Detective: Ex-Danville schools official took at least $22,000 in lunch money

Detective: Ex-Danville schools official took at least $22,000 in lunch money

DANVILLE — A Danville police officer testified on Thursday that Danville schools' now-fired food-service director demanded and received a minimum of $22,000 in cash reimbursements from five people he supervised for purchases he allegedly made on behalf of the district over a three-year period.

Detective Ralph Dunham's testimony came at a preliminary hearing for Greg A. Lazzell, who was charged in September with one count of theft of government property between $10,000 and $100,000, a Class 1 felony.

Vermilion County Circuit Judge Charlie Hall found probable cause to try Lazzell on that charge, as well as one count of official misconduct and five counts of intimidation, all Class 3 felonies.

The 51-year-old Danville man, through his attorney Dave Ryan, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A pretrial hearing was set for Nov. 20.

Lazzell, who is free on a $100,000 bond, faces four to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of the most serious charge.

Lazzell ran the food-service department from April 2011 until the Danville school board put him on unpaid leave two days before the criminal charges were filed. He was fired the following week.

Under questioning by Assistant State's Attorney Scott Ripley, Dunham said he was assigned to look into purchases made by Lazzell.

The detective said they were made at Lowe's and other stores throughout the county using district accounts. Some purchases Lazzell took with him, and others were delivered.

Dunham also said that Lazzell made a habit of going to five female employees and demanding that they reimburse him for the purchases in cash from the lunch accounts from Sept. 1, 2014, through Sept. 1, 2017.

"They felt they were required to do so," Dunham said of the employees, who include secretaries, cafeteria supervisors and head cooks.

When Ryan asked Dunham how he came up with the $22,000 figure, the detective said "through the ledgers kept in the lunchrooms and provided to the superintendent."

When Ryan asked if any of the items his client allegedly bought were recovered, Dunham answered yes.

Also at the hearing, Hall ordered Lazzell to not have any contact with the employees he allegedly intimidated.

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Notsoaveragejoe wrote on October 20, 2017 at 8:10 pm

I wonder which tastes better, school lunch or prison chow? I guess he'll know soon enough.

rockwinkle wrote on October 20, 2017 at 9:10 pm
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 I hear the fried bologna sandwich is a jailhouse staple.