On the day he was due to rejoin the school board in Delaware County's Penn-Delco district, John Green instead pleaded no contest Monday to a felony conflict-of-interest charge for voting to approve school-district invoices from the company he works for.
After entering his plea, Green was sentenced by Delaware County Court Judge Frank Hazel to 18 months' probation and a $2,500 fine, plus court costs and restitution of $838 to Temp-Air, the company at which he works as a salesman. The $838 was the amount he received in commissions from Temp-Air, which had provided dehumidifiers to the Penn-Delco district because of a mold problem.
Green, 45, of Brookhaven, a member of the school board for almost eight years, resigned after he was charged in late October. But his name was still on the November ballot, and he was reelected to the post. He agreed as part of the plea deal that he would not serve on the board again.
Green's attorney, Michael F.X. Gillin, continued to maintain yesterday that his client had not knowingly violated the law, saying that Green had not known about the commissions until recently. But "he didn't want to prolong this any further," Gillin said. "He didn't want to put his family through any more and he wanted the district to heal."
The Penn-Delco district's troubles are not over with Green's plea. In an unrelated case, former school board president Keith Crego and former superintendent Leslye Abrutyn face numerous criminal charges. Delaware County prosecutors allege that Crego set up a child-care business without disclosing his involvement, arranged for it to get contracts with the district, and profited from the arrangement.
Abrutyn, who resigned in July, is charged with investing in the child-care business and not reporting her involvement on financial disclosure forms. The two were arrested in mid-October; they face a Dec. 13 hearing in Delaware County court.
Crego is also charged with theft by deception after allegedly taking money from a new district employee to put into an annuity program that did not exist and with drug offenses for steroids and other drugs allegedly found in his house.
Crego resigned from the school board in late 2006 after an exchange of domestic-abuse allegations with his girlfriend, a former school board member.
But at a school board meeting Monday night, Janice Fromal, a frequent board critic, told the board that from now on, "we will be asking questions about the decisions you make and yes, we will be expecting answers to those questions. . . . There is a lot of hard work to be done to gain the trust and respect of the residents of this district."