North Providence police to investigate questionable spending by former superintendent

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NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The town of North Providence is handing over the findings of an audit, which looked into the expenditures of the school district’s former superintendent, to police.

Former Superintendent Bridget Morisseau was placed on administrative leave in July, amid allegations she used a school department credit card to buy personal items. The school committee accepted her resignation a week after she was placed on leave.

The audit into Morisseau’s expenditures began in mid August. At that time, Eyewitness News obtained documents detailing some of the purchases Morisseau made with her taxpayer-funded credit card. The documents reveal thousands of dollars worth of questionable purchases, including $2,200 at a Connecticut Resort, $165 at a North Providence hair salon, and $79 on a dog booster seat.

Morisseau admitted she may have used the card in error, and her attorney told Eyewitness News back in August she expects to make restitution in full.

According to the documents, Morisseau spent more than $4,500 on personal items. She also racked up more than $2,500 in charges without receipts. In total, the documents indicate more than $7,000 worth of questionable purchases dating back to last year.

Mayor Charles Lombardi tells Eyewitness News the audit will be handed over to the North Providence Police Department Thursday morning.

“It’s like any other investigation with law enforcement. The next thing you might hear, if in fact some of these allegations are proven, people may be arrested,” Lombardi said. “That I can’t guarantee you at this point in time, but hands are off and they’ll take it from here.”

Lombardi would not elaborate on the contents of the audit, but said it showed thousands of dollars in taxpayer money were misspent by Morisseau.

“There were a number of questionable expenditures that need answers,” Lombardi explained.

Lombardi said the audit took longer than expected to complete because there were several missing receipts. He said the police investigation into Morisseau may also be lengthy.

The auditor was also looking into the expenses of former Finance Director John McNamee, who left the district earlier this past summer.

“We did have a finance director who should have been overseeing these expenditures, and I think that ball was dropped,” he said.

Lombardi wouldn’t say if the audit revealed that he played a role in Morisseau’s spending.

“We have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers, and I can tell them two things. Number one, the school department at this point in time is running full steam. And also, whatever advantage was taken of those taxpayers, they will be reimbursed,” Lombardi explained.

Eyewitness News reached out to Morisseau’s attorney, but had not yet heard back.

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