On Aug. 14, a scandal that began in the spring culminated in the arrests of Tom Ely, a Ventura County Community College District trustee, and his wife, Ingrid.
First came newspaper reports that Tom Ely owed thousands of dollars to Nevada casinos. Then it was disclosed that a bank had sued the couple for allegedly failing to repay $17,000 in credit card charges.
District auditors reported that Ely had improperly charged $8,422 in expenses to the district and had filed an additional $6,978 in claims without proper substantiation.
Ely insisted he had followed district procedures and denied having a gambling problem.
The district attorney launched an investigation, which was later broadened to include allegations that Ingrid Ely had billed the Moorpark College Alumni Assn. for trips that her husband had also charged to the district.
Ingrid Ely, president of the alumni group, denied any wrongdoing.
Six weeks after the couple’s arrest, Municipal Judge Thomas J. Hutchins ruled there was enough evidence to bind them over for trial.
In addition to the two conspiracy counts, Tom Ely is charged with 19 counts of making a false or fraudulent claim and eight counts of embezzlement.
The Elys, released on their own recognizance, have pleaded not guilty.
They also have filed for bankruptcy, saying they owe creditors more than $300,000.
Included was more than $50,000 owed to casinos.
The Elys’ trial is scheduled for Jan. 14.
Although Tom Ely’s fellow board members have asked him to resign and he has not attended meetings for months, he remains on the board and continues to draw a $400-per-month salary.