HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – News 4 has learned the Hamburg superintendent, who police say admitted lying about vandalism to his car and was actually involved in an accident, had the school district pay for his car insurance deductible.
Dr. Richard Jetter was placed on paid administrative leave by the School Board after he reportedly confessed to police that he made up a story about his car being vandalized last May while on school property. Police say Jetter admitted he had actually hit a telephone pole in South Buffalo the night before.
News 4 has since learned that the Hamburg superintendent filed a request for the district to pay hundreds of dollars to cover his insurance deductible, and that he received that money.
Now Jetter could be facing an investigation by the State Education Department. School board member Catherine Forcucci, who has been locked in a bitter battle with the superintendent as he and others try to oust her from the board, plans to file a formal complaint alleging that Jetter violated his duties and the moral clause in his contact.
The complaint, called a Part 83 when filed by a school board member, would trigger a state investigation, according to New York Regent Bob Bennett. If found guilty Jetter could possibly lose his state certification.
Forcucci is facing a charge of official misconduct and school staff and Jetter have claimed she acted aggressively towards them in a way that has prevented the board from functioning. Jetter’s claim that his car had been vandalized had some speculating that it might have been tied to the school board battle.
In a News 4 interview Wednesday, Forcucci said, “There was no doubt in my mind that Dr. Jetter committed this act of false reporting and faking an accident.”
She added, “He put his own self interest ahead of the district and the parents and he has done this to himself. He deserves to lose this job because of his own actions.”
Jetter had been a key witness in the Forcucci hearings. He claimed Forcucci had acted very strangely, even speaking to him in a spooky voice like that of Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining.” Forcucci denies that, saying the conversation she had with Jetter, which there are no witnesses to, was very cordial.
Hamburg School Board President Dave Yoviene tells News 4 the hearings to oust Forcucci will continue on August 4, despite Jetter being on paid administrative leave, and Yoviene says he intends to testify against Forcucci.
This bizarre turn of events has shocked a school district where a major rally of some parents, teachers and administrators had demonstrated great support for their superintendent. School Board President Dave Yoviene was among them.
Even after Jetter was criminally charged, Yoviene on Thursday was praising the superintendent’s past work in the district. While he said the charges are “devastating,” he said “our school is running great. The people that are in charge [in] the system Dr. Jetter set up, it’s running fantastic.”
He added, “We’re looking to move forward, and our district is strong, and we’re going to survive. Not only survive, we’re going to flourish.”