Investigation into Penn Center finances continues

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 8, 2012 

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Authorities continue to comb through the Penn Center's financial records for clues about what happened to $10,000 reported missing by its staff last year, a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman says.

Investigators also are interviewing employees of the nonprofit organization based on St. Helena Island.

"Numerous accounting discrepancies" were discovered and reported to authorities in December by the center's executive director, Walter Mack, according to Sgt. Robin McIntosh of the Sheriff's Office. The money was believed to have been taken between September and December, McIntosh said.

A Penn Center staff member was identified as a possible suspect on a Sheriff's Office incident report, but no arrests have been made, she said.

Mack said the center's attorneys have advised him not to comment on the investigation.

Designated a National Historical Site in 1974, the Penn Center is on 50 acres that was home to the Penn School, one of the country's oldest schools originally formed for freed slaves.

The campus and the organization that owns it sponsor lectures, exhibits and other events year-round to promote and preserve Gullah culture and the history of the Sea Islands, according to its website.

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