MACON — The investigation into former Meridian Superintendent Dan Brue has been handed over to the FBI.
Documents obtained by the Herald & Review reveal new specifics of the allegations against Brue, who abruptly resigned his position on July 26. Court documents show he has been accused of embezzling $250,000 through misappropriation of construction funds. Brue has not been charged with a crime in Macon County Circuit Court, records show.
A search and seizure warrant for his Apple iPhone X was issued on Oct. 18 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Long in Urbana. The warrant sought information stored on the phone, including bank records, information on Ideal Consulting and Construction Company and any communication regarding the alleged embezzlement, as well as evidence of who owned or used the device.
Attempts to reach Brue for comment have not been successful.
In the application for the search warrant, FBI Special Agent Brian Schenkelberg said the probable cause for the warrant was the Meridian district auditors, who received a tip from a district employee that led to their examination of district financial records. The auditors found the company called Ideal Consulting and Construction Services, which they said Brue had created, and invoices from that company that were submitted to the district and paid. According to the auditors' summary, Brue admitted to creating the invoices and depositing them into a PNC bank account in his name, using a mobile banking app on his phone.
According to the search warrant, the iPhone has been in the possession of the FBI since Aug. 15, when agents obtained it from a detective who had seized it with a search and seizure warrant from the Macon County Circuit Court. The federal search and seizure warrant was obtained to ensure that examination of the contents of the device would comply with the Fourth Amendment in every way.
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Meridian's school board named Andy Pygott, the district's middle school principal, to the position of superintendent in August.
Macon County Sheriff Tony Brown said that his department handed the investigation over to the FBI when the scope of the investigation expanded to Bement school district, where Brue was superintendent from 2009 to 2013, when he moved to Meridian.
“Because of the jurisdictional piece of it, including multiple communities and that's one of the reasons we gave the case to them,” Brown said. “We don't know what it might lead to, if it's more involved as far as corruption. They have the resources and partnerships.”
Bement Superintendent Sheila Greenwood told the Herald & Review in July that she had begun investigating possible improprieties in that district's records with the help of an administrative assistant and had passed the information they found on to law enforcement. She declined to characterize the nature of that information. She was not available for comment on Tuesday.
Brue presented a letter of resignation to the Meridian board on July 26 that read, in part: "I hope this notification will allow Meridian to find a replacement for my position in a timely manner. I apologize for putting the district in a poor light and hope that the district can move on from this ordeal. I will miss working with the employees of this district and it has been an honor working with them over the last several years."