Local Connection: Piontek's Sentence

Local Connection: Piontek's Sentence

When he was Principal of a Waipahu charter school Jeff Piontek stole more than $100,000 in taxpayer money. He spent it on himself, including at least one visit to a strip club. Hawaii News Now broke the story four years ago.

For this criminal theft, violation of trust, and insult to the children and families who relied on him, Judge Glenn Kim sentenced him only to probation and restitution.

It's sadly not usual for white collar criminals to get probation in this state even when schools and taxpayers are the victims.

But in this case it is ridiculous that Piontek will not spend significant time in prison. Not only did he take money intended for the education of children, he spent years trying to avoid prosecution.  He did spend 30 days in jail, but that was only because he fought extradition from California.

This absurd sentence sends a message that it's OK to steal lots of taxpayer money as long as you pay it back.  Mr. Piontek damaged the public trust and so has Judge Kim.

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