Quakertown school director resigned abruptly Sunday, days after his criminal past, which included a bank fraud conviction, came to light.
Austin Sedicum, the school board’s vice president and chairman of the finance committee, said he decided to resign after a meeting with Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub on Friday, during which Weintraub said a judge would have to decide whether Sedicum was still eligible to serve on the board.
“It would be too disruptive to the community, the school district and my family,” Sedicum said.
For that reason, he decided to resign and notified the district by email Sunday morning.
The decision is effective immediately, said a press release from the school district that went out Sunday evening. According to state law, the school board has 30 days to fill Sedicum’s seat.
Sedicum’s history includes a 1993 bank fraud conviction, a pair of DUIs from 2005 and charges in 2011 pertaining to the use of a fake license years before. At a school board meeting Thursday night, Sedicum said “opposition forces have unearthed” his convictions.
The week before the meeting, the teachers union leadership had sent an email about his past.
At the school board meeting last week, School Board President Steaven Klein said Sedicum’s past convictions were part of a “fishing expedition” by union leadership designed to influence the makeup of the school board.
“Dr. Sedicum was a valued member of our school board. His leadership on the finance committee will be missed. We thank him for his service,” Klein said Sunday.
Sedicum, 50, is a sports podiatrist in Quakertown, where he has been on the school board for two-and-a-half years. He believes his past was brought up because of his previous voting history, which includes the contentious issue of approving the closing of an elementary school.
When word of the criminal convictions emerged, Quakertown Superintendent Bill Harner said the district sought the advice of legal counsel, who suggested the D.A.’s office examine the matter and issue an opinion on whether Sedicum should continue serving.
According to state law, a school board member can’t serve if he or she has been convicted of an “infamous crime.” Court rulings have determined that typically means that felonies can bar public service.
The conviction that most likely casued a problem for Sedicum is a New Jersey bank fraud conviction from 1993. Sedicum said he helped launder $565,000 for a pair of men who created a fake company.
His evaluations prior to sentencing revealed that he suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder. The findings led the judge to issue a sentence that departed significantly from the standard guidelines. Though Sedicum was facing years behind bars and serious restitution, according to Associated Press stories at the time, he was sentenced to 90 days in a federal medical facility.