Cal schools chief convicted on conflict-of-interest charges


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California schools Superintendent Bill Honig was convicted Friday on conflict-of-interest charges for approving $337,000 in public money paid to consultants who worked for a non-profit firm run by his wife.

Clearly stunned by the verdict, Honig vowed to appeal and said he will not resign as the state's top educator.


Honig, 55, was immediately suspended as head of the giant Department of Education as a result of his conviction. He faces removal from public office, a prohibition from holding future elective office in California, and up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 26 in Sacramento Superior Court.

Following a three-week trial, the jury spent only four hours deliberating before they returned guilty verdicts on all four conflict- of-interest charges.

Prosecutors charged that Honig personally benefited from his decision to approve $337,509 in taxpayer funds given to school districts to pay consultants for his wife's non-profit organization, the Quality Education Project, during the mid-1980s.

Prosecutors argued that Honig benefited from the contracts because his wife, Nancy, was paid as much as $108,000 a year for running QEP until controversy over the arrangement prompted her to resign a year ago.


State laws prohibit public officials from reaping any direct or indirect benefit from any official action.

Defense witnesses testified that all of the public funds approved by Honig went directly to school districts, and no public money went to QEP or to pay his wife.

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