When it comes to grift, we’ve got a new clubhouse leader.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the varsity wrestling coach at Hastings (Minn.) High School is responsible for embezzling some $14,000 of school funds and using them to purchase college football tickets. Joshua G. McLay, a 37-year-old Hastings assistant principal and wrestling coach, was charged in Dakota County District Court with eight counts of embezzlement of public funds and eight counts of theft by swindle.
Incredibly, McLay appears to have negotiated an agreement where he will be allowed to repay the funds he stole, avoid jail time and maintain a teaching role at Hastings. As part of the agreement, he will allegedly resign as assistant principal at the end of the school year, and will serve a 10-day suspension after the conclusion of the wrestling season.
According to the Pioneer Press, citing an internal investigation, McLay’s college football trips were a substantial enterprise:
McLay allegedly used school district money to buy several tickets for an Iowa State University football game in 2012; a University of Wisconsin-Madison game in 2013; a 2014 University of Minnesota game; and a 2018 University of Notre Dame game.
The district was apparently alerted to McLay’s financial malfeasance after he requested funds to take his coaching staff to Lincoln, Neb. for a coaching clinic where he also planned to have them attend a Nebraska football game. The funds for travel and lodging were approved, but money for tickets to the game was not.
The Pioneer Press’ reporting also identified three other trips that the coach took to Florida which were either paid for on a district credit card or reimbursed after McLay paid for them himself.
It remains unknown with whom McLay negotiated his deal with the district. However it was brokered, McLay’s ability to wriggle free of more formal legal charges for the cost of a simple demotion is quite a feat.