Scranton School Board Asks D.A. to Investigate Possible Crimes

SCRANTON -- The Scranton school board has asked the Lackawanna County district attorney to look into whether anything criminal could have contributed to the school district's financial downfall.

This comes after a state audit uncovered wasteful spending that went on for years.

All nine members of the Scranton School Board sent a letter to the district attorney's office Wednesday.

D.A. Mark Powell's office says it is still reviewing the letter which centers on the school district's relationship with a mechanic that did maintenance on district vehicles for more than a decade.

Since Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale came to Scranton last year to list off some of the Scranton School District's financial problems, a lot has changed.

The school board has since voted to lay off 51 teachers in order to save money and now members are asking the Lackawanna County district attorney to look into any possible criminal behavior that led to the audit's findings.

The letter, delivered Wednesday says, in part:

"We owe it to the students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers of Scranton to seek justice for any illicit behavior that helped lead the district into the financial situation in which we find ourselves."

The letter focuses on one finding in particular centered around Danny's Garage on Elm Street in Scranton. Owner Dan Sansky was contracted to do work for the school district. Sansky and his wife received school health insurance for more than a decade.

The audit also found that proper accounting practices weren't followed when Sansky sent invoices to the school district.

"It's very specific to that finding but we would, of course, be open to anything that is found that might be addressing something that's still going on. Because, if there's stuff still going on in the district that shouldn't be, we've got to nip that in the bud and we've got to move forward because we have a lot of other fish to fry," said board member Paige Cognetti.

Cognetti helped write the letter sent to the district attorney. She doesn't know if anything criminal took place, but with a state receivership looming for the school district, it couldn't hurt to ask.

"Something like this matter is in the past, it troubles the people very much, it troubles us anytime that taxpayer money may have been used illicitly or just wasted, we've got to root that out," Cognetti said.

We reached out to District Attorney Mark Powell's office, and officials there say they have not yet decided whether to open an investigation. We also reached out to mechanic Dan Sansky, but have not heard back.