Former Skiatook School Superintendent's Court Hearing Postponed

Thursday, June 2nd 2011, 12:04 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma – A former Green Country superintendent indicted for embezzlement was back in court Thursday.

But Gary Johnson's hearing was postponed again, this time at the request of the District Attorney.  Johnson, the former superintendent of Skiatook Public Schools, is charged with one count each of embezzlement and bribery of a public official.

6/1/2011 Related Story: Court Hearing Set For Former Skiatook School Superintendent

"I think it's taken too long. I don't understand why it's gotten put off and put off and put off," Charlene Lovelace, a grand juror, said.

Charlene Lovelace was part of the grand jury impaneled to investigate the spending scandal at Skiatook Public Schools.

A state audit released in February of 2010 revealed the district wasted more than half a million dollars.

For example, auditors found the district paid for three cases of mops, but only got three individual mops.  That means they paid $180 for each of them, when the mops would only cost about $5 at your neighborhood store.

Gary Johnson resigned over the scandal and the building that carried his name was wiped clean of his legacy. It took a grand jury to indict him for embezzlement and bribery.

"I didn't think it would take a year, I really didn't. I'm a little surprised that it's take a year," Lovelace said. "I've followed it very closely. I doubt that I've missed any of the stories that have come over the wire."

The latest delay came at the request of District Attorney Tim Harris, who needs some extra time to file a more detailed charge. Harris wants to assure Skiatook taxpayers the time he's taken hasn't been wasted and he does want justice.

"If at all possible obtain monetary retribution back to the taxpayers and the students and for us to accomplish that we have to continue this investigation on the course that it's on," he said.

Lovelace, who also works for a Green Country school district, says this case is bigger than Skiatook.

"And I would like for this case to be an example, not just for Tulsa County, but the rest of the country, that we need to be good stewards of public money, especially when it comes to children," she said.

District Attorney Tim Harris says he's worked with other agencies for the last year to investigate this case, but he declined to say which agencies or whether Johnson could face more charges.

Johnson's attorney has repeatedly said in the past that this was a mistake and not a crime.

Johnson is expected to be back in court on July 13, 2011.