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Published: Tuesday, 6/6/2006

Ex-official for Waite boosters is charged

A former band booster treasurer at Waite High School is facing grand theft and forgery charges after Toledo police said she took more than $12,000 from the organization and used some of the money to pay credit card and phone bills and Owens Community College, where her son is a student.

Melonie Ayers, 50, of 1521 Starr Ave., was arraigned yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court, where a preliminary hearing was set for July 12. She was released on a recognizance bond Saturday.

Ms. Ayers is accused of taking $12,268 between August, 2004, and March of this year through checks she didn't have permission to write and of paying a man $15 to forge an audit report on the organization for Toledo Public Schools in September.

The district received the report the day after the date on the audit, and Ms. Ayers allegedly paid the man under the table, Detective Victoria Woodard said. She said the audit claimed the band organization had $1,006 when it actually had $106.

Detective Woodard said Ms. Ayers had the authority to sign checks, but she also signed checks with the names of the organization's former treasurer and current president. She wrote checks to herself and to cash in addition to paying bills.

The police investigation began after the band director wondered why the group wasn't earning any income and spoke with the assistant principal of activities, the detective said.

She said Ms. Ayers also oversaw money brought in from concessions and fund-raisers for the band.

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