Tulsa Public Schools money from rentals paid for trips for Memorial High School Soccer Booster Club

TULSA - Browsing through Facebook, Victoria Gonzales and Lindsey Nielsen reminisce about their soccer days together at Memorial High.

"It would always be a hard game and we never really won, but it was fun anyway," said Nielsen.

But there was one thing she always had, "Alabama every year," she said, "Our condo was, you walk outside the door and you're stepping on sand."

The trip included a charter bus, condos, even a dolphin cruise. To go, the girls say they only had to contribute a couple hundred dollars.

Tulsa Public Schools rents out its stadiums on weekends or after school. District policy says the money from those rentals is supposed to go the district's general fund.

The 2NEWS investigators obtained the financial records for the Memorial High School Soccer Booster Club from 2009 to current, and documents show that in 2010, the year Nielsen went to Alabama as a freshman, the booster club received $11,000 from stadium rentals. It was money that was never supposed to go to the booster club, according to district policy.

Prosecutors say misuse of rental money goes back to the district's former athletic director, Stephanie
Spring, who's charged with stealing thousands of dollars in rental money.

RELATED LINK - Stephanie Spring federally charged with misapplying school funds (http://bit.ly/14EkUHo)

Through an open records request the 2NEWS investigators obtained emails between Spring and City Councilor Karen Gilbert, who was then Memorial High School Soccer Booster Club's president. In the emails, the two discuss splitting rental fees -- half to Spring, half to MHS soccer.

RELATED LINK - 2NEWS obtains emails between former TPS Athletic Director Stephanie Spring, associates (http://bit.ly/12JGL0x)

Nielsen went to Alabama twice, once in 2010 and then in 2011. Gonzales went once in 2011. While the girls had the time of their life in Alabama, they wish it had been paid for through fundraising or other means.

"It's just frustrating that we didn't get the chance to do it the right way," said Nielsen.

"It's just like, wow. I can't believe that," said Gonzales.

Tulsa Public Schools says because of ongoing litigation, it hasn't decided whether it will require the booster club to pay back the rental funds.

TPS and Gilbert have declined to comment due to the ongoing legal matter.

Meanwhile, Spring's attorney did not return our calls. She is due back in court March 14.

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