Saturday, May 27, 2017

UPDATE: Rumors Turn Into Guilty Plea (Rumors Of Theft In Gloucester County Public School System)

 

Last May we published an update to the story below about “rumors” of theft within the Gloucester County Public School System (GCPS); in which we reported information contained in the May 17, 2017 edition of the Gloucester Mathews Gazette Journal.

According to the Gazette’s local court case information, “Larry Clark Lawson, 56, 668 Fickle Fen Road, Mathews, was indicted on two felony counts of wrongfully and fraudulently use, dispose of, conceal, or embezzle property having a value of $200 or more, belonging to Gloucester County, March23-April 19, 2017”

The property has been reported to be two welders owned by GCPS and the theft appears to have been initially covered up by Mr. Lawson’s supervisor who retired shortly after the indictments.

We have just learned from public records that Larry C. Lawson pleaded guilty to one of two counts of embezzlement on January 4, 2019. The public records indicate the next hearing is set for April 23, 2019 for Presentence Report. Once someone is convicted of a felony in Virginia, the judge will order a Presentence Report. Presentence Reports are prepared by a probation officer and include various family, background and employment information about the defendant. Sentencing should follow soon thereafter.

Unfortunately, it appears Mr. Lawson and his supervisor will continue to receive Virginia retirement pay and benefits. Shouldn’t Mr. Lawson have been fired when the thefts were discovered instead of being told to bring the property back and directed to retire? Shouldn’t he and his supervisor forfeit all pay and benefits and be forever barred from any form of government service? We think so.

We will continue to follow this story and keep you updated. As always, feel free to contact us with instances of public corruption in our local government and public-school system.

Kenny Hogge, Sr.
02/28/2019 

One year ago we published the story below about “rumors” of theft within the Gloucester County Public School System (GCPS). According to the May 17th edition of the Gloucester Mathews Gazette Journal; “Larry Clark Lawson, 56, 668 Fickle Fen Road, Mathews, was indicted on two felony counts of wrongfully and fraudulently use, dispose of, conceal, or embezzle property having a value of $200 or more, belonging to Gloucester County, March23-April 19, 2017”

In the same edition of the Gazette Journal there is an article about the retirement of Mr. Lawson’s supervisor, who according to the “rumors”, told Mr. Lawson to return the property and submit his resignation/retirement. If this part of the rumors is true, shouldn’t the supervisor be indicted also?

We will continue to follow this story and keep you updated.



Rumors Of Theft In Gloucester County Public School System
Several days ago we heard a “rumor” about a welder being stolen from the Gloucester County Public School (GCPS) Bus Garage. According to the “rumor”; someone working for our public school system stole a plasma welder from the bus garage and once the theft became known, the thief was told by administration to bring the welder back, submit their resignation and no charges would be filed. The “rumor” further alleges that the employee has enough time in local government service to retire and the “resignation” has actually turned into retirement for the thief.

That is a very ugly rumor and appears, “if” true, to be another prime example of our laws being applied selectively. If you or I walked into the bus garage and walked out with a screwdriver, law enforcement would be called; we would be arrested and prosecuted. End of Story. The same should happen to this thief if the “rumor” is true and they should forfeit their retirement benefits. Search warrants should also be executed on all of the thief’s properties to make sure they haven’t stolen other property owned by us. 

We sent an email to GCPS Superintendent, Dr. Walter Clemons, asking if he could confirm whether or not the “rumor” is true. Dr. Clemons replied, “I am unable to comment or provide information regarding employee personnel matters.  However, please know that any matter that we discover or are made aware of involving employee misconduct is investigated by our Department of Human Resources and reviewed by our school board with actions taken as deemed appropriate.  We also notify law enforcement on certain matters when necessary.” 

I guess his answer speaks for itself; they are not going to tell us anything under the cloak of employee privacy. I wonder what determines when they, “notify law enforcement on certain matters when necessary.” Do you think you or I would be investigated by human resources and our case reviewed by the school board before they notified law enforcement? I don’t think so. If this “rumor” is true and the thief remains uncharged and is not prosecuted, it will also be another clear example of how disengaged from reality and lawfulness the administrators of our public school system and our school board really are.
                                                                                                         
As bad as it sounds, this is not the ugliest “rumor” about our public school system that we have been following. In April 2014 and after considerable research that was ultimately stonewalled by the school system, we sent an email to the School Board in which we addressed a rumor spreading through the community about the theft of gate admission money at school sporting events. We also provided the findings of our research to the school board and offered suggestions to correct each identified shortcoming. It was not received well at all; imagine that.

Our public school system activity funds usually involve almost $1.5 million per year and are not monies from the school system's annual budget. Activity fund money comes from student parking fees, sporting and other event admission fees, club fees, money from fund raising, some scholarships, etc.

We will soon provide everything we know about the activity fund investigation. In the meantime, take a few minutes to share the rumor about the welding machine thief with others in our community and while you’re at it send a quick email to the school board and board of supervisors letting them know we know about the “rumor”. Here are their email addresses.

Board of Supervisors' email address: bos@gloucesterva.info 
School Board email address: SchoolBoard@gc.k12.va.us 

Click here to read more stories about our wonderful Gloucester County government, public school system and other topics: http://www.gloucestercounty-va.com

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