Former School Superintendent Accused of Using District Money on Home Renovation

By: Brian Shields - Tue, 19 Jun 2012 14:57:34 -0800

REDWOOD CITY (BCN) -- Former Portola Valley School District superintendent Timothy  Hanretty Tuesday morning pleaded not guilty to charges that he embezzled more  than $100,000 in district funds to remodel his home.

      San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that  Hanretty, 55, allegedly paid for the renovation of his Woodside home with  money from a special fund established by the district to pay for solar panel  installations at various schools.

      The defendant and his attorney, Michael Markowitz, declined to  speak with reporters outside the courtroom in Redwood City.

      Prosecutors allege that Hanretty, who resigned as superintendent  in January, submitted false invoices totaling $100,926 for payment from the  district's solar panel fund. The invoices were for construction work at the  schools that was never performed, Wagstaffe said.

      The defendant, who was arrested at his home on Friday, has been  charged with six counts of felony embezzlement of public funds -- one for  each of the phony invoices, Wagstaffe said.

      In April, Hanretty was charged with misappropriating public funds  from the Woodside Elementary School District, where he worked as the chief  business officer.

      Prosecutors allege that in November 2007, Hanretty was placed in  charge of securing a loan not to exceed $632,000 to improve an athletic field  for the elementary district.

      Hanretty allegedly presented fraudulent paperwork without the  knowledge of the school board and obtained a loan of $2.6 million, Wagstaffe  said.

      The school board gave the defendant a $5,000 bonus for completing  the athletic field project on time and on budget while he was allegedly using  the excess funds to pay for projects at various schools without the board's  approval, Wagstaffe said.

      The fraud was discovered in November 2011 when the school district  conducted an investigation to determine why its debt was unusually high,  according to the district attorney's office.

      Henretty has been charged with one count of embezzlement of public  funds, forgery and filing a false document in connection with the case,  Wagstaffe said.

      The defendant, who is out of custody on $60,000 bail, is due back  in court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 16.

       (Copyright 2012, Bay City News, All rights reserved.)
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