Former superintendent pleads no contest to embezzlement, other felony charges Woodside, posted by Editor, The Almanac Online, on Jul 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm
Looking drawn and contrite, former Portola Valley schools superintendent Tim Hanretty appeared in court this morning (July 31) to plead no contest to six felony charges, including embezzlement of $101,000 from the Portola Valley district.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 11:02 AM
Posted by Leavenworth, a resident of the Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley neighborhood, on Jul 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm
Tim, I'm glad you are accepting responsibility for what you did. Please issue an apology not only to the parents and staff of the district, but to the children as well. This could be a real "teachable moment. "
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Jul 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm
you can bet with that plea they had him "dead bang" or he never would have plead. Obviously not a "real" criminal or it he would have done something to actually cover his tracks. Doesn't appear to be the case here. Someone that was probably normally a "regular guy" that gave in to the "dark side." Seen it before. Cryin' shame.
Posted by PV Parent, a resident of the Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley neighborhood, on Jul 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm
Yes, they DID have him "dead bang." He did seemingly try to cover his tracks---they had to get some of the proof off of a mirror hard drive, and they will never be entirely sure of how much money he took, as he mixed all of the various monies together into one big pot, with little to no accounting of what was spent where. As well, he didn't do it all in one fell swoop, he did it over the course of several years. I'm sure he was able to rationalize it to himself by thinking that nobody really would miss it, lots of wealthy people in PV, etc, etc.
Posted by tom94301, a resident of another community, on Aug 1, 2012 at 12:50 am
I'm not aware of all of the legal subtleties, but I wonder if a guilty plea would have made it more likely for a judge to be more lenient in sentencing. It shows more contrition. The article states that "he looked contrite" ... but did he act contrite? Also, his restitution strategy seems minimalistic based on the circumstances.
Posted by you're kidding, a resident of the Portola Valley: other neighborhood, on Aug 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm
No one knows how much he embezzled at all. There is much confusion, no receipts (and seemingly no interest in doing further investigations), and the wealthy here want to get it behind them. Not to mention the former superintendent who was his supervisor for many years (well two of them from both districts) are thrilled at a plea bargain and then no more investigation, the wealthy parents just write checks and both towns to get this ugliness behind them. Tim goes on to another unsuspecting wealthy school district somewhere and no one can give the full account when there's a plea bargain. So off he goes. There is no stopping a sociopath. "was it worth it?" "stress?" sociopaths don't have the stress of conscience--so this will be another couple months, he sells his house, moves on and no one hears from him again. It makes me furious that there will be no more investigation and if everyone thinks he stole no money from Woodside, that's just a sad statement. Go to the public auditor's report. No receipts people, no clarity, no real information. It's a sad day. In PV I just miss the giant Jack Loustanou who we lost recently--I keep thinking Jack would have never let this happen. Maybe that's wishful thinking--he probably couldn't have sniffed out a sociopath either.
Posted by Matt R., a resident of the Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2012 at 9:59 am Matt R. is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
What sucks here is that they have him on a bunch of felonies, and he'll get off light. The no-contest pleas mean no court case, and the county saves a bunch of money. Even if he does pay back the $110k, he's still left financial wreckage in two local school districts, and the consiquences of his "management style" will last for years and years. It's sad to think that his jail term could be shorter than the time it takes the two districts to actually recover from his deeds.
I urge everyone to write to the DA to express your feelings, no matter what they are, about the reported sentancing posibilities. Without input from the affected communites, the judge will make the best judgment he can, with limited perspective.
While going "no-contest" for the plea deal would be a no-brainer for anyone with an IQ that was a positive number, if even a small one, the fact that his operational style and actual acts vicitimized not just the districts but will be carried on the backs of childrel desever a judgement that is on the harsher end of the spectrum. If he buys 5 years (from a possibe 9 to 4) for the plea deal, that I could live with. If it's further reduced to 1 or probation, I'd be very, very unhappy. Do the crime, do the time.
Posted by you're kidding, a resident of the Portola Valley: other neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm
to hmmmm.....well, he's been doing this for over a decade at both schools. He's been described by ALL who knew him as so charming and that "he would never do this" until it was proven, and as the definition says: "lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience." It's hard for anyone that does have a conscience to believe that others don't, but they really don't. Hanretty was in both districts for years and years. he was well integrated into the communities. The fact that his actions have not only impacted both these wealthy towns that will buy most of their way out of this, but he has devastated aides, teachers and other real people who will/have lost incomes as a result as will have to find jobs in an economy that is less than hospitable. He's known these folks intimately for years and that doesn't bother him at all. That's a sociopath. If he's not convicted of anything, there will be nothing to be reported in his record and he'll be able to do this again somewhere. It's just very frustrating!
Posted by Susan Smith, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm
How about all you armchair lawyers put your money where your mouths are and contribute a little of your time on a Civil Grand Jury? 'Might learn a little something about the bigger picture and the County certainly would benefit from your self-expertise in these matters. Human beings make mistakes all of the time. Violent criminals and those to whom recividism is a pattern belong in the American prison system whose population is now larger than the entire country of Canada, or the Contnent of Australia. Let's remember what the application of prison should be about, and who benefits most, as reservations for the few remaining spots are getting backlogged.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community, on Aug 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm
POGO - thanks for the info. Now, if I could just figure out what Susan Smith was trying to say...it's a head scratcher,after that first sentence.
I did understand this sentence:
"Human beings make mistakes all of the time." That's true. But most of us don't get arrested and indicted over those mistakes. I made a mistake at work yesterday. A mistake. I didn't commit a crime - big difference.
Perhaps Smith is trying to say that only violent criminals belong in jail? That's understandable. But what do we do w/the nonviolent ones whose crimes- er- "mistakes" affect many people? What about people like Boots Del Biaggio? I don't know what to do about people like him & Hanretty, but giving them freedom doesn't seem right, either. I wish we could make them pay their way through prison.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community, on Aug 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm
To you're kidding - thanks for the additional info. When I first read about the allegations, I thought, "Ah, perhaps an executive sociopath." He sure fits the description given the info you provided. There are many people invisible to us who are negatively affected by what he did, as you mentioned. The domino effect is terrible. I'm still watching friends who're victims of Del Biaggio and it's been heartbreaking to see the toll on everything - incl a severe toll on their health - that his actions have taken.
Posted by Just Sayin, a resident of the Portola Valley: other neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2012 at 8:43 am
How come Tim's supervisor and sponsor is promoted and untouched? Even if his colleagues were not criminally complicit, surely the embarrassing lack of basic management controls and minimal accounting standards suggest they are unfit for duty. Does the emperor have clothes?
Posted by Just sayin' II, a resident of the Portola Valley: other neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm
I agree with Just Sayin. Where was the oversight? Why are those people still in charge? What about the contractor wrapped up in all this? He didn't know what was going on? What about the board members? They had no idea? What about the former superintendent?
Posted by Just sayin' III, a resident of the Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm
I also agree with Just Sayin. Let's keep digging and get to the bottom of all this. The only way to learn from our "mistakes" is to understand them. What about the contractor, the architect, the board members, the people still overseeing our district's finances. Let's get it all out in the open.