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Indiana sues 2 former school administrators for $3M

May 26, 2017

The Indiana Attorney General's office is suing two former Munster school administrators for more than $3 million, alleging the pair misappropriated, illegally retained or fraudulently obtained public funds.

Attorney General Curtis Hill's office filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Lake Circuit Court against former Munster Superintendent William Pfister and former Assistant Superintendent Richard Sopko. Their attorney denies wrongdoing.

A State Board of Accounts report in June accused the men of receiving more than $850,000 in overpayments to their annuities, salary and stipend, and other items between 1999 and 2014.

The lawsuit alleges each administrator had a contract that stipulated how much money by percentage would be paid into their annuity account, but it was changed at some point without school board approval. The suit also alleges the administrators were each wrongfully paid bonuses of more than $20,000 beyond what was allowed in their contracts.

The men's attorney, Greg Bouwer, said his clients believed the school board approved the payments.

The state is seeking a combined $3.3 million to cover the loss to the schools, costs of a state audit and damages. The cost of the investigation was more than $10,000 for each administrator, according to the lawsuit. The state is also seeking court costs, attorney fees and other expenses.

The suit also names several insurance companies that insured the administrators during their tenure. The attorney general's office is seeking to recover more than $400,000 from the companies under district insurance policies.

The next court date is set for May 31, in the Lake County Circuit Court's Civil Division.

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