Talk about buying your freedom!
The former PTA treasurer who stole nearly $100,000 from a Cobble Hill public school will agree to pay back every penny — plus interest — if District Attorney Charles Hynes keeps her out of jail during a plea deal hammered out in court on Monday — an arrangement witnessed by many of the parents she bilked.
Providence Hogan, who admitted stealing the case from PS 29’s PTA coffers to pay her rent and fertility treatments, didn’t speak at the hearing, but her attorney Steven Flamhaft agreed to Hynes’s demands that she pay $40,000 up front and the remainder of the balance within the next nine months.
But the school won’t be seeing the money anytime soon: Hogan’s plea wasn’t entered into the record on Monday. Both Flamhaft and prosecutors said they would return to court in August to set up a payment plan.
More than 10 PS 29 parents sat in the gallery as the plea arrangement was discussed. Many were gratified that they would be getting their money back, although some were concerned that Hogan, who still has a child enrolled in the school, could renege on her promise.
“[Her attorney] asked the judge for more time,” said one member of PS 29’s PTA family, who wished not to give her name. “In August she could ask for more time and we won’t get anything for months. Nothing’s set in stone.”
Hogan was arrested in March for swiping $82,000 from the PTA treasury between May, 2008 and September, 2010.
Hogan, who had access to the PTA’s checkbook, allegedly cut checks to herself ranging from $6,000 to $52,000, prosecutors say.
On the withdrawal slips, Hogan, who owns the Providence Day Spa on Atlantic Avenue, claimed that the pilfered cash was being spent on class trips to the Brooklyn–Queens Conservatory of Music and Club Getaway.
But investigators say she spent the funds on fertility treatments and the rent on both her home and her business between Smith and Hoyt streets.
Hogan admitted to stealing from the PTA in February after the group discovered a disparity on its tax returns.
PS 29’s parents are of two minds on how Hynes is treating Hogan. The PTA leadership, who is being represented by an attorney, said they were happy with the arrangement.
“We are very pleased with the judge’s statement that Hogan should make the PTA whole by making full restitution,” said Maryana Zubok of Goodwin Procter, where a PS 29 parent is an attorney.
Yet other parents believe Hogan should go to prison.
“She should go to jail for what she did,” school parent Clyde Babson told us in May. “Just like if you steal money from the bank, you need to serve time.”
But those attending Monday’s hearing disagreed, claiming that nothing productive could come out of seeing Hogan behind bars.
“I don’t think jail time would serve any purpose,” former PS 29 parent Natalie Giles told the New York Post.