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Ex-Beverly Hills Unified School District superintendant sentenced for fund misuse

February 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A former superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District was sentenced to jail time for misusing public funds.

Jeffery Hubbard was sentenced to 60 days in jail, 280 hours of community service, and he also faces a $60,000 fine and $23,000 in restitution.

He was convicted in January on two counts of misusing public funds.

He was sent directly to jail Thursday morning after the judge handed down the sentence. His wife sobbed in the courtroom.

Hubbard, 55, was found guilty of ordering a $20,000 stipend to be paid to a colleague, Karen Christiansen, but that money was never authorized by the school board. Christiansen, 53, used to be the facilities director for the school district.

Judge Stephen Marcus said that based on salacious emails between the two, they had a "very, very special relationship." Hubbard also increased Christiansen's monthly car allowance by $350 from $150 to $500 without board approval.

Hubbard will serve some jail time, but Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman says the real deterrent is the loss of his job and his hefty salary.

"They care about money, and they care about money first, so that will be the strongest deterrent. Going to county jail, that means something to us in the criminal justice system, because we know what county jail is like, but I'm not sure it means so much to the people out there who we're trying to deter," said Huntsman.

Beverly Hills Unified School District worker Latanya Kirk-Carter said the misused money could have been used for a variety of things including books, janitors and cafeteria workers.

"That's was money that was stolen from our children," Kirk-Carter said.

The BHUSD said it now has more oversight to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future. Christiansen was sentenced on Jan. 5 to serve four years and four months in state prison and faces paying $2 million in restitution after being convicted of negotiating contracts between the school district and a firm with which her company had a consulting agreement, and for backing a school bond measure that benefited her firm.

Authorities say due to jail overcrowding, Hubbard will likely be out of jail as early as next week.