HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Nassau County judge sentenced Hempstead school board member Randy Stith to probation on Tuesday.
Now there are calls for the former police officer to resign, after he admitted to forgery and stealing, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
There was no explanation for his limp, but Stith had other problems at his sentencing. Prosecutors claimed he has “minimized his conduct” and “accepted no responsibility,” even though he plead guilty to stealing money as treasurer of his fire department and forging a recommendation to become a police officer.
The “incredible minimization of your behavior” prompted the judge to make Stith repeat his admissions of guilt.
“If you think you are going to get over on someone with fast and loose words, it won’t happen. I will hold a hearing and gladly incarcerate you,” the judge said.
Supporters tried to block cameras in a case with larger implications. Stith is also a trustee in the long-struggling Hempstead School District.
“Under New York state law he has been convicted of a misdemeanor. It does not require him under law to step down or be expelled from the school board. He intends to fulfill his school board term,” defense attorney Joe Conway said.
Critics have petitioned for Stith to be removed.
“The heart of this is whether this trustee who violated the law and children and, ultimately, whether his violations of stealing and lying merit removal,” former Hempstead school board trustee Melissa Figueroa said. “What’s shocking is that the commissioner and state-appointed monitor have not taken issue with this. Why should the commissioner tolerate continued corrupt and arrogant behavior of the trustee? From the time he was arrested for throwing Clorox in a laundry worker’s face, to crashing an ambulance into a bridge, his infractions continue accumulating.
“People should be outraged and have confidence in the commissioner now to do something,” Figueroa added. “Governmental systems that continue to foster corruption such as trustees who get away with stealing and lying are the reason we find our youth today in the trouble they’re in.”
“How can you keep a person on there who has admitted to stealing and now he’s overseeing a $200 million-plus budget? That is just unbelievable,” said Hempstead school trustee Gwen Jackson. “If he is not going to voluntarily step down and the board is not going to ask him to step down then the commissioner should step in.”
But state education officials said they’ve received no formal complaint. Assemblywoman Taylor Raynor told CBS2 that’s “because the community could not afford a lawyer.”
She’s drafting “legislation to simplify the process so “underserved communities can file a complaint without a law degree.”
Stith will serve no jail time but instead have to give up his job as a cop, pay restitution and will remain on probation for three years.
Stith admitted to withdrawing money 12 times from the fire department account for his personal use. He will pay back more than $4,000.