Because of the discrepancies, school officials decided not to renew Sategna's contract after 34 years in the district. He was placed on paid administrative leave in May.
"The Title IX review revealed financial and accounting discrepancies within the athletic department and I decided to non-renew his contract," Superintendent Joe Rasor said.
Also, administrators moved control over game reimbursements and revenue from ticket sales, concessions and merchandise from the athletic department to the finance office as they try to fix problems found in an audit.
During the Board of Education meeting on Dec. 11, Teri Ogle, a partner from the auditing firm Keystone Accounting, reported several questionable findings discovered in an audit covering the 2011-2012 school year.
A report filed by Sategña regarding "in-kind" donations made to the school district had information which could not be substantiated. The list provided to the business office had several donations with no documentation.
This provided issues for reporting Title IX actions to the State of New Mexico. Title IX is the federal law requiring that equitable resources be devoted to boys' and girls' programs.
The administration has been aware of possible irregularities since last year. A Title IX review was conducted in the summer of 2011 that hinted at some of the findings, prompting an independent review.
"(We) gave (the investigator) no restrictions and he just started looking," Rasor said. "Because you have to report in-kind donations and make sure all the (Title IX) programs, gender and academic, are being treated fairly."
In-kind donations are non-cash contributions of things such as services.
Untimely payment of game workers, nepotism, lack of timely monitoring of budget items and improper tax documentation were also listed in the audit as issues.
Despite the problems, Giron said the district's overall finances are sound.
"We are comfortable that the district is on strong financial footing, we have taken this as an opportunity to pay really close attention to separation of duties," Giron said. "We started this 16 months ago, we've been rolling out most of our policy and personal changes as of last June and August."
The operations budget for the school district is approximately $45 million and the athletic department accounts for roughly 3 to 5 percent of that, Giron said.
Most changes resulting from the investigation involve moving hiring, payroll and other business functions out of the athletic department and into the business and human resources departments.
The payroll for game workers was inadequately monitored, according to the audit.
The workers were school employees who sold tickets and concessions and performed other tasks for which they were paid in addition to their regular salaries. Their time sheets were also not submitted in a timely manner, the audit said.
The audit also accused the former athletic director of nepotism.
The district allowed Sategna to hire his and his secretary's family members as game workers instead of hiring them through the administration office as required by state law.
The audit report also states, "The district has a lack of controls over documentation and review for the athletic game workers' pay."
Giron read from the audit report during the Dec. 11 school board meeting.
"A time document was produced from the athletic department, requesting payment for game workers, including people not on game schedule," Giron said. "Arbitrary amounts were filed for reimbursement and the schedule indicated one person was reimbursed for different games, happening at the same time."
The audit report also said, "Payments were paid to employees out of the game-officials bank account which had no backup documentation to justify payment, exact amounts were undetermined."
Rasor said management changes in the wake of the audit should address the problem.
"Personally, I think it's an HR function," he said. "Anytime an employee gets paid above and beyond their salary, it should be controlled through the human resources department. It pays for retirement, insurances are paid off of it, other benefits are paid off of it."
Giron said moving the operations related to hiring and payroll and inventory management out of the athletic department will reduce the number of errors and create safeguards.
"When you think about it in a regular day, the business office handles payroll documents all day, the chance of us making an error is much smaller than somebody on one of the teams, working on the documents infrequently," Giron said. "Their chance of error is much higher than us."
Failure to submit necessary tax forms for game workers who earned more than $600 was cited in the audit report, putting the district out of compliance with the IRS code.
To keep better track of revenues, the district in September installed an inventory-control system for concession and merchandise sales. It includes a barcode system to handle sales and inventory tracking.
Before the system was installed, an inventory count was conducted by three business office employees. Giron would not comment on the amount of inventory in the stores before the inventory count.
"There was not a reliable inventory system, to speculate would be difficult," Giron said. "To say as the business official of the school, I was not comfortable with the inventory controls in place. The audit was a chance to change that practice."
Rasor said he doesn't know if money was stolen.
"Who knows if we had lost anything, we have no way of knowing it was or if someone got in and stole something," Rasor said.
The Bobcat store, concessions and tickets sales generated $55,614 since the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.