QUINCY, W.Va. — Kanawha County School Board member Pete Thaw said he was angered to learn about a scheme which ripped off the school system for years worth thousands of dollars.

Four employees of Riverside High School have been charged with embezzlement, conspiracy, and fraudulent schemes after an investigation uncovered the theft of a large level of food and cleaning supplies bought for the school.

“This was a very systematic thing. They were doing this very systematically over a long period of time,” Thaw said. “They bought everything. They bought hams and chickens, and paper goods and you name it.”

Thaw said the excess orders were the undoing of the scheme.

“They were ordering too much food for the population of Riverside,” he said. “I mean they were really ordering over and above. They ordered so much more it became evident that something was wrong.”

Charged in the case was head cook Christine Buckley, cafeteria manager Debra Stump, custodian Tommy Osborn Jr., and head custodian Linda Oda. State Police investigators said the group confessed to the scheme. A search at Oda’s home uncovered a 50-pound flour container, several pounds of cheese, garbage bags, cleaning products, and other items paid for by the school system.

“It makes me madder than hell,” said Thaw. “Fortunately, that’s not one of our big problems, thievery. That’s not a prevalent thing in our school system.”

The workers were suspended without pay late last week. State Police said they uncovered the thefts when following up on a separate case.

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  • Beverly

    They should have been fired embezzlement , jail time . NO QUESTION and reimburstment also . That not big enough punishment they just wait a while and do it again.

  • Curmudgeon

    Don' t steal from the hardworking taxpayers - that is the politicians' job!

  • Dumb Liberals

    Do these "administrators" not know what a forensic audit is? The entire Kanaw-HA School senior administration management staff needs to be fired for this lackadaisical and shoddy management.

  • Voter

    Why not fired?

    • hillbilly

      +1 - They confessed!

  • Joe

    Pensions and insurance should be terminated immediately.

    I do not want hear anymore about the poor suffering state workers and teachers. Nothing but a bunch of selfish thieves.

    All employees should be transitioned to a 401(k) plan immediately.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Golly Joe. The only thing you left out was "Ditto, Rush."


      Wow Joe...very broad brush you are painting with there. The staff at RHS is an extremely dedicated and hard working group of people who go above and beyond for the students and the community.

      Every organization has the potential for good people to do bad things. This was discovered, investigated, and the proper channels are being followed I am sure, which will prevent lawsuits from the perpetrators over some technicality.

      I wouldn't mind paying their salary a couple extra weeks if it meant the procedures were all followed and due process had been protected. (I see they were suspended w/o pay - which is unusual for this Board.) An ounce of prevention.....

      Put away that broad brush and utilize a tool more suited to the situation.

      • William Harmon

        It seems when it comes to service personnel it is always suspended without pay. Now if was a principal or Professional staff committed a crime then it's a different story. Right Belle Elementary!

      • Mason County Contrarian

        Forgive Joe. He's still blaming his fourth grade teacher for a failed career as a financial planner.

  • wvu86

    Why does the BOE allow Thaw to spout off about a pending legal case? These four seemed to have a solid case against them but why risk allowing a slick defense lawyer to use Thaw's inflammatory remarks as a means to lessen - or even eliminate - a potential sentence? Thaw, Carper, Jones. These guys crave media attention like there is no tomorrow.

    • Wirerowe

      Your comments are inflammatoryThey confessed. They are thieves and it was systematic. I am and I think you should be mad as hell about this. It is refreshing that there is somebody out there that never checks with a lawyer before he opens his mouth and with all of Pete Thaw's candor and fearlessness, I cannot think of an instance when it has resulted in anything in legal repercussions. It is not for everyone. Some people shouldn't open their mouths with or without a lawyer.

      • wvu86

        Wire - what the four have confessed to and been charged with compared to what they will or will not be convicted are two entirely different matters. Thus, I think Thaw ought to cool his heels as to what he says regarding the specifics of an investigation. Glad Pete is mad as hell. He shouldn't be going Matlock on it though. He is not the judge and executioner. Remember, there are three witnesses who told police that they were told by a woman that her brother (who is the son of a state Supreme Court justice) kicked her in the head three times, which put her in ICU for several days. We all know the result of those "charges" against the son.
        bookman - the voters control Pete Thaw and the sooner they ditch him and his bizarro world counterpart Becky Jordan, the more cognitive the Kanawha County board will be.

    • The bookman

      No one controls Pete Thaw. His candor is amazing, but dangerous given his position. +1

      • Mason County Contrarian

        Pete, let the investigation take care of things as it will.

        Your anger leads me to this question: are you standing for re-election this November or something? At your age you need to save every gasket you can.

        Definitely mad, bro.

  • Jason412

    Suspended without pay? They admitted to WVSP they committed a crime, where are the criminal charges?

    • reader

      Charges described in the second paragraph.