Rockland County Court Judge Charles Apotheker sentenced , the former treasurer of the New City Little League, to six months in the Rockland County Jail and five years probation. Bidnick was led away by court officers and was to begin serving her sentence immediately.
Bidnick plead guilty in May to second degree grand larceny in connection with the theft of more than $400,000 from the New City Little League and accepted a plea deal. Bidnick, 58, of New City served as league treasurer from 2003 to 2011.
Judge Apotheker said he presided over some of the court proceedings in the case of monetary theft from the Stony Point Little League at the same time that Bidnick was stealing funds from the New City Little League.
“These particular cases offend me more than most I see,” he said during Friday’s sentencing, explaining because it is theft from neighbors and the community.
Before imposing the sentence, Judge Apotheker said, “I am impressed with the fact that the defendant gave back all the money. Deterrence is part of the sentencing process. I believe that a jail sentence is warranted here.”
Bidnick’s attorney Bruce Klein of the Bronx said she would not file an appeal.
“She wants to put this behind her,” said Klein.
Prior to the sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Gary Lee Heavner said the recommendation was for a one-year jail sentence. He noted Bidnick made total restitution to the league with a check being handed over Friday morning for $28,471.50 and that a total of $148,000 had been paid since her arrest. While the theft was going on, money was being repaid.
Speaking on behalf of Little League officials, Heavner said he believed they would say they are satisfied with the result but disappointed in Bidnick’s actions.
District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said, “The defendant betrayed the trust of the league coordinators, the parents, and, most regrettably, the young athletes. Even though the all of the money was repaid, there needed to be a punitive sanction. The jail sentence imposed today by the Court is more than warranted to hold the defendant accountable for her actions.”
Klein asked the judge to consider giving Bidnick a sentence of five years probation with many hours of community service. He talked about Bidnick’s background and how she was taught to give back to others and volunteer. She mentored young girls in the Constellation of Junior Stars program of the NY Masons. He said letters from some of the girls were among the 25 to 30 letters of support he submitted to the court.
Klein said Bidnick and her husband ran a textile company but she took over complete responsibility for it in the 1990s so her husband could devote his time to charitable work. He was a member of the Masons.
“Unfortunately the textile business went down the drain,” said Klein.
But Bidnick did not share the financial difficulties with anyone.
Klein said, “ “She was always brought up to handle things.”
He said the money taken from NCLL was used to pay household bills and college loans, not for extravagant purchases. The thefts were discovered in April 2011 by league officials.
“This woman has destroyed herself. She knew what she was doing. She knew it was wrong. But she rationalized it,” said Klein.
Bidnick tearfully read a statement.
“I so wish that I could take back everything that I did but that is not possible,” she said.
She apologized to parents and players of the league and she thanked supportive friends, about 20 of who were in the courtroom. Bidnick apologized to her husband and son who were also present.
“I am so sorry for letting you down and bringing dishonor and shame to my family,” she said.
When asked what the league’s reaction was to the sentencing, NCLL President Lon Hofstein said, “As for the New City Little league is concerned we defer to the justice system, (the) DA’s office. As I’ve said all along, she has to answer to the judge.”