Trials & Litigation

Wastewater official faces felony charges for using city funds to pay employee's law school tuition

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A California wastewater official faces felony state court charges of diverting public funds for personal use, after allegedly using municipal money to pay for an employee's tuition at Lincoln Law School.

Besides using city funds to cover employee Marisa Tricas’ law school tuition, Kenneth Glotzbach, who served as the city of Roseville’s assistant director of wastewater utilities and the executive director of its wastewater authority, is accused of misleading the city council for $173,000 in funds to cover her work with a consulting group, and using his city credit card to pay for her move from the East Coast to California, before she was a city employee.

Lincoln Law School, which is located in Sacramento, does not have ABA accreditation. Tuition is $7,150 a semester for first-year classes, according to its website.

The city of Roseville paid $14,454 for Tricas’ two semesters at the law school, according to a Roseville Police Department case summary.

It claims Glotzbach contacted Lincoln Law School and asked that it create a special invoice for tuition, with Tricas’ student identification number but not her name. He also asked that the bills be sent directly to him, the summary states. He is further accused of creating a $20,000 purchase order from his department payable to Lincoln Law School for “course development services, instructional and training” which was billed as an administrative expense. According to the case summary, Glotzbach told management he made the purchase order for $20,000, “so there would be extra if anybody else wanted to go to law school.”

Two Lincoln Law School invoices, one dated October 2020 for $7225, and one from January 2021 for $7,229, were brought to the attention of the city’s HR director. The case summary claims she told Glotzbach if Tricas wanted tuition payments she would need to go through the tuition reimbursement program, which was capped at $6,000.

Glotzbach has been with the city for 23 years, and his 2020 annual salary was $184,929.75, according to the Sacramento Bee. A bio for Tricas describes her as a former physical scientist and acting special assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency, who now oversees the government relations program for the city of Roseville’s wastewater division.

Some of Glotzbach’s colleagues speculated he was attracted to Tricas, and wondered if the two had an outside relationship, according to the case summary. He denied that, and defended his alleged actions by claiming he wanted to keep his word.

After Tricas was directed to the city’s tuition reinbursement program, Glotzbach then created the purchase order, according to the case summary. An employee brought the purchase order to the city’s attention, because she thought it looked “odd,” and had overheard Tricas talk about attending law school at night.

Glotzbach claimed the human resources director never said “no” to his plan of paying for Tricas’ law school, according to the case summary. The human resources director disputes that, and told police she wanted to be upfront about the plan not seeming to be appropriate, and also said she would listen to any proposal Glotzbach submitted.

Neither Tricas or James Smolich, Lincoln Law School’s CEO, responded to ABA Journal interview requests. Neither did Barry Zimmerman, Glotzbach’s lawyer. In a statement, the city of Roseville wrote that it could not comment on an active investigation.

“What we can share is that we are fully committed to ensuring that the people, policies, and practices at the city provide the responsible stewardship of public resources that is expected in service to our community,” the city wrote.

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