Former board president responds to Hickman Mills audit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - An exclusive interview with 41 Action News reveals what the man at the center of the harsh Hickman Mills School District audit has to say two days after it was made public.

Crews have tried to reach Bremen Anderson since the Hickman Mills School District audit was presented to the board Tuesday night. At his home Thursday evening, he explained that although the district has been called out for multiple offenses, there is more to the story.

The reports states Hickman Mills School District officials spent tens of thousands of dollars on travel to popular destinations, meals, flowers, bath products and other expenditures that were unnecessary or frivolous.

It goes on to say the board failed to follow its own policies, did not track capital expenditures and often didn't have a good accounting of assets. 

The board was under the leadership of former state representative Bonnaye Mims for part of that time.

"The overall majority of it does not reflect my time period as president," Anderson said. "I walked into a situation where I became president of a declining school district. There were 12 or 13 years of constant decline in student performance."

When asked again if he knew anything about the district’s problems before coming on as president he said, “Correct. I found out while I was in the position.”

Anderson was president of the board from April of 2012 until May of 2013.

The report does name him directly several times, mainly for choosing to use a more expensive contractor in a “closed” meeting to hire now district Superintendent Dennis Carpenter. Anderson said he did not know he was doing anything wrong.

"We took some pretty unorthodox solutions, but the outcome is considered to be favorable with regards to recruiting a superintendent, bringing in new administrators the whole nine yards," Anderson said.

He said he is confident Carpenter is cleaning up the problems and looks forward to running for re-election in April.

Mims could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

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