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Former Utica school superintendent sentenced for public corruption charges

By Traci DeLore (


UTICA, N.Y. — Former Utica City School District superintendent Bruce Karam has been sentenced to pay more than $160,000 in restitution to the school district and perform 250 hours of community service stemming from public corruption charges.

That’s according to a Friday announcement from New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Oneida County District Attorney Todd Carville, and the New York State Police.

Earlier this year, Karam pleaded guilty to public corruption after using public resources to support the school board election campaigns of candidates he favored and who would also determine his salary as members of the board. He also used school resources to send invitations for a non-school related fundraiser for a charity run by former Utica mayor and school board president Louis LaPolla. Fundraiser fliers were inserted by school-district employees during school hours and mailed with envelopes and stamps purchased by the school district.

“Bruce Karam shamelessly diverted funds meant to benefit students to further his personal interests,” DiNapoli said in a press release. “Today’s sentence represents accountability and just punishment for a former local leader who abused his power and the public trust.”

Karam, who served as superintendent from 2011 until October 2022 before being placed on leave, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay the school district restitution of $11,549 for the resources that were improperly diverted. He also must pay an additional $150,000 by May 17, representing a reduction in his pension earnings from the date of his crime until his termination in November 2023.

His co-defendant LaPolla was sentenced to 60 days of house arrest and three years of probation earlier this month.

“Mr. Karam deliberately embezzled funds intended to enrich the education of the youth and enhance the community for his own selfishness,” New York State Police Superintendent Steven G. James said. “This sentencing should serve as a reminder that defrauding of any amount will be met with multi-agency collaborative investigations resulting in indictments and arrests.”


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