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‘Prepare To Be Remanded’


Bronwen Hanes always looks good, keeps herself up, as they say. The much discussed Anderson Valley woman even manages to look elegant in the plain green cotton overalls of the general jail population with its matching bracelets and anklets.

Ms. Hanes had been arrested for a probation violation. Usually this means something like backsliding into drugs or alcohol. Not this lady. She seems to have this compulsion to take money that isn’t hers. And she takes it in a small town where everyone is watching and she can’t possibly get away with it.

Her probation terms for her previous arrest recognized Ms. Hanes light-fingered propensity and stated specifically that she was not to be trusted with any money that wasn’t already her own.

So what does she do? She rips off the same class she burned in the 2013 AV PTA rip-off, the Class of 2018 — her son’s class, as it happens.

The five years of probation granted to Hanes in January of 2013 after her conviction for grand theft for embezzling a large amount of money  from the Anderson Valley Parent Teacher Student Association. Ms. Hanes was required to pay back $27,044.75, plus interest. Or go to jail. (A fortuitous new love interest made restitution for her.)

And the troubled Ms. Hanes was required to get permission from her probation officer to take part in fundraisers. Specifically, her probation said, “You shall not be employed in any capacity where you are directly responsible for any financial transactions…”

But at the beginning of baseball season last year, Ms. H filed papers to run a hotdog stand at AV High School home baseball games “in an effort to raise money for the Class of 2018.”

The money never got to the Class of 2018.

The hotdog stand also opened for business during the high school’s Spring Carnival, but its proceeds were not deposited in the account for the Class of 2018. When the accounting didn’t add up, Ms. Hanes forged a check on the account of Thomas Lemons Jr. in the amount of $544.26 and took it to the school with a receipt from Food Maxx and a handwritten note saying this was the money she’d raised from her hotdog concession.

On Friday the 19th of this month, Mr. Lemons himself was ordered back to court on Tuesday, the 23rd, for Ms. Hanes’ violation of probation hearing, but he told Judge Moorman he couldn’t make it because Judge John Behnke had ordered him to turn himself in to a treatment facility for alcohol dependence. Moorman assured Lemons her order would take precedent over Behnke’s and he had better show up the following Tuesday — which, he did, despite arguing with the judge, and telling her honor he’d first have to ask his lawyer, Mark Kalina, if his appearance was okay with Kalina. Judge Moorman may have wondered where Lemons got his information about court protocols.

By Tuesday of this week, Ms. Hanes was out of custody and back in her make-up and looking quite out of context among the bedraggled and beaten down defendants we usually see in Court. Mr. Lemons was also there, and the glamorous couple quarreled in the halls of justice while DA David Eyster and Ms. Hanes’ latest lawyer, Victoria Shanahan, worked on a plea bargain for Ms. Hanes. The negotiations went on for two days and by Thursday it was resolved that Ms. Hanes, a textbook case of denial, wasn’t going to admit to one of the complaints, the one that said she hadn’t accounted for the money and hadn’t turned it over to the Class of 2018. On Thursday afternoon of last week, the hearing went forward.

Moorman: “Mr. Eyster, call your first witness.”

Eyster: “The People call Michelle Hutchins. … Ms. Hutchins, how are you employed?”

Hutchins: “Superintendent of Anderson Valley Schools.”

Eyster: “I’m showing you what’s been marked as People’s Exhibit One. Do you recognize that document?”

Hutchins: “Yes, it’s a request for approval of a concession stand at a fundraising event.”

Eyster: “At the bottom here, who’s signature is that?”

Hutchins: “It looks like Bronwen Hanes’s.”

Eyster: “What is it, specifically, she is requesting to do?”

Hutchins: “To sell food at our baseball games.”

Eyster: “Were you aware she was not allowed to do so?”

Hutchins: “No, I was not.”

Eyster: “Let me show you Exhibit Two. What is that?”

Hutchins: “It’s an accounting sheet for potential revenues.”

Eyster: “Is there a procedure in place for these kinds of fundraisers, and if so, how does it work?”

