Seeking a deal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Whether the case of Timothy Spivey is peacefully settled or catapults into a court battle is now up to the Pike County Board of Education.

According to District Attorney Gary McAliley, a Tuesday meeting with Spivey's lawyers resulted in a difference of opinion and McAliley said he will now seek direction from the school board on how to prosecute the case against Spivey, a former maintenance supervisor who has pled innocent to charges of stealing air conditioning units and other items from the schools.

"We did meet. We did not come to any agreement," McAliley said. "He merely presented his side. I presented my side."

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McAliley said he presented a deal to Spivey's lawyers, demanding $248,685.74. He said the attorneys from the Montgomery law firm of George Beck and Gregory Biggs, who did not return phone calls, were not favorably impressed by the offer and described the positions of the defense and prosecution as far apart.

"I told him what my position would be and what I would be shooting for. He told me what he'd be shooting for," McAliley said. "We agreed that we are at different ends of the spectrum. I said that I would get with the current superintendent and tell him where we are and see what the school board desires as far as resolution of the case or whether they want us to go to trial."

Spivey is facing 131 felony theft charges and was indicted by the grand jury on Feb. 17.

Board member Greg Price said he expected to be fully briefed on the DA's offer at the next board meeting.

"I think we'll probably receive some sort of update at the next board meeting," he said, explaining that he was unaware of the specifics of Tuesday's proposal. "What we need to do is meet collectively and have a presentation of what the DA's office has to offer and discuss it as a board. Without any presentation about the ongoing discussions, I'm not prepared to offer a detailed statement at this time."

Board member Linda Steed had also not heard about McAliley's offer, but said she wanted the issue to be resolved fairly.

"I just want justice to be served," she said. "We did without. We cut back. We released several aides we couldn't provide for. Our system has had money taken from it that we could have used to provide those jobs and for those students."

Authorities have said they suspect that the thefts were conducted over a period of several years when Spivey ordered equipment through the school system and sold it to private customers through his company, City Electric Company.

"We'd talk about maintenance costs being higher and they said they'd cut back all they could cut," Steed said.

She emphasized the importance of punishment in the case of the stolen property, which is still technically property of the school system.

"The people of Pike County need to realize that when people are taking, they need to be punished," she said. "You punish drug dealers and killers. Crime is crime. Look at all these big men in these corporations

and CEOs taking money and this is the example for our youth today? That all you have to do is pay restitution and get away with it?"

Steed said the dollar value of the thefts was irrelevant.

"My Grandma and Mom always told me that a penny is as much as a million dollars if you steal it. It doesn't say in the Bible that stealing is only for a million dollars," she said. "Everything that they used, undoubtedly, was taken from us, not only in the schools, but as taxpayers. We all pay taxes. It's sad. It's sad that people are not satisfied with their jobs when they have good paying jobs."

According to McAliley, the prosecution would like to see Spivey face some jail time.

"I told him that his client should spend some time in the penitentiary and get out with a lot of time hanging over his head - a split sentence, in other words, and have the remainder of his sentence contingent on payment of restitution monthly over a period of five years."

McAliley said he expected to make a presentation to Pike County Superintendent Mark Bazzell and the school board "very soon."

The next Pike County Board of Education meeting is May 19.