Issues At Trial of Homeless Shelter Director: Legitimate Credit Card Charges or Theft?
Did Leona Jull, former executive director of Fourth & Hope, a Woodland homeless shelter, use the non-profit’s credit cards to purchase services and items for herself? Or did Jull only use the credit cards in the course of doing her job? A trial that began July 21 will sort out just what Jull was doing with her company credit card.
The trial was only able to get underway after Judge David Rosenberg rejected defense counsel Robbin Coker’s bid for a sixth continuance. She said she needed more time to investigate issues in the complex case.
“No other case I’ve ever dealt with in Yolo County in 11 years have I granted this many continuances,” Judge Rosenberg said. “You need to be prepared.” Jull was arrested in August 2013, nearly a year ago.
The 47-year-old Arbuckle resident, who served eight years as Fourth & Hope’s executive director, pleaded not guilty to a single grand theft charge.
“While people in the community were donating money to the poor, [Jull] was putting it in her pocket,” Deputy District Attorney Jennifer McHugh told jurors during her opening statement. Fourth & Hope Bookkeeper Sherrin Buras testified that she first noticed discrepancies in Jull’s company credit card statements in 2012. Questionable items included payment for a traffic fine and furniture, as well as $1,800 for repairs on and new tires for Jull’s personal vehicle.
Coker said it was difficult to define what is considered a business expense. According to McHugh, Jull spent $17,841 of the charity’s money on gas alone, with an additional $7,673 in restaurant charges. It remains to be determined whether Jull was entertaining potential Fourth & Hope donors at restaurants including Tahoe Joe’s, Golden Dragon, and Bamboo Garden.
Jull’s trial, expected to last five days, continues today.
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