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Portola Valley Superintendent Pleads Not Guilty to Embezzlement Charges

Timothy Hanretty denied sloughing more than $100,000 from the district to remodel his home.

Former Portola Valley School District superintendent Timothy Hanretty Tuesday morning pleaded not guilty to charges that he embezzled more than $100,000 in district funds to remodel his home.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that Hanretty, 55, allegedly paid for the renovation of his Woodside home with money from a special fund established by the district to pay for solar panel installations at various schools.

The defendant and his attorney, Michael Markowitz, declined to speak with reporters outside the courtroom in Redwood City Tuesday morning. Prosecutors allege that Hanretty, who resigned as superintendent in January, submitted false invoices totaling $100,926 for payment from the district's solar panel fund. The invoices were for construction work at the schools that was never performed, Wagstaffe said.

The defendant, who was arrested at his home on Friday, has been charged with six counts of felony embezzlement of public funds -- one for each of the phony invoices, Wagstaffe said.

In April, Hanretty was charged with misappropriating public funds from the Woodside Elementary School District, where he worked as the chief business officer.

Prosecutors allege that in November 2007, Hanretty was placed in charge of securing a loan not to exceed $632,000 to improve an athletic field for the elementary district. Hanretty allegedly presented fraudulent paperwork without the knowledge of the school board and obtained a loan of $2.6 million, Wagstaffe said.

The school board gave the defendant a $5,000 bonus for completing the athletic field project on time and on budget while he was allegedly using the excess funds to pay for projects at various schools without the board's approval, Wagstaffe said.

The fraud was discovered in November 2011 when the school district conducted an investigation to determine why its debt was unusually high, according to the district attorney's office.

Henretty has been charged with one count of embezzlement of public funds, forgery and filing a false document in connection with the case, Wagstaffe said.

The defendant, who is out of custody on $60,000 bail, is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 16.

--Bay City News

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