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Report says Wickenburg school official wrongly got free dirt

September 18, 2021 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — A former Wickenburg school district official illegally hit pay dirt — up to 700 truckloads of it — from a district-owned excavation site and then used it for his own property, state watchdog officials said.

A grand jury indictment charges William Moran, former operations director for the Wickenburg Unified School District, with conflict of interest and other crimes, the Auditor General’s Office said Thursday in a report.

The office said it conducted an investigation and presented its findings to the Attorney General’s Office after the district alleged financial misconduct by Moran, who resigned in 2018 when questioned by the superintendent.

Moran should have paid up to $70,000 for the dirt delivered to his property by a contractor who did the excavation work and who had suggested the dirt be used to flatten the district’s own property, the office said.

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Two other companies considered for the excavation project “expressed their concerns to Mr. Moran that it was either not feasible or not allowable to deliver dirt from the district site to Mr. Moran’s personal lot, and they were not awarded the contract,” the office said.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Moran who could speak for him.

___ This story has been changed to correct Moran’s first name to William, not Michael.