LOS ANGELES — A school board member in San Jose, Calif. has been charged with stealing bond measure campaign funds.

John Lindner, 55, a member of the Franklin-McKinley School District board, was charged with grand theft, perjury and violation of the Political Reform Act.

Lindner allegedly spent $16,000 from a pot of money that was supposed to be used as campaign funds for a bond measure, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office.

He allegedly spent the money on airline tickets, lumber and other personal expenses; and loaned another $12,000 to a relative, but was later paid back.

Santa Clara County, Calif., District Attorney Jeff Rosen
The office of Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen charged a school board member with embezzling bond campaign funds. jeffrosen.org

The campaign fund was for a $50 million bond measure that was approved in November 2010 to improve aging schools, according to the district attorney.

Lindner was the treasurer in charge of the campaign fund. After the measure passed that he allegedly used the remaining funds for personal use.

The matter came to light when he filed a final report, terminating the campaign committee by claiming that more than $13,000 had been distributed in amounts less than $100 to “Unnamed Civic Donation Recipients."

“This unusual report caught the attention of the Registrar of Voters, who reported it to the Fair Political Practices Committee,” according to the district attorney.

Linder had cleaned out the account by 2012, but continued to file reports until 2016 when he filed the report that caught the Registrar’s eye. That led to the FPPC investigation that resulted in the charges.

Linder worked as an elementary teacher for neighboring Oak Grove School District before retiring in 2016. He turned himself in Thursday and was released on $35,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 19.

He faces jail time and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted of the crimes.

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