Affidavit Sheds New Light On BA Schools Probe

Thursday, February 19th 2009, 10:08 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- A police investigation continues into Broken Arrow Public Schools.  Police now suspect a storage unit was set on fire to destroy evidence of a possible bidding scheme by the school district.  The storage unit was rented by Air Assurance, the company BA Public Schools is accused of breaking the law to hire.

Could a smoking building hold the smoking gun in the police investigation into Broken Arrow Public Schools?

02/03/2009  Related Story: Broken Arrow Storage Building Fire

Investigators searched the storage unit and the district's main administrative building two weeks ago to find out.  It's in response to a December complaint the district was involved in a bidding scheme to give preferential treatment to heating and cooling company, Air Assurance.

The affidavit filed Thursday with the search warrant says ex-superintendent Dr. Jim Sisney provided dozens of documents to back up the allegation.  Sisney was ousted by the Broken Arrow School Board, in part for accusations he made about Air Assurance.

The affidavit says several Air Assurance bills were changed by hand.  And, two dozen documents showed the company billed the district before work was requested.

It's the paper trail that leads investigators back to the fire.  Investigators believe it was arson and they're looking for a man who was spotted right before the fire was discovered.

The affidavit says amidst the charred remains, police found invoices and purchase orders, some of them in boxes labeled BA Schools.

Police suspect someone was trying to destroy Air Assurance's copies of those documents and they think the same thing could have happened at the school district.

The affidavit says Dr. Gary Gerber asked an employee to give him all invoices and correspondences between the school district and Air Assurance, when he took over as superintendent.  That employee feared the destruction of the documents, so she copied them.

The report says if those copies at the school district match the ones nearly burned in the storage unit fire that may prove a crime was committed.

The News On 6 contacted Broken Arrow Public Schools to get Dr. Gerber's reaction, a spokesperson said: "It's hard to comment on something we haven't seen."  And "allegations by a former employee do not constitute fact."

The News On 6 also talked to the owner of Air Assurance, Mike Rampey.  He says most of the stuff was old and they hadn't even been in the storage facility in a couple of years.  But, he says he welcomes the police inspection, calling his company an open book.

Police have not charged or arrested anyone in connection with the investigation.