Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A school board member for Park Forest-Chicago Heights District 163 was invoiced by the district and paid back over $1,500 in personal charges either he or his wife made using a district “P-Card” or purchasing credit card. School Board member Randall White, current Vice President of the SD 163 school board, racked up $1,562.92 in personal charges beginning in May of 2021, according to documents received by eNews Park Forest through a Freedom of Information Request to the Business Office of District 163.
Is it common that board members make personal expenses on district P-Cards, or were these charges by Mr. White an exception? According to David Ricker, Chief School Business Official for School District 163, “It is not common for board members to make charges of that nature and receive an invoice.”
The district invoiced Mr. White on May 26, 2021, for $149.04; $75.49 on November 12, 2021 — these for exceeding his daily allotment “per Board policy,” the invoice says; and invoiced January 19, 2022 for $1,338.39 — this invoice reflects $1,000 payment received on April 25, 2022.
Another payment of $413.88 by Mr. White is recorded by the district on April 27, 2022. That, along with an earlier payment of $149.04 on June 29, 2021, represents payment in full for all personal charges made by Mr. White.
Mr. White told eNews Park Forest that his wife accidentally used the district’s P-Card to purchase an air machine and two canisters “to save my life.” According to Mr. White, he contracted COVID-19 and spent five months in the hospital, “three of those months going back and forth.” He said he is a COVID long-hauler, that the virus caused a collapsed lung, he developed high blood pressure and additionally suffers from diabetes.
“I spent $35,000 total on total life savings on medical bills,” Mr. White said.
“No, there is no $30,000 worth of purchases associated with me or any P-Card associated with School District 163 that I used,” Mr. White said. “My wife used the wrong card. The moment I found out that the wrong card was used, I issued payments back towards it. I would have paid it back immediately but I spent all of my money on trying to save my life.”
“It was paid back in full,” Mr. White said.
Documentation supplied by District 163 does show two purchases to Oximedical for $280 and $895 on January 14, 2022. There is one additional charge on January 17, 2022 for $50 to the Dupage Medical Group.
However, this same invoice (#2022-45) also shows a charge of $113.39 on January 13, 2022, to Dick’s Sporting Goods. While Dick’s does sell medical and first aid kits for camping and sports, it does not sell the type of medical equipment described by Mr. White.
There are also charges from an invoice dated much earlier, May 25, 2021 (#2021-30) that show “Personal charges on district P-Card” for Fuse Salon for $108.00 and Fat Rosie’s for $41.04. These charges were made on May 13, 2021.
Fat Rosie’s Taco & Tequila Bar is in Frankfort, as is FUSE Salon & Spa. Fat Rosie’s offers, “Mexican eats & cocktails served in an upbeat, festive setting with whimsical decor & outdoor seats.” Besides salon services, FUSE offers waxing, lash & brow enhancements, and massages. Neither establishment sells medical equipment.
A third invoice from November 12, 2021 (#2022-032) shows that Mr. White exceeded his “daily allotment for food charges at the 2021 CUBE conference,” the National School Board Association’s annual conference that was held in Atlanta, Georgia, from September 16-18, 2021. This is the invoice where Mr. White exceeded his “allowable daily allotment per Board policy” of $125 by $75.49. These were charges for September 16, 2021, and included $16.86 spent at AMC Phipps Plaza 14, a movie venue; $33.92 spent at Lyfe Atlante Lavie, a nightclub and restaurant; $12.50 spent at Rocks Chicken & Fries, and $137.21 spent at Westin Peachtree Dining.
Documentation from the district does confirm that all of Mr. White’s personal charges were paid back after he had been invoiced.