The former principal of one of Hawaii’s largest charter schools was arrested by U.S. Marshals on Monday night.
Jeff Piontek, 47, allegedly stole over $100,000 from Hawaii Technology Academy (HTA), the school he led until his firing in December 2011.
Facing accusations of "abuse, waste and fraud," Piontek fled from Hawaii after his dismissal. U.S. Marshals had been pursuing him in New York and California until he was arrested in Santa Monica this week on felony charges.
According to Hawaii News Now, HTA's financial statements reported $107,860 spent on “travel, including airfare, hotels, meals and car rentals for administrators in the year that ended July 1, 2011.”
Piontek denied having committed any crime, saying the trips he took were to promote the school and Hawaii education as a whole.
But sources later told Hawaii News Now that the principal had used the school credit card to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and gift certificates at Chili's restaurants, Marriott hotels and Spafinder.com, among others.
If the accusations prove true, then it may be a long time before Piontek enjoys another spa day. He will appear before a Los Angeles County court before being extradited back to Hawaii.