Former Ventura County Community College District Trustee James T. (Tom) Ely, found guilty last year of bilking the district of $15,000 by padding expense accounts, is appealing his conviction.
Ely, who is being represented by a court-appointed Santa Barbara attorney, is asking the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles to overturn his June, 1991, conviction of fraud, embezzlement and conspiracy.
"The main grounds is insufficiency of evidence," said Creig Dolge, Ely's attorney. "There's a lot of accounting discrepancies, but there has to be some intent to rip off the district. . . . There is a lot of evidence that showed a lot of other people were doing the same thing."
Dolge has also filed an appeal on behalf of Ely's wife, Ingrid, who was found guilty of one count each of conspiracy, grand theft and embezzlement in connection with the case.
The state attorney general's office is expected to file a response on the issue within the next few months, Dolge said.
Ely was sentenced in September to one year in jail, while his wife received a sentence of 480 hours of community service.
Both sentences were stayed, however, because of Ely's health. His doctors have told Ventura County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Storch that they expect to remove half of Ely's face to stop the spread of cancer.
The couple is expected to appear before Storch on July 10 for a review of Ely's medical condition.