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Former principal ordered to repay La Vernia ISD
Wilson County NewsNovember 20, 2013 | 1,432 views | 2 comments
LA VERNIA -- Maria Elena Wildenstein, 49, has been sentenced to seven years’ deferred adjudication probation and is ordered to pay $31,591.97 in restitution to the La Vernia Independent School District (ISD) as part of a plea agreement approved Nov. 12 by Judge Donna Rayes of the 81st Judicial District. This was after the former La Vernia Junior High School principal pled “no contest” to one count of misapplication by a fiduciary totaling more than $20,000 but less than $100,000, in connection with 23 checks belonging to the school’s junior high activity fund.
As Rayes reviewed the written plea admonishments and jury waiver, Wildenstein -- flanked by defense attorney Lorraine Efron -- intermittently wept.
In addition to repaying the La Vernia ISD for the funds misapplied on or about Oct. 14, 2010, to on or about June 26, 2011, Wildenstein will pay a $3,000 fine and various court costs. She also is ordered to perform 200 hours of community service at a rate of 16 hours per month. If Wildenstein had not waived her right to a jury trial, she faced the possibility of up to 10 years in prison.
Efron asked Rayes if the court would consider probating the fine, in light of the restitution and other fees.
“I consider this to be the plea-bargain agreement,” Rayes said. “I’m not going to vary from it.”
Wildenstein’s case was the last to be heard for the day and the courtroom was mostly empty. However, La Vernia-area residents Mary Bratten, Mary Bordner, and Jennifer Moczygemba were present to witness the proceedings. Moczygemba was instrumental in rallying residents to demand answers of the La Vernia ISD after questions began to surface about the activity fund.
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November 20, 2013 4:37pm
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