VCSC Board reacts to Fennell verdict; "unaware of any continuing investigative activities"

The Vigo County School Corporation issued a reaction to Franklin Fennell's conviction on Wednesday night.

Posted: Dec 14, 2017 4:58 PM
Updated: Dec 14, 2017 6:43 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - In a prepared statement, the Vigo County School Board said it "is unaware of any continuing investigative activities" by law enforcement into wrongdoings within the corporation, however, it also pledged to cooperate whenever there are any suspicions.


This statement came after News 10 requested comment from each board member and Superintendent Dr. Daniel Tanoos. All parties chose to offer a joint written statement, one Tanoos personally told News 10 we could expect.

The statement addresses the convictions of two former VCSC employees: Franklin Fennell, former facilities director, and Frank Shahadey, a former deputy from the Vigo Co. Sheriff's Office who served as a school liaison officer: "Once the Board learned of these facts that have led to two convictions, the Board swiftly terminated their employment."

It further states, "In convicting Fennell, the jury rejected his attempt to blame others, including Superintendent Dr. Tanoos. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI have confirmed that there is no evidence that Dr. Tanoos had knowledge of or was involved in Fennell and Shahadey’s scheme."

The statement also reads that the board is very proud of the employees who came forward and informed law enforcement of Fennell's and Shahadey's scheme. At Fennell's trial, current facilities director Rick Long testified he suspected there was some sort of scheme involving inflated invoices from M&P Properties.

He took his concerns to an investigator with the State Board of Accounts, who asked the FBI to take over the investigation. Chuck Zimmerman of VCSC Facilities also testified at the trial.

The statement concludes as one would expect: "The School Corporation looks forward to moving past this difficult time and returning to focusing on what matters most—the education of our children."

Tanoos declined an on-camera interview. Board members Mel Burks and Paul Lockhart inquired to News 10 about whether we received their statement, which was handled by board president Tammy Pearson.

Full Statement Below: 

Statement on behalf of the Board of School Trustees of the Vigo County School Corporation:


Yesterday a jury convicted former Vigo County School Corporation employee Franklin Fennell. This conviction follows the guilty plea by former part-time employee Deputy Sheriff Frank Shahadey. Once the Board learned of these facts that have led to two convictions, the Board swiftly terminated their employment.

The Vigo County School Corporation applaud the hard-working men and women of federal law enforcement who have worked hard to address the intentional misuse of funds that should be used for children’s education. The School Corporation is also proud of employees who notified law enforcement of Franklin Fennell and Frank Shahadey’s unlawful activities.

In convicting Fennell, the jury rejected his attempt to blame others, including Superintendent Dr. Tanoos. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI have confirmed that there is no evidence that Dr. Tanoos had knowledge of or was involved in Fennell and Shahadey’s scheme.

Although the Board is unaware of any continuing investigative activities, the School Corporation will continue cooperating with our important law enforcement partners whenever there is any suspicion of wrongdoing.

The School Corporation looks forward to moving past this difficult time and returning to focusing on what matters most—the education of our children.

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