New York’s highest court Tuesday reinstated a lawsuit centering on the infamous Roslyn Union Free School District embezzlement case on technical legal grounds, but cast severe doubt on the thrust of the claim -- whether school board members could be held responsible for the $11 million theft.
The unusual case features the school district suing school board members for allegedly lax management between 1998 and 2004, when three school officials pocketed millions – all three were eventually convicted of grand larceny. One board member, Carol Margaritis, countered that the lawsuit should be dismissed on statute of limitations grounds.
Lower courts had agreed with Margaritis. But on Tuesday, the Court of Appeals disagreed in a 7-0 decision, saying that suit, commenced in 2005, was filed one year before the legal clock ran out. That means the case must go back to a county-level court for trial.
That said, the high court expressed strong reservations on the merits of the lawsuit. The judges wrote that since the state Comptroller’s office had previously traced the stolen funds to the convicted school officials, “there appears to be no need for an accounting against” Margaritis and recommended that “this cause of action should be dismissed.”