SHAKOPEE, Minn. (KMSP) - As former superintendent of the Shakopee School District Rod Thompson walked out of the Scott County Jail Wednesday, it was all business.
Talk to my lawyer, he said. "I will get my chance."
Thompson was taken into custody just a day earlier for allegedly abusing a district-issued credit card by spending tens of thousands of dollars on personal purchases, and is also facing a federal probe focusing on alleged financial kickbacks and other problems with district spending. He resigned from his post in June.
The former school official was released Wednesday on a $5,000 bond and is looking at 21 counts of theft by swindle and embezzlement of public funds.
Thompson's lawyer contends he has cooperated with authorities and said Thompson already paid back the district for charges he made on the school-issued card.
"I promise you there is a defense to every allegation," Thompson's Attorney Peter Wold said. "There are some that are fully baseless, the others are negotiated parts of his contract."
His critics, however, don't see it that way.
"It’s a lot of money," says Carrie Ferris, who was part of the citizen group that demanded action when the district announced a more than $4 million shortfall earlier this year. "We could have saved some teachers. We could have saved programs. We don’t need our teachers buying supplies out of their pockets while we have a Superintendent robbing from them."
Thompson's next hearing is set for Feb. 7, while the investigation remains ongoing.