We are excited to hear that Alex’s story is finally receiving some coverage in the East TN local news. As of today, two outlets (the Oak Ridger and the Knoxville News Sentinel) have run stories. Both stories stem from records that the Oak Ridge Schools released to the press yesterday. We received a letter on Wednesday from the current superintendent, Dr. Bruce Borchers informing us that they would be releasing some specific files that we’d been trying to access for nearly three years. Those files include two boxes of emails, an audit that was conducted after Alex’s death and some sparse phone records.
We do not have access to the emails at this time as they are physically located in Tennessee but Dr. Borchers did send us a copy of this audit letter. Though some of the statements may be open to interpretation, we are relieved to finally have this critical document in our possession for a number of reasons.
First, we can now definitively quash the rumor that Alex had been embezzling money. As we discussed in our letter to the FBI, the 2010 audit that Alex had signed off on was amended by nearly $1,000,000 after his death. This document confirms what we’d been told by a number of authorities including DA Dave Clark and Dr. Bailey that Alex had not done anything that would rise to the level of suicide. Not even close. The total amounts in question, if proven to be true, equal less than $10,000.
Second, most of those amounts are attributable to his educational expenses (he was a graduate student) for which he had an agreement with Dr. Bailey that the school system would help pay for. We will, of course, seek out documentation that validates what Alex had told us about this agreement.
Third, because Alex had been cooperating with multiple anti-fraud efforts, it appears very likely that perpetrators may have attempted to undermine and thwart his efforts. We still have many dots to connect, but the audit letter references the misuse of Karen Gagliano’s signature stamp. We are reminded that both her and Dr. Bailey’s signature stamps were used in the check cashing fraud scheme as were software, banking data and digital fingerprints. We have submitted requests to the Anderson County Clerk, Tyler Mayes, to provide us with the court documents that explain how these internal items came into the possession of Gina Austin, the creator of the dozens of counterfeit checks that were cashed just a few short months before Alex’s death.
And then there is this. Even though the Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi had told us that he had already turned over all of the files his department possessed surrounding Alex’s death and the check cashing ring, we were recently provided this and other files. In it, Dr. Bailey explains why he demanded that Alex come in for a meeting instead of going on his planned vacation. We still need to delve into this document further but it leaves us wondering if any of the seven other school employees were ever interviewed by the authorities. According to the ORPD records, Bailey was the only person they interviewed. Of course, given Chief Akagi’s track record of inaccuracies, we cannot be sure. We also wonder if the FBI interviewed any of them. We will be following up with them shortly.
We remain open to all possibilities and know that we will likely never have all of our questions answered, but at this point, we remain undeterred.