TUSTIN — On any other weekday last year, he would be wearing a suit and tie as he stood at the helm of Newport-Mesa Unified School District.
But on a recent morning there was no longer a need for formality. The former superintendent who once oversaw 31 schools and 3,000 employees is now unwillingly retired, having been fired by the school board shortly after his conviction on misappropriation of public funds.
So dressed in jeans and a beige button-down, Jeffrey Hubbard, 55, gives the first formal interview since his arrest between sips of a tall coffee at a bakery near his Tustin home.
He alternates from affable to agitated, fidgeting and gesturing passionately, as he addresses what he refers to as traumatic events that undid his career.
He makes it clear that he never broke any laws and paints himself as a victim of a vindictive previous employer, the Beverly Hills Unified School District, and overzealous prosecutors whom he believes willingly ignored key facts that would exonerate him.