Superintendent accused of embezzlement appears in court

(KGO)
June 19, 2012 11:45:54 AM PDT
A former school superintendent in San Mateo County is accused of misappropriating millions of dollars from two different school districts.

Tim Hanretty appeared in court Tuesday morning. Prosecutors are painting him as a man who steals money from schoolchildren, but he and his attorney did not want to respond to questions about the charges. "No, I really can't (respond) because I haven't had an opportunity to review any of the documents I received this morning," defense attorney Michael Markowitz told ABC7 News. "So, I really can't comment on it."

In court, Hanretty entered a not guilty plea. Prosecutors believe he embezzled $100,926 from the Portola Valley School District to renovate his home. He was the district superintendent at the time. The district is facing a $1.1 million deficit.

"That money's been stolen. That money's gone, at that level," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. "So, no. That's a loss to that school district. And for these small school districts, $100,000 is an enormous sum of money. This isn't the LA School District. This is a small school district, so it's a big impact. And for his own personal gain, he was willing to sacrifice the needs of the children and the schools."

Prosecutors believe Hanretty used the money to renovate his kitchen, basement, and the foundation of his Woodside home. The 55-year-old was already charged with misappropriation of funds from when he worked for the Woodside School District. When Portola heard of the Woodside case, officials ordered an audit and that's how they say they discovered the discrepancy in their bookkeeping.

Hanretty appears ready to fight the charges. A preliminary hearing has been set for August. If he is convicted, he could go to jail for up to eight years.


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