HARRISBURG — Former Shamokin Area School Board member Richard Kashnoski, who has been ordered by the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission to pay a combined $12,930.88 in fines and restitution for violating the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, is seeking monetary donations to help defend himself against the allegation.
Kashnoski launched a GoFundMe campaign Wednesday night with a goal of obtaining $20,000. He said his total fines, restitution and costs total more than $14,000. He also is responsible for attorney fees.
“I need everyone’s help please. I don’t know what else I can do,” Kashnoski said.
When contacted Thursday about seeking donations, Kashnoski reserved further comment other than to say he’s been ordered to appear in court January.
He did offer a response to the allegations in his GoFundMe campaign on Facebook.
He said during his time on the school board, he made a request for the district to obtain pricing proposals for banking services.
“In the accounts’ current location, the accounts that totaled $11 million were receiving less than $1,000 a year in interest and being service charged,” he said. “The RFP (Requests For Proposals) allowed the district to go from a minimal or no interest rate income to something more substantial.”
Kashnoski said the RFPs were sealed and opened prior to the school board meeting.
He further explained, “Please keep in mind that I left the executive session while these discussions were being held. This way, no collusion could be stated on my behalf.”
Kashnoski said Mid-Penn Bank and their cash management team were awarded the contract.
“A disclosure stating I had no financial gain was released and it also disclosed my employment with the bank and my separation from the deal and knowledge of rates,” he said.
Kashnoski said he was then fired from Mid-Penn Bank and hired the same day by Riverview Bank.
During one of his meetings with the branches he covered, Kashnoski said someone asked him about getting them in front of the district.
“I took them out and introduced them to several people,” he said. “I then again exited the conference room.”
Kashnoski said another RFP was sent out after the new year began. “I was adamant about this being done on all contracts as we never should be faced with shortages that we can contain and control,” he said.
Kashnoski, who served as board treasurer, said he abstained from all votes dealing with banking services. He also said he wasn’t allowed on Mid-Penn property to speak to their employees or have any communication with their clients.
He said, “The school district is now making six figures on interest and was able to bring back art, music and gym classes. Yet, what I did was illegal, so says our capital, who are the very people who are cutting school budgets and our children’s ability to have the same services we had.”
An investigation revealed that Kashnoski violated three ethics rules pertaining to banking services awarded separately by the school district to Mid-Penn Bank and Riverview Bank while he was employed by each financial institution.
Kashnoski, who has denied any wrongdoing, was a school board member from December 2013 through November 2017. He lost a re-election bid last year.
The commission claims Kashnoski, who is no longer employed in the banking industry, participated in discussions and actions of the school board in awarding banking services to Mid-Penn. Investigators also reported Kashnoski used his influence as a board member with district administrators and staff to arrange meetings between the district and Riverview Bank to facilitate the moving of district accounts to Riverview Bank.
The commission said Kashnoski’s discussions and actions included participating in bid openings and reviews, and interviews of bidders that resulted in the awarding of banking services to Riverview Bank.
The investigative division of the commission concluded that Kashnoski failed to report his employment with Miners Bank/Mid-Penn Bank on financial interest forms in 2014 and 2015, and failed to include a date accompanying his signature for a financial interest statement for 2015.
The investigation revealed Kashnoski did not violate an ethics rule regarding the timely submission of financial interest statements in 2014 and 2015.
The commission has ordered Kashnoski to make $3,232.72 in restitution to the school district within 30 days and pay a treble penalty or fine totaling $9,698.16 to the State Treasury within the same time period.
As of press time, there were no donations entered into the GoFundMe account.