NEW YORK – A former New York principal who used nearly $30,000 in school money to finance an extramarital affair was arrested on Thursday and charged with felony grand larceny.
Robert Hannibal, former head of New York City’s Arturo Toscanini MS 145, used money from fundraisers, candy sales and donations “to shower his mistress with lavish gifts and pricey dinners,” reports the New York Post.
Investigators say the longtime administrator also used school money – taken from 2010 to 2012 – to pay some of his mistress’ bills.
The Office of Special Commissioner of Investigation began looking into irregularities with the school’s general account fund – which Hannibal controlled – on May 1, 2013, the Post reports.
When confronted with the misuse of funds, Hannibal reportedly tried to convince investigators that he had confused the school’s debit card with his own. After one or two other lame defenses, Hannibal confessed that he had used the school’s account “as his own ‘piggy bank,’” NYDailyNews.com reports.
Hannibal told investigators his affair-related spending spun “out of control.”
“Hannibal lost his job in August 2013 and pled guilty to felony larceny charges Thursday but will not face jail time,” the Post reports. “He paid $21,080 in restitution and is expected to pay an additional $5,000 fine on Friday.”
City school leaders have barred Hannibal, who is 59 years old, from future employment with the district.
NYDailyNews.com reports that Hannibal is still married, and that one of his neighbors is delighted to hear about the former principal’s fall from grace.
“Oh, good, because he walks around like he’s the biggest s— in the world. He acts like he owns the neighborhood!” Evelyn Garcia, who lives across the street from Hannibal, told NYDailyNews.com.