Another Texas administrator stands accused of stealing money from a school district. The administrator also faces felony charges for alleged money laundering and the misuse of school property.
Thomas Bloxham was arrested on Monday, June 13, at his current place of employment, the Hutto Independent School District, on purported felony crimes committed between April 2010 through October 2012 while he was employed as assistant superintendent of services at the New Braunfels-area Comal ISD.
Comal County grand jury indicted Bloxham on June 8 on one second-degree and two third-degree felony counts: theft of property between $20,000 and $100,000 by a public servant, money laundering, and the misapplication of fiduciary property between $20,000 and $100,000.
Ironically, officials indicted Bloxham the same day another former assistant superintendent, Patricia Lambert, was ordered by a federal judge to repay $500,000 she embezzled while serving as a principal in Beaumont ISD. This was part of a sentence that includes 40 months in federal prison for falsifying standardized test scores, Breitbart Texas reported.
The New Braunfels Herald Zeitung reported Comal ISD began investigating Bloxham the summer of 2012 when school district officials noticed some irregularities in campus construction projects that the former assistant superintendent oversaw as part of the school district’s 2005 and 2008 bonds.
At issue, Baird Williams Construction overbilled Comal ISD by $7.1 million on the 2008 bond construction project Bloxham oversaw. The district later recouped $5.9 million in a settlement but Bloxham allegedly received bribes amounting to somewhere between $20,000 and $100,000. Also of concern was the installation of an HVAC unit at a Comal ISD mechanic’s shop for $39,000. According to detectives, this job should have only cost between $11,000 and $13,000 based on comparable quotes.
San Antonio’s WOAI 4 (NBC) reported the contractor purportedly installed some of those school district purchased air conditioning units at Bloxham’s home for free. Investigators identified another discrepancy at a guest house Bloxham built on his personal property. It was allegedly made with metal taken from a Comal ISD building property in 2010. District policy required the used materials to be auctioned off. Comal County ISD records showed a contractor claimed Bloxham paid him $1250 for metal estimated to be worth 10 times that amount.
Since December 2012, Bloxham served as the executive director of facilities and operations for Hutto ISD where he was arrested Monday. Authorities booked him into the Williamson County Jail but he was released on $40,000 bail. The school district since placed Bloxham on administrative leave without pay. They classified him as an “at will” school district employee who is not under contract.
In a statement, Comal ISD said: “The current administration has been proactively cooperating with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and law enforcement ever since being made aware of possible wrongdoings by former district administrators. We are confident that the prosecutors and legal system will continue s to seek justice for the citizens of Comal ISD,” WOAI 4 also reported.
Despite purported crimes committed at Comal ISD, Bloxham appeared to be a stellar employee at Hutto ISD where the school district issued a statement regarding his woes. They pointed out Bloxham’s arrest was not related to his employment with Hutto ISD. The district acknowledged they knew about the Comal ISD investigation before hiring Bloxham, according to Austin’s KXAN 36 (NBC), noting “but he was never charged.”
The school district stated they strictly follow the Texas Administrative Code on background checks and “did so in the case of hiring Mr. Bloxham.” They described him as forthcoming and open about the investigation.
“He came to the district with good references. He brought a wealth of knowledge and experience in construction and operations management,” the district stated. “There has not been a hint of anything improper within the Facilities and Operations Department during the time of Mr Bloxham’s direction.” They said he even came in under budget on an elementary school project.
The Comal County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case against Bloxham.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.