EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 23, 2012

UPDATE: Laboy apologizes; gets 90 days in jail for fraud

(Continued)

Under a joint agreement signed by the city and the state in 1998, the state Board of Education had to approve the hiring of Lawrence school superintendents.

Even then, there were some concerns at that time that he did not have enough of a background in finances or in secondary education.

He was hired at a salary of $130,000. His contract stipulated that he must live in the city, but he later bought a home in Methuen, claiming he was unable to find a suitable location in Lawrence after touring 30 homes.

By the time he was fired in 2010, Laboy was making more than $200,000 a year.

One high point was the opening in 2007 of a $110 million high school — once the most expensive and modern in the state. "This new state of the art high school will became a national model of modern education," Laboy declared.

Calling it the "lowest point" in his career, Laboy, in April 2009, apologized for the actions of his special assistant Mark Rivera after The Eagle-Tribune revealed Rivera was using school-owned computers and software to run background checks on mayoral candidates, public officials and celebrities. Rivera would later resign.

The following month, Laboy checked himself into Lawrence General Hospital for work-related stress issues amid the controversy surrounding Rivera's so-called "snoop list."

In June 2009, police raided Laboy's offices and his Methuen home, alleging "financial improprieties," seizing computers and other items, and the School Committee suspended him indefinitely with pay.

Nearly a year later, the School Committee fired Laboy after he was indicted on eight counts of fraud and embezzlement.

Laboy was also convicted of using school-paid employees to retrieve trash from and to meet with contractors at his Methuen home, and to drive his adult son Willy to work when he lost his license. Numerous school employees testified they were both on work time and primarily using school vehicles to drive Laboy's son around during the two years he was without a license.

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