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UPDATE: Former Portola Valley superintendent pleads not guilty to felony charges

Original post made on Apr 5, 2012

Former Portola Valley School District Superintendent Tim Hanretty pleaded not guilty this morning (April 6) to three felony counts that include misappropriation of public funds -- allegations of misdeeds that stem from his earlier employment with the Woodside School District.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 5, 2012, 2:02 PM

Comments (15)

Posted by Disgusted with half reports
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Apr 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Renee, I find this to be the most irresponsible reporting yet from an Almanac reporter, a once great institution with amazing reporters like David Boyce, Jane Knoerle and your predecessor, Marjorie Mader. You once again let it seem as if Tim absconded with funds when in fact the Woodside Principal in an email to the district just released today specifically states the following:

"It is our current belief the money acquired through the fraudulent loan listed above was spent on the 2005-2008 Woodside School Modernization Project."

I know that not including the actual wording may not be sensational enough for the tabloid you are clearly turning the Almanac into, but it is unacceptable when you think of the rumors you will now kindle, some of which are unbelievably absurd, that will go that much further to ruin the life and career of an amazing guy who cared more about kids than almost anyone else. Why aren't we asking how that loan could have escaped the vigilance of whatever leadership is ultimately fiscally responsible when that loan must have been serviced somehow? Ah but that would be real, balanced, investigative reporting and we haven't seen that in a long time.

Posted by Menlo Oberver
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm

[Post removed; stick to the topic.]

Posted by Woodside Resident
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

@ Disgusted, I find that the article simply relates that he is being charged, which is factually true, and it references "irregularities" which is true, and that none others are known, which is not damning and is also true. The quote is from the DA and even says "it doesn't mean he benefited personally" (paraphrase). What more could you want, the article is about him being charged, which is noteworthy.

Posted by Renee Batti
associate editor of The Almanac
on Apr 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Disgusted, You're exhibiting an awful lot of sound and fury here. Below is a paragraph from my story:

"That doesn't mean that ... Mr. Hanretty got personal benefit of over a million dollars," Mr. Wagstaffe noted. "It just means the funds that he was maneuvering inappropriately, misappropriating, was over a million dollars."

Your charge of irresponsibility and sensationalism is way over the top. If you have information that would provide me the opportunity to make the article more "responsible" and balanced, I would welcome it. You can email me at [email protected]

Posted by PV Parent
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Apr 5, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Innocent until proven guilty. We have the utmost confidence in Mr. Hanretty's character and integrity.

Posted by School Neighbor
a resident of Woodside School
on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm

One thing is for sure, they didn't spend the money on providing enough parking for all the school families. When the construction eliminated a large percentage of the school's on-site parking spots no provisions were made to find a place for those cars, which now clog the streets of Woodside and park illegally and unsafely any place they can find.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Creative financing! And that's the thanks he gets.

Posted by Sleepwalkers
a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2012 at 8:04 am

It's my understanding that some teachers had recieved over payment while at Woodside on their salaries and they notified Mr. Hanretty and he was totally unaware. Of course when it came to paying back such overpayments he requested it in a lump sum. Although it is my understanding that did not take place. [Portion removed; stick to facts, not speculation.]

Posted by Another PV Parent
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I have never believed that Mr Hanretty gained anything personally from his efforts to manage the Woodside School District. The fact that rumor and conjecture have tarnished the reputation of a man I have always found incredibly patient, straightforward and fair, I find both shocking and reprehensible. In my experience, Mr Hanretty has always acted with integrity and honor, as exemplified by his immediate resignation offer when this debacle began. Although I wouldn't have expected any other action by him in that situation, I am deeply saddened that the Portola Valley School District has lost such a valuable asset to the District and the community.

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Apr 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm

He's a great person but if he did what's accused, he did something plainly wrong, unethical and illegal even if he didn't benefit.

There's a reason the board is there. For anyone to subvert the democratic & legal & public process and add $2m debt obligation to the schools is plain wrong. To cover it up compounds the illegality. He may be innocent but DAs don't file charges unless there's some pretty compelling evidence. So we shouldn't rush to condemn him but we also shouldn't condemn those who are doing their job in investigating and reporting.

Posted by Some Things Never Change
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Apr 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm

@Disgusted-- Even though "school officials believe at this point" that Mr. Hanretty didn't commit felony crime for "personal gain," they are hardly saying that they believe that he is innocent of the charges. In fact, it sounds like quite the opposite. These are serious charges, and should be reported as such... no matter how "amazing" your personally find the accused to be. Are you related to (or connected to) Mr. Hanretty in some way?

At any rate, you need not fear that the Almanac will kindle absurd rumors, or opinions that you do not like. We are quite capable of doing that on our own. LOL.

Oh, and by the way... you must not have read the Almanac during the “Disco” era. When the names of local people (some of them “amazing,” I don't doubt) were published after they had the "bad luck" to be arrested for DUI's, domestic violence, etc, a minority of angry people (mostly relatives and BFF's) protested. They really thought the Almanac had gone to you-know-where in a hand basket because of this “sensational” and “grossly unfair” practice. Their complaints only brought more attention to the “missteps” of their poor misunderstood friends/relatives...

Posted by 3.5 million
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm

So some $3.5 million was spent without being authorized. Do tax payers have to pay that back? Can the city claim that as a loss to their insurance company?

Posted by susan smith
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Why isn't the school board, responsible for budget also charged in this crime of the century? They have direct oversight of the budget and spending. Also, Since generally the only point of contact between the board and the administration is the (deceased) superintendent, how on earth can the guilt trickle down and land on the shoulders of just one subordinate. Something stinks here.

Posted by Character-Referenced
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Apr 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I am amazed at how many commenters attest to the superlative positive character of Tim Hanretty.

Conversely, I have found the crimes of which he is accused to be totally consistent with his character as I experienced it personally. I found him to totally lack integrity, honesty, and sound judgment. He avoids public statements of opinion or position, leaving his remarks behind closed board sessions, closed offices, and other closeted meetings. Furthermore, he possesses a smugness and arrogance of superiority seemingly without regard to what might merit such confidence.

That he would, therefore, take it on himself to gain in reputation or profession through subterfuge because he is unable or unwilling to submit his ideas to public scrutiny or debate is entirely plausible based on my experience with his "character."

In any case, he now has ample time to play Scrabble while considering his own character, regardless of the differing opinions of others.

Posted by Ben Dover
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

Glad to see Tim has defenders - it's great when your family rallies around you in times of trouble. Fact is, Timmy went wild with the district's credit card and they now have to pay on the debt leaving them with constrained opoortunities to financially manage all other aspects of the district - thanks Tim, [portion removed; see terms of use.]

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