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Cerro Gordo attorney’s office announces no criminal charges to be brought after $2.2 million of improper disbursements identified in Mason City School District under former Superintendents Anita Micich and Mike Penca


This news story was published on June 26, 2019.
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MASON CITY – The Cerro Gordo attorney’s office announced today that no criminal charges are to be brought after $2.2 million of improper disbursements were identified in Mason City School District under former Superintendents Anita Micich and Mike Penca.

According to a statement from the Cerro Gordo county attorney’s office:

A State of Iowa Auditor’s Office Audit Report was completed December 27, 2018, concerning the Mason City Community School District. The audit covered a period from July 1. 2009, through August 31, 2017. The County Attorney’s Office was provided a copy as normal protocol, The County Attorney’s Office with the assistance of the Division of Criminal Investigation conducted a criminal review with the goal of assessing the appropriateness of criminal charges. Years worth of materials covering the time period in question were reviewed, including the audit, interviews, emails, contracts, board minutes, and the DCI investigation. Due to the sensitive nature of the case and impact it has had on the community, the County Attorney’s Office requested a second review of the evidence and opinion from the Attorney General’s Office on whether any criminal violations had taken place. The Attorney General’s Area Prosecution Division independently reviewed the case and determined that “there is insufficient evidence to support any criminal charges concerning this matter.” The County Attorney’s Office concurs with this opinion.

The decision not to prosecute is purely a review for criminal violations and has no impact on civil remedies that may be available to the Mason City Community School District. The review of potential civil claims would be conducted by attorneys representing the Mason City School District.

This past December, the Auditor of the State of Iowa released a bombshell report that alleged over $2.2 million of improper disbursements in the Mason City School District under former Superintendents Anita Micich and Mike Penca.

The Cerro Gordo County Attorney’s Office was notified of possible crimes in the matter and the public patiently awaited any potential actions by County Attorney Carlyle Dalen.  Today’s announcement is the culmination of that months-long wait by Mason City taxpayers who will now be left scratching their heads over the lost millions.

In December’s report, then-Auditor Mary Mosiman showed the special investigation identified $2,238,952.08 of improper disbursements comprised of $108,673.24 identified in the report on the reaudit and $2,130,278.84 identified in this report. The $2,238,952.08 of improper disbursements identified includes $1,344,314.30 of contract salary issued to various MCCSD administrators, $217,405.64 for MCCSD’s share of FICA and IPERS on the improper payroll, $387,682.09 of MCCSD contributions to TSA accounts for various administrators, $171,998.36 for the resignation package awarded to the former Superintendent, Dr. Anita Micich, and $117,551.69 of vacation balance payouts to various MCCSD administrators.

The $1,344,314.30 of improper contract salary identified is comprised of actual salary issued to 66 employees which exceeded the authorized salary calculated using the percentage increases approved by the Board and other monetary benefits, such as vehicle allowances and cell phone allowances, awarded to employees without a provision in their contract and/or approval by the Board.

ANITA MICICH left Mason City with a large sum of money she may not have earned.

Former (and some current) district employees were the top recipients of improper over-payments.  Among them:

Anita Micich 473,978.74
Thomas Jumper 150,185.41
Ramona Jeffrey 127,341.80
Randy Meyer 117,290.12
Hal Minear 116,188.92
Susan Deike 113,010.52
Jennifer Wilmarth 78,077.33
John Berg 72,218.65
Jerry Siglin 68,816.21
Thomas Novotney 62,859.49
Barbara Wells 54,866.70
Julie Bigler 50,007.40
Don Teeter 47,941.45
Richard Huff 42,038.40
Mike Penca 38,769.70
Brooke Brunsvold 33,122.85
Jeff Poppe 32,938.19
Lisa Christianson 26,880.32
Debra Wilson 24,223.94
Shelly Nelson 23,323.94
Kris Murphy 20,286.71
Kristi Penner 18,045.57
Dave Ciccetti 17,593.64
Kara Hutchison 13,101.25
Teresa Schlichting 12,355.40
Jodie Anderson 11,083.07
Doug Abbas 10,508.50

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76 Responses to Cerro Gordo attorney’s office announces no criminal charges to be brought after $2.2 million of improper disbursements identified in Mason City School District under former Superintendents Anita Micich and Mike Penca

  1. Avatar

    Ralph F Madison Reply Report comment

    July 1, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    …I love the smile on her face…”gotcha”!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 2, 2019 at 7:37 am

      You are right Ralph. She pulled off a great Ponzi scheme.