Hutchins: “Yes. Once they get approval, they are given a cash box with about $100 in it and the accounting on this form has to match what’s in the box within a day, if not the same day.”

Eyster: “Were you aware that Deputy Craig Walker was investigating Ms. Hanes?”

Hutchins: “I was later.”

Eyster: “So the system set up by the school was not followed?”

Hutchins: “It doesn’t appear to have been, no.”

Eyster: “Were any deposits made in the bank account for the Class of 2018?”

Hutchins: “No, none.”

Eyster: “And the concession stand was supposed to be for that purpose?”

Hutchins: “Yes, it was.”

Eyster: “Did Bronwen Hanes submit some ‘purported’ accounting?”

Hutchins: “She did.”

Eyster: “Was the Spring Carnival well-attended?”

Hutchins: “It was, and I was surprised to see that the Class of 2018 received less than $50 when so much money was taken in — far over $2000. It didn’t seem right to me.”

Eyster: “The receipt from Food Maxx and the handwritten statement — is this the normal way the school receives accounting for fundraisers?”

Hutchins: “No, it is not.”

Eyster: “Umm… one sec., please, judge. The, uh, fundraisers prior to the Spring Carnival…”

Hutchins: “Yes?”

Eyster: “It was for six baseball games, wasn’t it?”

Hutchins: “Yes.”

Eyster: “No further questions.”

Shanahan: “How long have you worked for the Anderson Valley Schools?”

Hutchins: “Four years.”

Shanahan: “You were also the Principal?”

Hutchins: “I was, but I’m not today.”

Shanahan: “How many students are we talking about?”

Hutchins: “Approximately 240.”

Shanahan: “Are you in touch with the student body?”

Hutchins: “Yes.”

Shanahan: “And these pre-approval documents were submitted by a student, were they not?”

Hutchins: “Yes, by Bronwen Hanes’ son, James Carlin.”

Shanahan: “Did you attend any of those baseball games?”

Hutchins: “One.”

Shanahan: “Did you see a concession stand?”

Hutchins: “I came in through the back part of the field. We didn’t go to that part of the field, so I didn’t notice a concession stand; my focus wasn’t on that kind of detail.”

Shanahan: “So James Carlin was supposed to be conducting a concession stand, but did it really occur?”

Hutchins: “I’m not aware of it.”

Shanahan: “He was supposed to be selling hotdogs?”

Hutchins: “That’s what I understand.”

Shanahan: “”You mentioned a ticket and a cashbox. Did James Carlin ask for a cashbox?”

Hutchins: “No.”

Shanahan: “How do you know that?”

Hutchins: “My secretary told me he never submitted a request for it and I can’t tell you whether James ever received instructions — but I’d be surprised if he did. We were attempting to clear that up so I can’t say for certain but I’d be surprised.”

Shanahan: “He’s President of his class, isn’t he?”

Hutchins: “He is, and a great student, too.”

Shanahan: “You say there was no deposit made but I see this $636 in the bank account?”

Hutchins: “Yes, but that’s not from a deposit. That’s the balance carried over from the previous year.”

Shanahan: “But didn’t you get a check — albeit a questionable one?”

Hutchins: “Yes.”

Shanahan: “And it was in the name of Mr. Lemons?”

Hutchins: “Yes.”

Shanahan: “And was it turned over to Deputy Walker?”

Hutchins: “Yes.”

Shanahan: “And hasn’t a new check been given to you by Mr. Lemons?”

Hutchins: “Yes, and it was given to Deputy Walker as well.”

Shanahan: “Is James Carlin a problem student?”

Hutchins: “No — he’s a great student!”

Shanahan: “Did you know about Ms. Hanes [her legal difficulties]?”

Hutchins: “Our whole town knows, but I didn’t know she couldn’t sell hotdogs.”

Shanahan: “Nothing further.”

Eyster: “The People call Robert Pinoli. … Sir, how are you employed?”

Pinoli: “As Athletic Director at Anderson Valley High School.”

Eyster listed the six home games: “Was Bronwen Hanes present at these games?”

Pinoli: “Yes.”

Eyster: “Do you remember a concession stand at these games?”

Pinoli: “Yes.”

