NewsPublic Affairs / April 13, 2020

Indiana's Top Court Sends Pay Dispute To Appeals Court

Indiana Supreme Court - FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana Supreme Court

FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman/IPB News

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — A recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling could help the state's efforts to recoup money that was allegedly stolen by two former Munster school officials.

The court sent Attorney General Curtis Hill’s lawsuit against former School Town of Munster superintendents William Pfister and Richard Sopko back to the Court of Appeals last week, saying that a ruling last year in an unrelated case could also apply to the Munster lawsuit, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The lawsuit alleges that Pfister and Sopko misused $850,000 in public funds over a 15-year period.

In sending the lawsuit back to the appeals court, Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush wrote that a March 2019 ruling in a lawsuit against former Jennings County bookkeeper Jo Robertson could apply.

In that case, the court ruled that the two-year statute of limitations for the state to seek the recovery of $61,000 from Robertson started when a 2016 state audit found that the money was missing, not when the money was actually taken, which the audit said was from 2009-2001. Since the state sued in 2017, the statute of limitations hadn't expired.

In August, Hill requested that the state Supreme Court take the Munster case. He argued that Indiana’s Court of Appeals wrongly ruled that the state waited too long to pursue its suit against the men.

Hill claims the five-year statute of limitations in the Munster lawsuit started after a state audit in June 2016.

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