Spivey resigns position

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 26, 2002

Messenger Publisher

The man charged with stealing air conditioning units from the Pike County Board of Education resigned this week.

John Key, superintendent of the Pike County school system, said the Board of Education accepted Timothy Spivey’s resignation during an executive session on Monday night.

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"The board accepted his resignation effective July 15," Key said. "I don’t have it in hand yet, but he told me he was resigning."

Spivey, 43, was arrested on July 15 and charges of first degree theft of 10 air conditioning units from the school system. Police said Spivey, who was maintenance supervisor for the school district, apparently ordered the units; billed them to the Pike County Board of Education; and then sold the units to private parties through his personal business, City Electric Co. Earlier this week, Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage released information saying investigators had located approximately 50 units believed to be stolen from the district.

District Attorney Mark Fuller said at that time the investigation "just beginning" and that more charges could be possible.

Both Spivey and his brother, Johndi Spivey, were placed on administrative leave at that time by the district. Johndi Spivey remains on administrative leave "until the police finalize the entire investigation."

Police and the school officials have said the investigation is a laborious one. Investigators have subpoenaed business records from as far back as 1996 in an effort to cross-reference orders to the school system. With that information in hand, investigators are verifying the location of the units ­ including checking those units installed by City Electric Co. in private residences and businesses.

"There’s a lot of detective work involved," Key said. "It’s going to be a while before we can get all the records."

Key said while investigators have verified between 30 and 50 units, including several window units, "we suspect it will be more; we’re going to continue to verify them."

School system officials have been reluctant to attach dollar figures to the cost of the units, because the type varies and because the extent of the apparent theft is unknown.

However, Key said Wednesday that the original 10 units cited in the warrant were valued at $13,000, and he estimated an average cost per unit at approximately $1,200.

If as many as 50 units are verified as being stolen from the district, that could amount to as much as $60,000 in school system funds that were misappropriated, Key said.

In a district struggling with budget constraints associated with proration, that’s a significant figure. "One teacher unit, for one year, is about $50,000," Key said. "But we could’ve used that money for air-conditioners

we could’ve used the air-conditioners."

Because state property is involved, Key said the Board of Education will seek restitution for as part of the resolution of the case. However, the extent of that restitution will depend on the results of the investigation, officials have said.

And, what happens to the units purchased by the private parties remains unknown, although the district attorney and school officials have said repeatedly that they do not intend to remove any units at this time.

"The people who bought them bought them in good faith," Key said. "At this point, it isn’t our intent to take anybody’s air-conditioner

but the state can’t ignore that it’s property is sitting around out there."

Law enforcement officials have asked anyone who purchased units from City Electric Co. to contact investigators at the Troy Police Department, 566-0500.

"If a solution is reached, it will be only for those units verified at that time," Everage said this week.