  2. Avatar

    Bart's Clubhouse Reply Report comment

    July 1, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    The old gray mare ain’t what she use to be…many long years ago.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 1, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Why is everyone surprised or upset about this outcome? It’s been happening with the mall situation for years! Mason City is run by crooks! Wake up people!

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 30, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    So crime does pay…….

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 30, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    MC is the laughing stock of Iowa, most corrupted education system in Iowa.

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 30, 2019 at 3:46 am

    This really begs the question. Can we (citizens) turn to the Attorney General of Iowa to review this whole case, and take action? They have oversight on matters like this.

    Seems to me (according to all I have read), there is legal sufficiency to support criminal complaints.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 30, 2019 at 10:43 am

      Ummm, the Assistant Iowa Attorney General, Andrew Prosser
      has declined to bring forth charges. It would be great if the Iowa Attorney General did do a review. How do the citizens request a review?

      How can we get the feds to do a review? After all, Mason City Schools receive Federal funds, too.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 29, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Is anyone really surprised at this outcome? Remember, this is Mason City. What else would you expect?

  8. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 29, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Come work at Mason City Community School District (MCCSD) where honesty and integrity is frowned upon. Future training facility for all Superintendents on how to rob the school districts as-well-as their constituents blind and get away with it!

  9. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 29, 2019 at 4:15 am

    I know someone who works for the schools and has a peon job,that is very important and wow, they get a 25 cent a hr raise every year. that doesn’t even equal the 3% that other employees got, but then guess they had to save the money for others.

    • NIT Publisher

      NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

      June 29, 2019 at 10:34 am

      The White Collars got the system beat. Want to get rich? Become a white collar in a school district, city hall or courthouse. Hard to get fired, don’t have to produce anything, just have to keep the board pacified. The folks with jobs that have to sweat get the tiniest crumbs left over once the White Collars get done feasting off the backs of what the Board robs from the property owners.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        June 29, 2019 at 11:31 am

        Or, start a gossip page that uses mostly press releases from counties dozens of miles, if not hundreds, away to populate your website. Oh, and don’t delete or reprimand racists commenters because, much like Steve King and Donny Boy, their your base.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          June 29, 2019 at 11:37 am

          sounds like your part of the base

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            June 29, 2019 at 12:50 pm

            *You’re

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          June 29, 2019 at 1:32 pm

          I can’t thank NIT enough for bringing to light the corruption that’s going on in Mason Shitty. The people who have a problem with NIT are the ones that are a part of the problem. As the song goes, “Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.”

  10. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 28, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Our county attorney should turn-in his paycheck, monies NOT earned.

  11. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 28, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    VOTE ‘NO’ ON ALL SCHOOL ISSUES.

  12. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 28, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Amazing the money you can give yourself in MC with a simple signature stamp, and get away with it.

  13. Avatar

    Dixie Wrecked Reply Report comment

    June 28, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Wait, isn’t skipping town after collecting illicit funds what River City is all about? Too bad she didn’t convince the town they needed a bigger marching band…that would have been much more legitimate than giving workers more money to support the local economy with and pay taxes on.

  14. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 28, 2019 at 7:05 am

    I am afraid you have Hindered the future of many students by this. How many people will vote to give the school anything in the future?

  15. Avatar

    Oliver Reply Report comment

    June 28, 2019 at 12:26 am

    It’s a downright shame the little old one room school house has come to this. An Iowa tradition of pride in our school has been usurped by modern day shameless crooks. Shame on those greedy never’do wells. No ethics!!!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 1, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      MAGA

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 9, 2019 at 11:16 am

        if i had to guess id say they are for sure liberals. most “educators” are.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          July 9, 2019 at 12:02 pm

          You don’t know much about educators do you?

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          July 9, 2019 at 12:03 pm

          Yeah, let’s go after them all. Spend a couple more million taking them to court and trying to get back the money. Makes sense to me.

  16. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    So, my opinion is going to be unpopular.

