When I first began discussing the Samsel lawsuit, I had a few key reasons for feeling this was important.
1. To vindicate those falsely accused of wrong doing.
2. To show how Milton Kuykendall and certain leaders run this district.
3. To show how there is one set of rules for Kuykendall, Weeks and their family and friends and another set of rules for everyone else.
4. To show just how far this administration will go to further their agendas and destroy those in opposition to those agendas.
5. To show the truth behind the rumors, circulating around the county.
6. To allow people to read for themselves what roles certain individuals played in how all of this went down.
Let’s start with Kyle Brigance. I remember so many people loved and supported Kyle, but they began questioning his actions based on the rumors. He was moved abruptly out of OBHS. His salary was cut by $10,000 and subsequently this hurt his retirement and his family’s financial future. His reputation was hurt. No one knew what to believe, but everyone had a story. People seemed to ‘know’ what really happened. Well, I want to clear it up for you.
The high school principals, countywide, were given a Fuelman Gas Card for school gas purchases. The dates in question for Kyle’s charges were from 2008-2011. In the summer of 2011, former Assistant Superintendent Ken Reid questioned Kyle about some of his purchases over that three year span of time. On some dates, he may have recorded mileage while at the same time there were charges for gas on the card. Ken Reid went over these charges with him. On some dates, Kyle may have left the card at school for use for another school vehicle while he traveled out of town on school business. Kyle would have filled out a mileage report for his travel, and the card would have reflected any fuel purchases for other school vehicles. This is not double dipping. This is not illegal usage. The only possible error here would have been procedural, but we would have to review the policies and laws in place for the dates in question to know if any errors were made at all.
At this time, DeSoto County Schools did NOT have a Fuelman Gas Card policy in place. (Refer to link, showing the DCS Fuelman Policy which was adopted August of 2011 and after Ken Reid spoke with Kyle). Kyle explained the usage. He stated that the card had been used for gas purchases for the tractor (used to mow the grass and care for the football field), travel and school vehicles. He thought the card was a school card to be used for ANY school fuel purchases. Instead of filling out mileage reports for all travel expenses, he would use the gas card at times. This was cheaper and more cost efficient for the district than the amount the district would have to pay for reimbursing mileage. None of the purchases were for personal usage. If Kyle made any error, it was a procedural error and not a criminal error or misappropriation of funds issue. Considering the district did NOT have a policy in place during the times in question, it is reasonable to believe these cards were used the same districtwide. Personally, I would like to see an audit of all of the high school principals during that same timeframe. I believe that would be the only fair way to determine if Brigance was the only one using the card in this manner.
Once Ken Reid spoke with Brigance, the issue was dropped. Kyle offered to make restitution if he had done something wrong. Those that know Kyle well, know that he would NEVER misappropriate funds or dip into school funds for personal reasons. The situation was dropped, and Kyle did not hear anything about this situation again until 2013. Milton Kuykendall sent district internal auditors to OBHS to audit the school in 2013. These auditors were at the school for quite some time. Many felt this was a fishing expedition to find something on Kyle as a means of getting him out of OBHS. Eventually, the Fuelman Gas Card usage was brought up again for the 2008-2011 dates. Why would this have been brought up again and after Ken Reid had already discussed this issue with Brigance? Kyle had already offered to make restitution if in fact he had done something wrong. Also keep in mind, DeSoto County Schools had passed 3-4+ years of state audits with no findings whatsoever. At no time did OBHS or Kyle Brigance fail any financial audits. (Side note: The charges in question totaled $4000 roughly, although Brigance chose to pay back all charges made).
Milton Kuykendall tells the school board and others that they must hire outside attorney, Jim Keith, to come in and advise them on this situation. Milton goes on to tell everyone that by law, he is required to report all possible crimes. (Side note: He has yet to report Weeks’s illegal prescription drug use). Kuykendall and Keith Treadway have stated that they went to Jackson and met with State Auditor Stacey Pickering about this situation (all documented in the court depositions and documents). To this day, no proof on the part of Kuykendall and/or Treadway has been provided verifying this meeting did in fact occur. No documentation has been presented from State Auditor Stacey Pickering stating that he had any involvement in this situation. Attorney Jim Keith has stated that there was no evidence of criminal wrong doing. Although Kuykendall and Treadway have stated that Pickering advised that Brigance be moved out of the school, Jim Keith’s statement was to the contrary and no proof has been shown as to Pickering’s role in this if any. More on this will come out at Samsel’s trial if the case makes it that far.
