reported possible missing funds. The results of the investigation were sent to the office of the District Attorney General of the 16th Judicial District.
The investigation determined that the school’s former football and golf coach, Ryan Trotter, kept $8,045 of team funds for his personal use rather than giving them to the school bookkeeper to deposit in the school’s bank account, the comptroller’s office said.
James Evans, communications director for RCS, issued this statement:
“In November 2018, Rutherford County Schools placed Ryan Trotter — a teacher and football coach at Rock Springs Middle School — on unpaid suspension following allegations of financial irregularities with athletic fundraisers. The irregularities were identified by members of the district’s accounting staff.
“The district then notified the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, which is standard procedure, so it could investigate the situation. The school district fully cooperated with the investigation, as needed.
“Mr. Trotter ultimately resigned from his position.
“The comptroller’s office has now announced charges against Mr. Trotter, who is no longer employed by Rutherford County Schools. The school district also plans to pursue the legal costs for the investigation incurred by the Board’s attorney, in addition to the funds taken by Trotter.”
The comptroller’s office said investigators confirmed with parents and other individuals the amounts they paid to Trotter for football and golf activities.
From Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2018, Trotter misappropriated football player fees totaling at least $5,540, retaining the collections for his personal use, the report said. Trotter failed to record the collected fees on the required collection forms he submitted to the bookkeeper, effectively concealing his misappropriation.
During the period July 1-Oct. 31, 2018, Trotter misappropriated football fundraiser collections totaling at least $2,205, retaining the funds for his personal benefit.
During the period July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, Trotter misappropriated golf player fees totaling at least $300, retaining the fees for his personal benefit.
Trotter admitted to investigators that he retained football and golf collections without the knowledge of school officials and that he used these funds for his personal benefit. Trotter resigned from employment with Rutherford County Schools effective Nov. 30, 2018.
On Dec. 2, 2019, the Rutherford County Grand Jury indicted Ryan Trotter on one count of Theft over $2,500.
“The former coach had a responsibility to provide the money he collected to the school bookkeeper and keep adequate records,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “The failure to do these things created a greater risk for this theft to go undetected. I am pleased to note that school officials have said they’re working to correct these deficiencies.”