Gurney's Inn
January 17, 2007

Busted Hampton Bays School Board Member Charged with Larceny

By Kitty Merrill

Christopher Catz, a member of the Hampton Bays School District Board of Education, was arrested on charges of felony grand larceny last Wednesday. Detectives from Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota's office picked him up after Verizon made a criminal complaint against the official.

According to DA spokesman Bob Clifford, between September and November of last year, Catz, a communications manager for Verizon, allegedly stole in excess of $8000 in coins from Verizon pay phones he was tasked with emptying. Cops say Verizon investigators observed Catz redeeming money from coin vaults, in $99 increments using Coin Star machines at a variety of locations.

According to the school district website, Catz, 39, has a degree in business administration. On the site, he vows to be fiscally responsible.

In other news of high profile collars and cases, last week Judge James Hudson changed his mind about sentencing John Giraldo, the man convicted of multiple sexual assaults perpetrated on South Fork beaches during the summer of 2004 and 2005. The DA sought 23 years plus deportation after the time was served. Hudson had promised 20 plus deportation. But last week, Hudson withdrew the plea agreement, offering Giraldo the following options: he could plead not guilty and go to trial or accept a sentence of 35 years. Giraldo will return to court on February 8 to give his answer. Declining to offer details, Judge Hudson said a pre-sentence report contained information that caused him to change his mind.

Last November Giraldo pleaded guilty to a 14-count indictment. Thought to be behind numerous instances of lewd behavior dating back to 2002, Giraldo was arrested by East Hampton Village Police following an attack on a local woman near the Maidstone Club in June 2005.

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