To this day, most of the actions taken by the school board, school personnel and administrators have been solely based on the word of Milton Kuykendall with no substantiating proof at all. It is my opinion that Kyle Brigance never did anything wrong! I believe the district, as a whole, may have not been using the Fuelman cards correctly, explaining why a policy was created in August of 2011. No action was ever taken originally, because the district as a whole had not been following any possible purchasing laws that may or may not have existed concerning the correct usage of school Fuelman Cards (IMO). If we were to examine the state purchasing laws, we would have to look at the laws in place during 2008-2011. You can’t take a current policy or law and apply it to a timeframe that did not have that policy or law in place. Our district is known for making up the rules as they go though.
So where does this leave us with Kyle? It leaves us with a small group of people, accusing him of a crime that he absolutely, positively did NOT commit! It leaves us with people, willing to believe rumors, without taking the time to do their research and actually ask the people involved. I can sit here all day and post depositions, but they are of little use if people don’t know what Samsel’s case is about, why Kyle’s situation is relevant to Scott’s case, what the purchasing laws are/were, what policies we have in place now or then, who the people are and/or many of the other various issues that have been addressed in this case to date. Do people really think this is simply about football or one coach? If you had been accused of a crime or wrong doing and you could prove your innocence, would you not want to do that?
Kyle Brigance, Scott Samsel and their families have been lifelong Olive Branch residents. They have poured their hearts and souls into our community, including our schools, our children, our businesses and our economic growth. Both men have families that have been negatively impacted by all that has happened. They have spouses employed by the district. How do you think their spouses feel about all of the rumors and constant slanderous and libelous comments made by co-workers and district leaders? Kyle and Scott, along with their families, don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. They have all been actively involved in many different aspects of our school system. What other principal or coach has put their name on a loan for $200,000 for their school’s athletic field? Scott and Kyle did just that. Why did they do this? Was it because football is the most important thing to them? Absolutely not! It was because they wanted only the best for their school and their students and most especially in an area that does not receive state or federal funding!!
Of course as Head Football Coach, Scott Samsel’s main focus was supposed to be football. As Athletic Director, his focus was supposed to be on athletics. Scott Samsel was not hired to oversee academic growth or fundraise for classroom materials. He did the job that he was hired to do, and he did it well! Scott Samsel raised $200,000 for OBHS’s weight room, benefitting all of the athletic programs. He also raised $900,000 for the athletic field. And NO, at no time did Fred Smith pay for all of this. He did contribute to it though. In a time of new schools being built in Olive Branch and splitting the OB kids between 4 different schools (3 of which were brand new), is it wrong for the principal and a coach to want to see the original OB school not lag behind the other newer schools?
Most people seem to be unaware that OBHS only receives $19,000 total for ALL athletic programs. The state does not pay for athletics. The state does not pay coaching salaries. The state does not provide for the equipment and uniforms necessary for the school’s athletic programs. So is more focus put on athletics than academics? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Athletics just doesn’t receive the funding that academics does, therefore more effort has to be made to fund those programs.
Now, if Milton Kuykendall, Ann Jolley or anyone else wanted Scott and Kyle gone from OBHS, they should have had the decency to say that instead of playing childish games, pitting employees against each other and fabricating stories of wrong doing to justify their actions. Look at all of the people that have been sucked into their web of deceit. Some people willingly went along and others were victims of the circumstances. Leaders do not lead the way Milton does, and as he exits the district, look at the collateral damage he is leaving behind. While it most certainly does NOT bring me pleasure or benefit me in any way by sharing this case information, I simply hope the rumors can be put to rest. I hope that those that have lied are seen for who they really are. If these supposed good, Christian people were willing to participate in the undoing of these two men, do you really think they won’t do this to someone else?
A Christian puts their faith above the desires of a narcissistic tyrant superintendent. A Christian knows the difference between good and evil. And while people may think I am harsh when it comes to certain district personnel, I make no apologies for exposing the corrupt, lying, deceitful, wrong doers we have in our schools. If Kyle or Scott were ever proven to fit in any of the aforementioned categories, I will be the first to denounce them and their actions as well. Since nothing proves that to be the case where these two men are concerned, I 100% support them and wish more people would as well.
Attached here are some more documents from the Samsel case.
First link: 2nd recorded conversation between Killough, Samsel, Alexander and Murphy. Scott was fired as coach, banned from the school and threatened with trespassing if he were to return.
James Gaspard Deposition: