A former Saugus High School principal accused of perjury and conflict of interest pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday to both charges.
Bill Bolde, 65, who was at the helm of Saugus for over a decade before retiring from the district in 2017, was arrested in December. after investigators alleged he had, while principal, perjured himself and had a conflict of interest while he established a student exchange program in China.
“Bolde helped set up a student exchange program with a high school in Gaoxin, China, as well as creating a nonprofit organization to administer the program,” read a statement from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office at the time of the arrest. “He is charged with having a conflict of interest because he was still principal at Saugus High School while he had an employment agreement with the nonprofit. Bolde also is charged with lying on disclosure forms.”
Bolde is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 17.
In a statement previously sent to The Signal, Bolde’s attorney, David D. Diamond, said that his client had never been interviewed by law enforcement although he was willing to be.
“This is all connected to a frivolous lawsuit filed by others in an attempt to cover up their own wrongdoing,” said Diamond. “My client has served the Santa Clarita community with distinction, and he would never do anything to discredit his integrity, his family or his relationship with God.”
Diamond is also the attorney representing former Saugus Union School District board President Paul De La Cerda, who has been charged on suspicion of fraud. According to a news release from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, De La Cerda is accused of overbilling his employer for trips he took.
Bolde was the principal at Saugus High for 14 years and served other positions at schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District. He is the current executive director of career services and advancement at The Master’s University.
“The district was made aware that the Los Angeles Public Integrity Unit was investigating allegations of misconduct regarding former Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde,” read a statement from Dave Caldwell, spokesman for the Hart district, at the time of Bolde’s arrest.
The Hart district cooperated fully with law enforcement, and appreciates law enforcement’s efforts in this matter, Caldwell added.