February appearance

Former Shakopee Schools Superintendent Rod Thompson, left, walks into Scott County District Court in February 2018 with his wife, Lori.

Former Shakopee Schools Superintendent Rod Thompson made a brief appearance Tuesday in Scott County District Court, but the hearing was postponed until May 10 in the event a plea deal is reached.

Tuesday's appearance was supposed to be an omnibus hearing, which is essentially a pretrial hearing. Judge Christian Wilton said in court the hearing was pushed back to allow time for a potential plea offer and also because Thompson's attorney has questioned whether some of the 21 criminal charges should be charged by a grand jury. 

Thompson faces six counts of felony theft by swindle, 13 counts of felony embezzlement of public funds, one count of felony possession of stolen property and one count of misdemeanor receiving stolen property.

Thompson, wearing a black suit and donning a short beard, appeared calm and stoic as he briefly addressed the judge. Thompson's wife, Lori, was with him.

Scott County prosecutor Todd Zettler filed a motion with the court on Dec. 5 stating that if the case goes to trial, the prosecution plans to present offenses that happened outside of the statute of limitations to prove Thompson had criminal intent when using his district credit card for personal items.

Zettler's motion says 103 transactions were discovered between September 2012 and November 2014 totaling $29,018. The statute of limitations only allows for Thompson to be charged for transactions in the last three years. 

On the same day, Zettler also filed a motion indicating the prosecution plans to seek the maximum sentence for Thompson. 

"The aggravating factors the state intends to present to the sentencing jury are: the offense was a major economic offense, involving multiple victims or multiple incidents per victim, an attempted or actual monetary loss substantially greater than the usual offense or substantially greater than the minimum loss specified in the statutes, a high degree of sophistication or planning occurred over a lengthy period of time, and/or the offender used the offender's position or status to facilitate the commission of the offense, including positions of trust, confidence, or fiduciary relationships," the motion says. 

The former superintendent was arrested and charged in November after a five-month Shakopee police investigation — sparked by a Valley News series of investigative reports —revealed he allegedly committed fraud with his contractual adoption benefit and allegedly made more than $30,000 in personal purchases using his school district credit card.

According to the charging documents in Scott County District Court, he also made 305 personal purchases using his district credit card between November 2014 and May 2017. Included in the purchases were sports memorabilia, personal memberships, an XBox, motorcycle jewelry, clothing, cowboy boots, alcohol flasks and personal travel expenses.

Court documents also allege Thompson swindled the school district by attending the Urban Superintendents Academy. Thompson told the School Board there would be no expense to the district for his trips to Washington, D.C., for the academy, but police found he spent $13,448 on his 10 trips between 2015 and 2017.

Thompson will appear in Scott County District Court at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 10.

Reporter and Lifestyle Guide Coordinator

Amanda McKnight has been a Southwest News Media reporter for four years. Amanda is passionate about accountability journalism and describes herself as spunky and assertive. She enjoys running, knitting, exploring nature and going on adventures with her hu

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