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June 11, 2013

IU IV director racked up thousands on credit card

NEW CASTLE — Cecelia H. Yauger’s credit card expenses started growing three months after she was named Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV’s executive director.

Monthly charges on her Intermediate Unit-issued American Express card between late 2007 and early 2013 totaled more than $2,000 or $3,000 at times.

While some might have been legitimate business expenses and business trips that included other employees, other charges are being questioned by the IU IV board and a team of forensic auditors it has hired to scrutinize them.

Yauger had worked for the IU IV as director of special education for several years. She became assistant executive director in charge of special education, serving in that position for a few years before being named IU IV executive director July 1, 2007.

Acting executive director Angelo Pezzuolo said she did not have a unit-issued credit card before then.

Yauger resigned as executive director April 24 after her credit card expenses were questioned and scrutinized by the board and solicitor. The bills show she initialed the payment approvals herself regularly.

The board reviewed the bills, then conducted a hearing after Pittsburgh lawyer Antoinette Oliver of Meyer, Unkovic and Scott had submitted a request for information under the open records law, seeking Yauger’s credit card charges.

ATTORNEY HIRED

Yauger has secured Pittsburgh attorney Gene Tempesta, a New Castle native, as her legal counsel.

“I’ve known Cecelia Yauger for almost 50 years,” Tempesta said. “I’ve never known her to do anything wrong, ever. This whole thing is unfortunate for everybody.

“She served that organization 30 years and education for 35 years, and gave her life to all of this,” he continued. “For this to happen at this point, I’m not sure what to think, except that she was doing what the IU IV board asked her to do and she followed their policies.”

Regarding her having approved her own credit charges, he said, “There’s no policy to say otherwise. She was acting within policy, in my opinion.”

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