Updated as of 5:02 p.m.
Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate said the police department will not investigate Shakopee Superintendent Rod Thompson’s personal use of district purchase cards unless evidence of criminal intent surfaces.
Thompson used his district purchase card last year to buy plane tickets to Nashville for himself and his wife. Thompson reimbursed the district for $1,448 this week after the Valley News discovered the personal transaction while examining travel records. Thompson said the personal use of the card was unintentional.
Some Shakopee residents expressed concern about Thompson’s use of his purchase card, and social media posts questioned why Thompson wasn’t being investigated in the same way former Derby Days’ President Jack McGovern was investigated and later convicted of fraud when he used the Derby Days debit card for personal purchases.
“To open an investigation, we need evidence pointing to criminal wrongdoing,” Tate said. “The McGovern investigation stemmed from an independent audit into Derby Days finances. That financial audit exposed some things into the Derby Days finances that required us to look into it further.”
If that type of information surfaces, the department would not shy away from an investigation, Tate said.
“We have to differentiate, as we did in the Derby Days investigation, policy violations versus criminal intent and action. They are two different things,” he said. “Jack did eventually admit to us that he knew what he was doing. He intentionally used that card.”
Tate said he understands why people see similarities between the two situations, but unless incriminating information comes to light with the school district, the department is not opening an investigation.
“It’s certainly something we’ll monitor,” he said. "If we get a complaint, we will treat it accordingly."