Ex-LAUSD food services boss charged with embezzling public funds

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The former director of food services for the Los Angeles Unified School District has been charged with misappropriation of public funds and embezzlement for allegedly diverting $65,000 in district money to a culinary club he controlled, prosecutors said Tuesday.

David Binkle, 55, is also accused of forging a district vendor application, failing to report his outside financial interests to the district and funneling public funds into his personal bank account, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said in a statement.

All told, he’s accused of 15 felony counts.

RELATED STORY: Audit finds millions of dollars in waste in LAUSD food program

Binkle resigned from the LAUSD in 2015 following a critical audit of the food services program.

The audit said the $341-million-a-year program under his direction had problems dating back to the district’s 2011 decision to let food services forgo standard contracting practices with the expectation that administrative costs would be lowered.

Expensive hotel stays and millions of dollars in waste were also uncovered by the audit, which was released by the district’s inspector general.

Before leaving the school district, Binkle collected a $152,000 annual salary.

RELATED STORY: LAUSD to double spending on meals despite criminal probe as food services director resigns

The ex-director was, as this paper reported in 2015, a champion of healthy eating, even appearing at the White House alongside then-first lady Michelle Obama and starring in TEDx Talks.

Prosecutors say between 2010 and 2014, he allegedly diverted the money to the culinary club, for which he was president.

If convicted, he faces 13 years and eight months in state prison, according to the D.A.’s office. Prosecutors have said an arrest warrant was filed on Aug. 2.


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