Former SUSD CFO calls judge’s latest ruling in conflict of interest case ‘a relief’

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The former CFO for the Scottsdale Unified School District said through her lawyer that a cloud has been lifted following a judge’s ruling in her conflict of interest case.
Former SUSD CFO Laura Smith said she feels like a cloud has been lifted after the latest ruling in her conflicts of interest case.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – A former Scottsdale Unified School District official is facing fraud and conflict of interest charges. But now, former SUSD CFO Laura Smith said she feels like a cloud has been lifted after a judge agreed that the prosecution did not present the grand jury with exculpatory evidence.

"It feels wonderful, it absolutely does," Smith said. "I think truth has prevailed."

Once shell-shocked, Smith said she feels like the pendulum has swung the other way.

"When it came in it was – huge butterflies, a relief," Smith said.

Accused of approving district payments to her sister’s company, and not disclosing the relationship or her own financial stake, Smith faced two counts of fraudulent schemes and nine conflict of interest counts. When we first talked to Smith and her attorney last summer, they were arguing the grand jury wasn’t told certain things that would be in Smith’s favor.

[RELATED: Report released on former Scottsdale district’s CFO’s conflict of interest allegations]

"The application, citing her employer, ongoing employer, her request to have ongoing employment with other districts, an email a few months after her employment where she clearly stated she had a conflict on the record," said Smith’s attorney, Richard Gaxiola.

Now, a judge agrees. Gaxiola said the state will have to go back to a new grand jury with the evidence they left out.

Gaxiola said the state will have to go back to a new grand jury with the evidence they left out.

"We feel confident it would not be likely re-indicted," Gaxiola said.

"I would like to move on," Smith said.

She said she even tried to drive for Lyft, but couldn’t pass the background check because of this.

"I’ve been spending a lot of time with my grandkids and watching them and that’s been a blessing," Smith said.

We asked the state about their next move. We got a brief statement back from spokeswoman Katie Conner:

"The case is ongoing. We have no further comment at this time."

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