    Employees who were given raises/additional paid vacation days and were not in the “chain of command” would have had no way of knowing that these amounts were not properly approved, so I don’t think MCCSD should sue them.

    However, those who were in the chain of command and were aware, or should have been aware, that these amounts were not properly approved SHOULD be pursued in civil suits. Micich, Jeffrey, Deike, Berg and Jodie Anderson should all have been aware the payments were improper. About $780,000 less court costs should net the school district about $590,000.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 28, 2019 at 8:36 am

      It’s interesting you mentioned Jodi Anderson. Please take a good hard look at that list, I guarantee that every single one of those were being paid beyond their contract knew even if they are saying/claiming otherwise. They are ass kissers each and every one of them that are willing to look the other way or do whatever Micich wanted when they knew shit wasn’t right. They gladly accepted the extra pocket funds. In my opinion, every single one on that list needs to be fired for their lack integrity. In the very least, they should be made to pay this money back. It will not hurt a single one of them. They get IPERS and stocks and bonds every year in addition to their monthly pay. Micich could not have did what she did without her minions and those minions are everyone single one of those listed on that list. Trust me, when you get your contracts, you know exactly how much you’re going to be getting every month. It does not change until another contract is given. They laid off teachers & staff and then when they had extra money they gave them nice little bonuses to zero out the books. They do this so they don’t have to return the money back to the state and feds. Another term for this is “cooking the books”. Then the Superintendent Sea Hag along with crooked Romona Jeffrey’s and crooked Hal Minear would claim every year that more money needed to be cut so more money could flow into their greedy deceiving hands. Mason City tax payers have all
      been deceived. The board may have signed and I might add a extremely poor agreement to get rid of Micich but that doesn’t mean rest of the lot should also get off free. What message are they sending the employees? As it stands, if you be like them, see the list of thieves and crooks, you will rewarded as they indeed were.
      Nope, set up a monthly repayment plan with other options of cashing in part of their stock options or IPERS. Pretty easy to do. If they refuse, seek civil actions.

  17. Avatar

    Ralph F Madison Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    …it seems like there isn’t much we can do about this now, but let me say this…come next school bond issue for “ANYTHING”, you can count on me to vote “NO”. If the “present” board doesn’t see the need to get the (2) million back, then they also don’t have the need to ask for more!

    • Avatar

      orville anderson Reply Report comment

      June 27, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Ralph, I will back you 100%. This is a complete shame that this happened. It just goes to show what kind of character some of our school leaders really have. I will be voting NO!!!!!!

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        June 28, 2019 at 3:13 pm

        VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING..INCLUDING THE NEW GYM/POOL

  18. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    The problem is that you got liberals stealing the money and liberals deciding if they stole the money.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 28, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      I agree: liberal county attorneys/judges are killing America

  19. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    The problem is that you got liberals stealing the money and liberals deciding if they stole the money !!!

  20. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    ….this is exactly why no one trust our education system anymore, it’s become a scam.

  21. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    ANY OTHER EMPLOYER THAT OVERPAYS AN INDIVIDUAL RECOUPS THE AMOUNT, with no questions. This SHOULD NOT BE LEFT AS THE FINAL OUTCOME. -100% behind this

  22. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    2 million GONE and no one resonsible…sound about right in MC

  23. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    2 million GONE..but come budget time let’s fire teachers.

  24. Avatar

    Lisa Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    I just want to clarify: The members of the school board found it and turned this in, the county attorney is refusing to press charges. This board rose to the occasion and did not let back handed deals continue. The county attorney needs to be voted out.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 27, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      They brought this to there attention because it was getting to be so prevalent crooked Micich’s misdeeds they couldn’t continue
      to cover for her.
      Now we SHALL see the Mason City Community School Districts Board of Education’s true character on whether they bring about civil suits to recoup the financial losses. You wait they won’t be doing a darn thing. Sickening the shit that is going on in Mason Shitty.
      How the hell did they come with this new Matrix for administrators pay? There isn’t a decent one in the lot. So sick of all the back room closed door deals. And, they just continue.

