Hubbard's arraignment scheduled for Tuesday

Editor's note: The arraignment has been moved to Tuesday.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard is to be arraigned Tuesday on two felony counts for his alleged involvement in the criminal misappropriation of public funds during his previous job as superintendent of Beverly Hills schools, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Hubbard is expected to appear at Beverly Hills Superior Court, where he is to surrender to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and be placed under arrest, Shiara Davila-Morales, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said Wednesday.

Bail for Hubbard has already been set at $50,000.

Salvatore Ciulla, a city of Orange-based attorney who is representing Hubbard, said he's been talking to his client "many times every day," but that it was too early to comment about the case.

Since denying the allegations in an interview with the Pilot last week, Hubbard has not responded to other interview requests. Newport-Mesa Unified officials said he is currently on vacation and won't be returning to his post until after Jan. 1. Newport-Mesa schools will let out for winter recess Friday.

Paul Reed, the district's chief business official, is filling in for Hubbard during the superintendent's absence.

Laura Boss, the district's spokeswoman, said the district's operations as it relates to the education of the children has not suffered in the interim.

Walt Davenport, the newly-named Newport-Mesa school board president, said he's been communicating with Hubbard through e-mail, and that Hubbard is "holding up well, considering the circumstances."

"I have not seen any evidence yet that is strong enough to shake our faith," said Davenport, 75, who's entering his second term with the board.

On Monday, the school board held a closed session to discuss the allegations against Hubbard, but so far the school board has very little information about the case. The board took no action against Hubbard during Monday's meeting behind closed doors.

As of early Wednesday, the board didn't know who Hubbard's attorney was, school board member Dana Black said in an interview.

"We just don't have the facts to make any decisions yet," she said.

At Tuesday night's regular school board meeting, in which four board members were sworn in before a packed chamber, board member Karen Yelsey apologetically pointed out to the crowd that Hubbard was absent.

"I want to remind everybody that we live in a wonderful country," she said, "where you're innocent until proven guilty."

She then told the story of Ray Donovan, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s as the U.S. Secretary of Labor. He was indicted in a 1987 case involving larceny and fraud.

When Donovan was eventually acquitted of the charges, he was reported to have said, "Which office do I go to get my reputation back?" Yelsey said.

Orange County Supt. of Schools William M. Habermehl, who on Tuesday night swore in the four board members, praised the school board for not having taken any action regarding Hubbard in Monday's closed session.

"It happened a number of years ago. It could be lost paperwork," said Habermehl, referring to the criminal complaint, during a telephone interview on Wednesday. "I'm thrilled that the board showed maturity by not taking action. I don't think even the attorney has all the facts. They've showed great courage and respect for their superintendent."

Hubbard stands accused of giving an unauthorized stipend of $20,000 to Karen Anne Christiansen, former director of facilities and planning for the Beverly Hills Unified School District, while the two worked there, according to the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors on Dec. 9.

Hubbard also allegedly gave Christiansen an increase in her car allowance.

Christiansen, 52, of Las Vegas, is expected to be arraigned at the same hearing Tuesday and faces a total of eight felony counts, six of which involve "conflict of interests" charges and two charges connected with Hubbard's case, according to the complaint.

Her bail has been set at $2 million.

She allegedly awarded herself a contract totaling more than $5 million while working at the Beverly Hills district and earning an annual salary of $113,000, according to the criminal complaint. Hubbard, who's been working for the Newport-Mesa district since July 2006, said he was not at the Beverly Hills district at the time Christiansen's contract was approved.

If convicted of the felony counts, Hubbard could serve five years in prison, or he could only receive probation and be ordered to pay restitution, depending on criminal history, Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said in an interview last week.

Regardless of the sentencing, if he is convicted, Hubbard's teaching credentials would automatically be revoked, Mary Armstrong, general counsel for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing in Sacramento, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

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