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Ex-director of hospital foundation gets jail

Michael W. Gerrity, former president of the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, was taken into custody Wednesday to spend the next four months in jail for stealing $250,000 from the charity.

Gerrity also was ordered to repay another $150,732 to the foundation he ran for 14 years before his firing two years ago.

Gerrity, 55, of Countryside Parkway, Amherst, was taken from Erie County Judge Shirley Troutman's court in handcuffs about 3:30 p.m. to begin his sentence. Troutman sentenced him to six months, but under the state's sentencing laws, he likely will spend four months in jail.

With his wife and children in the courtroom, Gerrity told the judge he was "terribly sorry" and apologized "with all my heart to the hospital" and others.

Defense lawyer James Harrington told the judge that Gerrity borrowed from friends to pay the foundation an initial $115,000 of his quarter-million theft. He said that has left his family "in financial peril" and "his life is in total financial chaos." Harrington said the Internal Revenue Service has warned Gerrity that it will be "vigorously coming after him" for underpaid taxes.

Gerrity was ordered to make monthly $250 payments to the hospital foundation through the Erie County Probation Department as soon as he is released from jail.

The judge also ordered Gerrity, who recently has been involved in church-related fund raising, to perform 250 hours of community service and submit to substance and psychiatric testing and undergo any counseling recommended.

Gerrity, who pleaded guilty Oct. 28 to two grand larceny charges, was fired in May 2004 after auditors found he was illegally using foundation credit cards to pay for personal items and vacations and to reimburse himself improperly for personal expenses.

After Gerrity's crimes became apparent, the hospital foundation implemented new financial controls, prosecutors said.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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