XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools Superintendent Dr. Doug Cozad is facing charges of illegal transaction of public funds and dereliction of duty.

According to court documents obtained by our partners at Xenia Daily Gazette, Cozad, 47, faces four counts of each charge regarding alleged actions during the district’s 2019 operating levy campaign. The charges were filed by John M. Uhl, fraud investigator for the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit, in the Xenia Municipal Court.

The documents claim Cozad was responsible for the language in a newsletter sent to the district and authorized the payment of government funds for its printing and mailing. Additionally, COZAD allegedly authorized the use of public funds to hire Allerton Hill Consulting to assist in “reviving and passing” another proposed operating levy which included a phone survey after the levy failed in May. According to court documents, more than $57,000 in public funds were used.

The charges say that “in or around March-April 2019, Douglas A. Cozad, the superintendent of Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local Schools, authorized the mailing of a newsletter to the public from the school district. Public funds were used to pay for the newsletter which prominently stated (in part) ‘An investment in our schools is an investment in our community’ adjacent to an announcement that the operating levy was on the May 7, 2019 ballot.”

The state also alleges that in the same time frame, the district board of education sent a letter — signed by then-board members Elizabeth Betz, David Carpenter, Kathy Kingston, and Virginia Slouffman — as part of a mailer to local residents, and included a picture of the board with the title “Continue the Excellence with the passes of Issue 4!” The charges also indicate that the mailer included another postcard regarding Issue 4 and payment was authorized by Cozad and the four board members.

Board President David Carpenter told the Xenia Daily Gazette he has “no reason to think anything of substance or substantial truth about it.”

2 NEWS has reached out to the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Board of Education and the Ohio Auditor of State for comment.

Cozad is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday, November 17 at 9 a.m.