Former Portola Valley schools superintendent Tim Hanretty is still likely to serve jail time even if he avoids state prison after pleading no contest to six felony charges -- including embezzlement of $101,000 from the Portola Valley district -- stemming from his work at that district and the Woodside School District.
Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County's district attorney, said that even though Judge Mark Forcum said during Mr. Hanretty's July 31 plea hearing that he would strongly consider a probationary sentence if the former superintendent made substantial restitution before his Oct. 11 sentencing, probation can include up to a year in county jail.
"If he got probation with no time -- that would be totally out of step with what the case deserves," Mr. Wagstaffe said. "This is a violation of public trust."
After the hearing earlier this week, Mr. Hanretty's attorney, Mike Markowitz, said his client "fully intends to pay the full amount back." When asked by a reporter how much that would be, Mr. Markowitz cited the $101,000 amount Mr. Hanretty embezzled from the Portola Valley district to pay for construction work on his Woodside home.
But Mr. Wagstaffe said that his office wants Mr. Hanretty to repay at least a portion of interest now burdening the Woodside district as a result of Mr. Hanretty's falsifying papers, when he was the district's finance official, to take out a school construction loan for nearly $2 million more than what was authorized by the school board. He said Mr. Markowitz's position is likely to be "a significant issue" at the sentencing hearing.
"There's the indebtedness that he ran up," he said. "Why should the taxpayers have to pay for that?"
After the court hearing, Mr. Markowitz noted that his client had not stolen any money from the Woodside district. The district "got 100 percent benefit from that loan. ... There was no loss. The district got what (it) paid for," Mr. Markowitz said.
Karen Guidotti, chief deputy district attorney, said the probation department will determine the amount of appropriate restitution, and will present a recommendation to the court. The determination will be based in part on what the school districts request, she said.
With the plea deal, two of three felony charges stemming from the Woodside case were dropped; the remaining count was misappropriation of public funds. One of six felony charges was dropped in the Portola Valley case.
Mr. Hanretty remains out of custody after posting bail.