Former Portola Valley superintendent offered plea bargain on felony charges

Tim Hanretty is accused of stealing district funds for home construction project

Tim Hanretty, the former superintendent of Portola Valley schools who is charged with stealing more than $100,000 from the school district, has been offered a plea bargain by the county District Attorney's Office.

He is expected to decide at a court hearing later this month whether to accept or reject the offer.

At a July 18 San Mateo County Superior Court review, prosecutors offered Hanretty a plea deal that includes the potential for state prison, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the Almanac after the hearing.

Hanretty's attorney, Michael Markowitz, requested time to discuss the plea offer with his client, and a July 31 date was set for 9 a.m., Wagstaffe said.

If the plea deal is accepted, the judge will decide whether Hanretty will serve time in prison, Wagstaffe said.

A likely consideration in sentencing will be Hanretty's ability to pay restitution to the district, Wagstaffe said, adding that, so far, there has been no restitution.

Hanretty pleaded not guilty on June 19 to six counts of embezzlement from the Portola Valley School District, charges involving the alleged stealing of nearly $101,000 to pay for a construction project at his Woodside home during his tenure as superintendent.

He had resigned from his post in January, after the DA's office launched an investigation into suspected misappropriation of funds stemming from his prior work as business official at the Woodside Elementary School District.

As a result of that investigation, he was charged in April with three felony counts of misappropriation of public funds. Both cases are being heard together in court.

Hanretty posted bail, and remains out of custody.

If he rejects the plea deal, Hanretty will be in court on Aug. 16 for a preliminary hearing on the charges, Wagstaffe said.


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Posted by baetam
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

no jail for a thief? long live the us of a!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wilson
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2012 at 11:42 am

Hanretty is a highly educated man, who was awarded high-paying jobs in the public education hierarchy. It wouldn't look good if he actually served time in jail, as this might cause people to wonder about the highly-paid public education types in their own school districts. Best to sweep this under the rug, as quickly as possible.

It's a shame that this sort of situation does not immediately trigger a review of the whole district--including the Board of Education. These people on the Board should not get out of this without having their role examined by impartial investigators--say from the Office of the State Auditor, or the State Dept. of Justice.

If he doesn't serve any time, then it will once again reinforce the fact that there are two sets of laws in this country--one for the well-to-do, and the other for the rest of us.

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Posted by white privilege
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Ever wonder non-white people are disproportionately represented among the prison population? Whites can more easily get out on bail and then plea bargain to a non-prison sentence.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Book-em-Danno!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2012 at 9:17 am

> Ever wonder non-white people are disproportionately represented
> among the prison population?

Check the stats--non-whites commit more violent crimes than whites do, based on their census representation.

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Posted by Tired of the BS
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2012 at 11:36 pm

White priviledge,
Whether a person qualifies for bail and how much it is set at is determined by the offense, criminal history, whether the person has a job or a physical address, and whether the person has failed to show up for court before in the past. Race is not part of the equation.

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