      • Avatar

        Lisa Reply Report comment

        June 28, 2019 at 9:07 pm

        No, all new board members except Scott Warren and the new board found the errors and made changes John berg gone, jodi anderson, gone Mike Penca gone Anita gone and turned it in to state. Facts and time line you need to do that before you spout off. Anyone with decision making titles no longer work for Mason City School District. The board that covered worked under the board president of Tim Becker and Mark Young era. Get is straight

        • NIT Publisher

          NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

          June 29, 2019 at 12:20 am

          Seems correct to me.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          June 29, 2019 at 2:02 pm

          Lisa,
          You are sadly mistaken if you think things have changed all that much with essentially a new board of education. I call bullshit. This new board is trying their best to contain all the corruption. Pinning things on HR Director.. She did NOT have that kind of signature power. Please note Joni Anderson is at the bottom on the list of how much in “extra funds” she was paid overpaid. Also,
          John Berg, (Accountant , I believe replaced Ramona) was not given Ramona’s powers/title, nice try to pen all this deception on him. Fall guy, in my opinion. Mike Penca gathered a binder full of shit on the dirty deeds of Micich and I might add, at the request of the Board of Education and how do they repay him? They fire him and try to blame him after using him as an Interim Superintendent. I believe because he knows too much and the board is worried on what he might share if called upon. They are doing their best to smear his name. All three of them left the district. I can’t wait to hear their stories in court. It ain’t over by far folks.

          • Avatar

            Lisa

            June 29, 2019 at 3:42 pm

            Not even close. But nice try

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            June 29, 2019 at 11:39 pm

            Lisa, Time will tell. The truth always comes out eventually. BTW, Jeffreys—retired, Minear—Retired, Penca— resigned, Anderson—resigned, Berg—resigned. The Board of Education sure did clean house. NOT!

            Will the Mason City Board of Education recoup funds through civil court? Nope, because that would require that they actually do something.

  25. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Good riddens to bad rubbish – now clean up the swamp rats that are responsible for this white collar crime !

  26. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Would not have been for one Trumper -Jodi Drapper – this Dillenger robbery would have never come to light because swamp rats like to cover for each others crimes — THANK YOU DONALD J. TRUMP for your service. PS – anybody watch last night when the first group of Donkeys make jackasses out of themselves. Heard they were tied with the 3 Stooges for ratings on the Nielson report.

    • Avatar

      ‘Nonymus Reply Report comment

      June 27, 2019 at 8:20 am

      I’m thinking that everybody serving on that board, except Draper, should be investigated! Who else is involved in this embezzlement and coverup! Not only should this money be recovered, but there should be a freeze on all major expenditures (pools and auxiliary gyms) until these funds area recovered.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 1, 2019 at 2:52 pm

        TYPICAL TRUMP REPLY. INVESTIGATE EVERYONE BUT ME. IF THEY ARE GOING TO INVESTIGATE ONE THEY SHOULD INVESTIGATE ALL OF THEM NO EXCEPTIONS.

  27. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 7:49 am

    More or less the public servants hand pick the school board members – teachers union is the largest union in America and its hard to go against them – 97% of this union voted democrat in the last presidential election and also gave the democrats control of the house of representatives in 2018 – how is that working out? Pelosi is a nutcase and the whole democrap party is pushing for socialism – the county attorney and the state attorney general are there to protect government employees and big special corporations and not you fool !

  28. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 6:25 am

    There you go. Steal 2 million from the taxpayers and walk away scot free. Our worthless county attorney always plea bargains and releases criminals so he won’t have to do any work. Shame on our school board for allowing this to happen. Then they have guts enough to ask for more money for a un-needed pool and auditorium. No more money for those who waste it.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 27, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      Carlyle lift the shirt and check for balls!

  29. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 5:59 am

    Whoever said crime doesn’t pay is an idiot. It pays great when you rob the taxpayers.

  30. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 5:50 am

    Thank you Mason City Community School District for fxxxk’$& us all over and giving crooked Anita Micich and her minions Carte Blanche.

  31. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 5:46 am

    Democrat Tom Miller and his crony underlings are all too busy suing the Trump administration for everything under-the-sun to do any serious investigations.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 27, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      Since when has Democrat Tom Miller and his crony underlings been in charge of the Cerro Gordo County Attorney’s Office? I thought it was County Attorney Carlyle Dalen. He’s the one who punted on the case to Miller’s office!

