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New York School Superintendent Busted for Corruption Scheme

The former long-time superintendent for the Utica City School District (UCSD) in New York State embezzled taxpayer money meant for students and used it to help himself.

This is according to a statement that State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli published late last month. 

That former superintendent, Bruce Karam, pleaded guilty to public corruption, a felony. Karam used public resources to support the school board election campaigns of candidates he favored. As school board members, those people would determine Karam’s salary. 

“He [Karam] also used school resources to send invitations for a non-school related fundraiser for a purported charity run by former Utica mayor and school board president Louis LaPolla,” according to DiNapoli’s statement. 

“Fundraiser fliers for the charity were inserted by school district employees during school hours in envelopes the school district paid for and were mailed using the district’s stamps.”

Karam was the UCSD’s superintendent from 2011 until October 2022. Authorities arrested him in November 2023. 

Karam was sentenced to pay the UCSD restitution of $11,549 for the resources improperly diverted, serve five years’ probation and perform 250 hours of community service. He also must pay UCSD $150,000 by May 17, representing a reduction in his pension earnings from the date of his crime until his termination.

LaPolla, meanwhile, was sentenced to 60 days of house arrest and three years of probation.

Public schools in New York state have had a number of other problems.

As RVIVR reported last year, New York State public schools lost at least $1.8 billion in revenue to tax abatements in Fiscal Year 2021. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Good Jobs First analyzed the findings in a special report. 

This figure, Good Jobs First went on to say, combines $430 million in self-reported losses by 318 school districts with $1.4 billion in estimated losses for schools in the state’s five largest cities, where education-specific tax abatement disclosures are not available.

Good Jobs First, according to its website, is a policy resource center that promotes corporate and government accountability in economic development.

Special thanks to Warhammer’s Wife proofreading this story before publication to make certain there were no misspellings, grammatical errors or other embarrassing mistakes and/or typosFollow Warhammer on Twitter @Real_Warhammer. Also follow Warhammer on TruthSocial at @Real_Warhammer