Pleaded Guilty to Embezzling Funds
By Mary Frost
COBBLE HILL — Providence Hogan, the former treasurer of the P.S. 29 PTA accused of embezzling more than $82,000 in 2008, told state Supreme Court Judge Suzanne Mondo on Monday that she couldn’t make the first $41,000 payment required by a plea deal brokered with the Brooklyn D.A.’s office.
The deal, reached in May, called for the lump sum payment by Oct. 3 and the remainder owed within a year. Hogan’s lawyer, Stephen Flamhaft, asked Judge Mondo to accept $30,000 now and the rest in installments over the next three years but the judge rejected this arrangement.
Hogan, 44, was charged with stealing money raised by parents through numerous fundraisers and using it on fertility treatments; rent on her business, the Providence Day Spa on Atlantic Avenue; and other expenses. She’s charged with grand larceny in the third degree.
While news sources have reported that the case will now move to trial — where Hogan could face up to six years if convicted — Flamhaft told the Brooklyn Eagle that he is still hopeful that the financial arrangements can be “resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.”
“We have ceased negotiations with the D.A. — they are being unreasonable,” Flamhaft said. “We are allowed to turn to the judge and see what she would accept.” Both the prosecutor and Judge Mondo disapproved the offer of a $30,000 initial payment, he said. Flamhaft said that his client also has the option of simply pleading guilty to avoid the stress of a trial.
Stands By His Client
According to the Daily News, Hogan also owes some $44,000 in state taxes and $32,000 in rent on her Boerum Hill spa business, which is facing eviction. The News also reports that her lawyer and spa employees haven’t been paid in full.
But Flamhaft says he is sticking by his client. “I have said consistently that I am not going to abandon this woman,” he told the Eagle.
Members of the P.S. 29 PTA have attended every court appearance since Hogan was arrested, and a call is out for parents to make their presence felt at the next court date on Nov. 1. A parent representative told the News that the PTA supports the prosecutor and the judge in rejecting Hogan’s “last-ditch payment plan.”
But Flamhaft says that there is some sympathy for his client’s plight. “She’s a fragile woman in a lot of ways,” he said. “She not particularly healthy — she’s had three miscarriages and a series of physical illnesses.
“She was quoted in the papers — despite my admonition not to talk to the press — saying that she loves the school and wants to fix this. This is where we are now. Her child is still at the school, and she involves herself as much in the school as she can. She has some support from the community as well. There’s some sympathy; also some animosity.
“Hopefully we can avoid trial and resolve this to the satisfaction of all parties.”