  32. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 2:21 am

    wonder if Mr Dalens son getting a awarded money to go to school at graduation this yr had anything to do with it?????

  33. Avatar

    John Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 12:28 am

    Lori cooling was getting a hand out

  34. Avatar

    John Reply Report comment

    June 27, 2019 at 12:27 am

    Lori cooling was getting a hand out also

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 27, 2019 at 5:47 am

      I am unfamiliar with Lori Cooling, does she work for the school district?

  35. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 26, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    It was for the children. What’s the matter, do you hate kids???

    • NIT Publisher

      NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

      June 26, 2019 at 10:43 pm

      They had kids outside the schools with signs supporting those ridiculous PPEL and ISL taxes we are all saddled with on voting day a few years back. All to make Anita and her disciples rich.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        June 28, 2019 at 8:53 am

        Matt, the tax payers of Mason City were all deceived when they voted for that PPEL and ISL taxes. Considering the deception that clearly has occurred. This is evident by the boards refusal to take any legal action, with not even bating an eye over 2.2 million dollars all gone and giving the administrators huge pay raises this year. And, the icing on the cake, let’s build a new gym/pool to bend over the tax payers of Mason City even more. Hahaha! NOT!

        There has to be a way to repel this or in the very least hold another vote. Could you please seek out information on how the tax payers can do this and report your findings? I, for one, would be more than happy to go door-to-door for signatures or help out in other areas.

        As things stand, I have no doubt that the Mason City Community School District Board of Education will continue to FAIL us all.

        • NIT Publisher

          NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

          June 28, 2019 at 12:36 pm

          I’ve asked the board to rescind the two fraudulent taxes and was met with scorn. The love of taking from hard-working folk to make these white-collars rich for shining their fancy chairs is breathtaking and demoralizing to the citizenry. I’m told they have to keep up with what other districts are doing (Clear Lake, Waukee, you name it) and lavish mountains of cash on these “saviors” who will “make our district great”. Total hogwash. Thinking out of the box and implementing a pay freeze is the right thing to do, but the board will evidently never do that. The cycle continues.

  36. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 26, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Corruption at its finest. Of course, our worthless county attorney won’t press any charges. It’s a white collar crime, only blue collars are subject to criminal charges.
    What message are they telling everyone? It’s okay to “cook the books,” if you’re in an administrative position. And, what a huge coincidence they came to this conclusion only after school was out for the summer.
    *******************************************
    One can’t help but wonder what other bullshit corruption the Mason City Community School Board does not want to come to light? Why else are they not wanting to bring forth charges?
    ******************************************
    Welcome to Mason Shitty where corruption is rewarded, i.e., huge administrative raises. Outrageous!

    • NIT Publisher

      NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

      June 26, 2019 at 10:47 pm

      I can guarantee you this much. These so-called white collars can rob you blind in MC. And get away scott-free. But you pick up a candy bar and walk out of H-Vee without paying, there will be 2-4 squad cars looking for you right quick and you might get a gun pointed at you if the wrong guy shows up (we know who the show-boater is who acts tough).

  37. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 26, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    This is totally crooked! Everybody knows it. How can these people even look at themselves in the Mirror? Let alone walk the streets or face anyone in the public? They should be reminded and shamed every chance possible. No criminal is a joke. But there needs to be follow up on getting the overpayments back. Civically they should be able to get recoupment. ANY OTHER EMPLOYER THAT OVERPAYS AN INDIVIDUAL RECOUPS THE AMOUNT, with no questions. This SHOULD NOT BE LEFT AS THE FINAL OUTCOME. No criminal charges BUT NOW pursue this civically asking for recoupment of overpayments!!!!!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 26, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      The asshole superintendent of schools already said he doesn’t feel the employees need to repay. The school board already signed a contract with crooked Anita Micich that they would not sue her as a stipulation that she leave the district early. Our only hope was for charges to be filed. Our county attorney is absolutely worthless! The corruption in Mason City is just sickening!

  38. Avatar

    Beaten down taxpayer ready for more abuse Reply Report comment

    June 26, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    The so called public servants are criminals don’t tell me they didn’t know they check was too big. White collar crime is the way to go in USA.

  39. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 26, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    It pays to be in education!

  40. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 26, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Crooks