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Baltimore Sun Probe Reveals School Officials Spent Thousands On Personal Items

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- Fancy dinners on the taxpayer dime. WJZ's media partner, The Baltimore Sun, raises questions about spending by leaders in the Baltimore City school system. Now, the head of city schools responds to WJZ.

Adam May has more.

Most could never afford to eat at downtown Baltimore's high-end Center Club. But Baltimore Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso and members of the school board spent $1,000 there last year ironing the details of a new contract.

The expense -- one of many detailed in a new Baltimore Sun investigation-- reveals school administrators have billed taxpayers almost $500,000 for dining and travel over the last year and a half, including $8,000 in Las Vegas, more than $7,000 for a retreat at a Baltimore hotel, even a few hundred bucks at Hooters where some students were taken to lunch.

Dr. Alsono reponds to WJZ: "I have personally looked into thousands of transaction-- because we knew the story was coming-- and we don't see any illegality. We see instances where in a handful of transactions among over a thousand transactions, where I said, 'Why would people do that?'"

The program in question called P-Card gives top administrators credit cards.

The Sun found spending guidelines and limits were routinely broken. School officials say those rules are now under review.

At least one person has been asked to repay $5,000.

"Whenever somebody points out something we might not have been doing right, that's an opportunity to make the system better," Alonso said.

The Sun also found a charge to Victoria's Secret. Baltimore City Schools reported it as fraudulent.

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