Eyster: “Who ran it?”

Pinoli: “Bronwen.”

Eyster: “Ever see anyone else run it?”

Pinoli: “No, I did not. Not when I bought my food.”

Eyster: “Look here. This game’s not on the accounting, is it?”

Pinoli: “True…”

Eyster: “And that’s a game where you actually purchased something from her?”

Pinoli: “Yes, it is.”

Shanahan: “Are you aware her window got broken out?”

Pinoli: “I was, yes.”

Eyster called Deputy Walker: “What is this document I’m showing you?”

Walker: “It’s a running balance of the bank account for the Class of 2018.”

Eyster: “Where did you get it?”

Walker: “From the class secretary, Rebecca Brendlan. She pulled it up on her computer and printed me out a copy on, I believe it was, June 2nd of this year.”

Eyster: “Any deposits made to that account during this year?”

Walker: “The balance was carried over from last year and no deposits were made.”

Eyster: “Were you at the double-header in Mendocino?”

Walker: “Yes.”

Eyster: “See a concession stand?”

Walker: “I did.”

Eyster: “Who worked it?”

Walker: “Bronwen.”

Eyster: “Make any purchases?”

Walker: “I bought a package of corn nuts and a bottle of water.”

Shanahan: “Did you ask Ms. Brendlan what other deposits were made into the account?”

Walker: “No.”

Shanahan: “So you don’t know where the 600-plus dollars came from?”

Walker: “No, no idea.”

Shanahan called James Carlin and showed him People’s Exhibit One. He recognized it as the approval for fundraising form he filed.

Shanahan: “Were you given any guidelines?”

Carlin: “Yes, basically…”

Shanahan: “You weren’t given any specific instructions?”

Carlin: “No.”

Shanahan: “Were you told you had to have a ticket and a cashbox?”

Carlin: “No.”

Shanahan: “Were you given any cash or floater money?”

Carlin: “No.”

Shanahan: “Did you purchase supplies?”

Carlin: “Yes.”

Shanahan: “Where did you get the money?”

Carlin: “From Mom and Tom Lemons.”

Shanahan: “”Did you work the stand?”

Carlin: “No, I was playing baseball.”

Shanahan: “Remember a game where your Mom’s car window got smashed?”

Carlin: “Yeah, it was a play-off game on May 25th — not technically approved — but a foul ball completely obliterated the back window.”

Shanahan: “What happened to the proceeds?”

Carlin: “We took it home, I counted it and Mom put it in the safe.”

Shanahan: “Did you take the money to the school or did your mom?”

Carlin: “She did.”

Shanahan: “Did you go with her?”

Carlin: “No.”

Shanahan: “Remember the Spring Carnival?”

Carlin: “Yes, we did a face-painting booth with a few of my classmates.”

Shanahan: “And you ran out of face paint?”

Carlin: “Yes, about half way through.”

Shanahan: “Did you make a lot of money?”

Carlin: “We made I think around $100 without counting supplies.”

Eyster: “You never worked the [hotdog] stand?”

Carlin: “I’d sit there sometimes between innings.”

Eyster: “You said you counted the money?”

Carlin: “I didn’t, my Mom did.”

Eyster: “See what I have here? It’s supposed to be the receipts from the Spring Carnival. Show me where they are?”

Carlin: “I don’t see it on there.”

Eyster: “You said you submitted two forms, correct?”

Carlin: “Correct.”

Eyster: And that was if you wanted reimbursement, correct?”

Carlin: “Correct.”

Eyster: “So you knew the process?”

Carlin: “Correct.”

Eyster: “And you knew the money should be turned in the same or the following day?”

Carlin: Yes.”

Eyster: “And you knew it wasn’t?”

Carlin: “Yes.”

Eyster: “Were you told the check was forged?”

Carlin: “Not until recently.”

This is an impressive kid, doubly impressive given his situation, which must be excruciating for him, especially when Judge Moorman set his mother’s sentencing hearing for September 27th and, looking straight at the boy’s mother, said, “Prepare to be remanded.” Bronwen Hanes is going to jail, but she really should be going to a psychiatrist.

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