State refiles theft charge against former charter school director
The ousted director of the now-defunct Halau Lokahi Public Charter School has again been charged with one of four felony theft counts that had been dismissedbecause the state Attorney General took too long to take the case to trial.
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The ousted director of the now-defunct Halau Lokahi Public Charter School has again been charged with one of four felony theft counts that had been dismissed
because the state Attorney General took too long to take the case to trial.
Papers in state court Wednesday charge Laara Allbrett, 65, with second-degree theft for spending $940 of school money on round-trip airfare for her and family members to attend the graduation of her son, Varner, at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The charge is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
A state judge dismissed the original charge and three other second-degree theft counts in April. The judge left open the possibility for the state to re-charge the count involving the airfare but dismissed the other three charges and barred further prosecution.
The other three charges involved Allbrett spending $462 for a healing light pad for her son, $350 for medical treatment at the Holistic Medical Center of Hawaii and $427 for a three-month supply of a health supplement.
The Attorney General first charged Allbrett in October 2017 following a nearly three-year investigation into more than $101,000 of questionable school payments and purchases from 2013 and 2014. The expenditures included noncontract payments of $11,747 to Allbrett’s daughter, Jewal; $6,760 to a psychic healer on Kauai; $10,316 to Rainbow Healing Arts, which
Allbrett said was for acupuncture and essential oils for staff and students; and $21,347 for services ranging from plumbing and public relations to office maintenance.
The state ordered the
arrests on first-degree theft and money-laundering charges in February 2015 of Allbrett, her son Adam K. “Kealii” Bright, who had been a teacher at the Kalihi school, and Rochelle Marie Tavares, Bright’s girlfriend and the school’s former
accounting clerk. All three were ousted in 2014 after the school ran out of money and stopped paying its rent and teachers.
The Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission revoked Halau Lokahi’s charter in March 2015 and closed the school two months later.
Bright admitted to investigators that he kept his school-issued debit card
after he was terminated and used it to purchase gasoline and a $1,022 Apple laptop computer.
State investigators recovered records of more than $5,200 of online purchases made by Tavares using Bright’s school debit card. The purchases, which were sent to her Aiea residence, included digital projectors, a DVD player, an air-conditioning window unit and dozens of duct tape rolls that had Hello Kitty, Superman,
Angry Birds and Mickey Mouse images printed on them. The records also show the debit card was used to purchase two
MacBook Air laptop computers and an external hard drive at the Best Buy store in Aiea, with customer reward points awarded to
In the end the state charged only Allbrett.