Details emerge following the release of Paris 95 subpoena


New information has emerged regarding the misuse of grant funding at Paris Union School District 95 following a civil suit against the district. A heavily redacted subpoena sent to the district’s administrative office, dated June 12, 2023, has been released and is now largely uncensored.

The news first broke on Saturday, May 25, when the Edgar County Watchdogs published an article detailing the findings of the subpoena, as well as a digital copy of the subpoena, on its website. The article emerged after the Watchdogs filed a suit against the district on Jan. 5 when its previous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for an unredacted copy was denied. In proceedings at the Edgar County Courthouse on Friday, May 17, Judge Matthew Sullivan ordered the subpoena to be released.

Paris 95 initially declined to release the subpoena after a U.S. District Attorney advised against it. According to a source within the district, Sullivan agreed with the Paris 95’s decision to delay the release of the subpoena but explained a sufficient amount of time had passed since it was issued, and the document could be released with some details excluded.

In its current form, the 19-page document includes an extensive list of records and items scheduled to be produced before the Peoria Grand Jury in Peoria, Ill. Any and all names within the subpoena are still redacted, as are check numbers for a three-page spreadsheet of reimbursements issued by the district.

Requested items and information account for 20 line items and most of the subpoena, asking for information including:

  • Employee files for two redacted individuals.
  • Training files for two redacted individuals.
  • Disciplinary actions and warnings made by Paris 95 schools against two redacted individuals.
  • Vendor history for two redacted individuals.
  • Bank account information from Paris 95 for two redacted individuals.
  • Equipment issued to three redacted individuals.
  • Certificates issued to two redacted individuals, particularly those including “acknowledgements of ethics, certifications regarding conflicts of interest, certifications regarding outside employment, certifications regarding use of PUSD equipment… funds… credit cards…” and more.
  • Copies of the Paris 95 employee handbook from 2019-2023.
  • Paris 95 policies and procedures.
  • Emails between two redacted individuals.
  • Instant messaging communications between two redacted individuals.
  • Checks and documentation for checks distributed to two redacted individuals, including information on how those checks were distributed.
  • Health insurance agreements between Paris 95 and two redacted individuals.
  • Documentation detailing how Paris 95 distributed tax forms.
  • Information Paris 95 possessed regarding criminal, civil or administrative litigation against two redacted individuals.
  • Meeting minutes where compensation for one redacted individual was discussed.
  • Documentation of approved personal purchases for one redacted individual.
  • Receipts for a list of check reimbursements.
  • Eighty-five physical items purchased between Aug. 19, 2020 and Aug. 1 2021, including two 75-inch 4K televisions, men’s golf shirts, Adidas men’s underwear, an upholstered bed frame with diamond button tufted headboard, a Roomba vacuum, a Roomba mop, a 33-inch stainless steel sink, a Google Nest thermostat, a Ring door camera and much more.

The subpoena was issued after FBI agents searched the home of former Paris 95 Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Larson in June 2023, around the time an audit revealed $3.24 million in grant funding issued to Paris 95 was misappropriated or improperly documented. Larson and the Paris 95 Board of Education parted ways in December 2023.

This is a developing story and The Prairie Press will continue to provide pertinent updates as they become available.

Paris 95, subpoena, funds, Larson