Education

Former Wayne schools official pleads guilty to accepting gifts

Posted April 30, 2013

— A former Wayne County Public Schools official pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting gifts from school district contractors, including use of a beach house, authorities said.

Donald Sprunt Hill, 61, of 204 Ramblewood Drive in Mount Olive, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of accepting gifts and favors from contractors and suppliers while he worked with the school system. He was placed on probation for a year, fined $5,000 and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.

Hill, who retired as assistant superintendent three years ago, was charged last week.

His arrest was part of a joint investigation by the FBI and Wayne County Sheriff's Office, which began in early 2009. Authorities said the gifts were provided between July 2007 and June 2009.

Two other former school district employees pleaded guilty in December 2011 to public corruption charges in a related bid-rigging scheme. Authorities said a Johnston County roofing company gave the men kickbacks in return for steering projects to the firm between 2002 and 2009.

"After more than three years, I am pleased to see this investigation brought to a close," Superintendent Steven Taylor said in a statement.

"Wayne County Public Schools holds all of its employees to the highest standards,” Taylor said. "Personally, I am deeply saddened that a trusted colleague would exercise poor judgment in carrying out the responsibilities and duties of his position.”

As a result of the investigation, the district has implemented new fiscal safeguards, increased protocols for department operations and hired a full-time internal auditor, he said.

2 Comments

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  • WralCensorsAreBias Apr 30, 7:12 p.m.

    They are probably concerned about wasting money for future school building projects and then pulling out and wasting 3 or 4 million. Whatcha think?

  • superman Apr 30, 6:25 p.m.

    So they are smart enough now to realize that someone needs to be looking after the money.