John Green, a member of the beleaguered Penn-Delco School Board, has a saying he likes to use when asked tough questions: "My life is an open book."
Delaware County authorities gave it a read and decided that the part where he allegedly directs school contracts to his employer - and gets a commission for it - is a felony conflict of interest.
Green's arrest yesterday stems from a 10-month investigation into Penn-Delco's financial activities. Former school-board president Keith Crego and former superintendent Leslye Abrutyn were hit with corruption charges last week.
The Daily News first reported last month that TempAir, a Newark, Del., company that provides temporary heating and air-conditioning services, hired Green as a salesman in 2003, the same year it landed contracts in Penn-Delco.
The Daily News also reported that Green failed to disclose that he worked for TempAir, filing statements of financial interests dated Feb. 1, 2005, and Jan. 31, 2006, on forms that did not exist before late December 2006, according to John Contino, executive director of the State Ethics Commission.
Green, 45, of Brookhaven, acknowledged to the newspaper that he backdated the forms because he "forgot to do them." He said he never abstained from school-board votes to approve TempAir invoices because he didn't consider it a conflict of interest.
"I've done nothing wrong," Green said last month.
On Friday, however, he admitted to Delaware County Detective Thomas Worrilow that he earned more than $800 in commissions on the contracts the company had in Penn-Delco, according to the criminal complaint against him.
Joseph Brielmann, spokesman for the district attorney's office, said, "The amount of money at issue is not really the critical factor; it's the integrity of the public-schools system and the people that are in charge of operating it."
Green surrendered to authorities yesterday morning and was charged with one felony count and one misdemeanor count of violating the state ethics act by voting on the TempAir contracts and receiving a cut of the money.
He waived his preliminary hearing in Aston District Court and asked that the case be fast-tracked. Such cases often result in a guilty plea. If convicted on both counts, Green is facing a maximum eight years in prison, plus fines.
"If, in fact, the allegations are true and correct, then I believe he should step down," said Tony Ruggieri, a Chester County cop who was appointed to the Penn-Delco board in January.
Eight members of the board have resigned in the last 15 months. The monthly board meeting is scheduled for tonight at Pennell Elementary School.
Crego and Abrutyn, meanwhile, are awaiting preliminary hearings on charges that they were covert owners of Quick Start Preschools, which ran programs for district children. Crego also was charged with racketeering, forgery, bribery and possession of anabolic steroids and Ecstasy.
Brielmann said he did not anticipate any more arrests of Penn-Delco officials. *