‘I am confident that I will be vindicated’: Runcie releases statement following arrest

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie has released a video with his first statement since his arrest last week.

The video message was released on Tuesday morning.

“Last week, after two days and many hours of testifying to the grand jury, I received an indictment,” he said. “It accuses me of making a false statement.”

In the video, he expressed gratitude to those who have reached out to him to offer support and expressed concern after he was charged with perjury.

“I am confident that I will be vindicated, and I intend to continue to carry out my responsibilities as superintendent with the highest level of integrity and moral standards,” Runcie said.

According to the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the case against Runcie appears to hinge on questions surrounding another case, that of former Broward Schools Technology Chief Anthony Hunter.

Officials said Hunter was accused of steering equipment contracts towards an acquaintance.

Runcie was questioned on the matter on April 1.

In a new court filing, prosecutors referred to Runcie stating, “Defendant was asked, ‘Did you talk to anybody who would have information about the Hunter situation to prepare for any questions about that, given it’s a felony indictment?’”

The filing goes on to state Runcie was asked, “‘[Any] communications related to any of the issues that are part of the Hunter indictment?’ His answer was, ‘No, no that, not that I’m aware of.’”

The filing further states Runcie was also asked, “‘Phone calls? Emails? Text messages? Smoke signals?’”

According to the indictment, Runcie answered, “‘No, no that. I am trying – no. No, haven’t talked to anyone specifically about that.’”

Prosecutors said those statements were false. They also said Runcie spoke to Broward Schools General Counsel Barbara Myrick, who, prosecutors said, also spoke to witnesses. Prosecutors said they have phone records to back it up.

Runcie’s attorney has previously said the charges were political, and they intend to enter a plea of not guilty.

“Our district is going through a difficult time right now,” Runcie said in his video message. “It is how we cope during these difficult times that shows our true character and makes us stronger.”

The Broward County Public School Board is expected to address Runcie and Myrick’s arrest Tuesday afternoon.

Runcie’s supporters and opponents gathered outside of the school district’s headquarters before the meeting got underway.

“I’d like to see the board recognize that we have a problem and handle it appropriately, whether it be suspension or temporary leave,” parent Adam Herman said. “My goal here today is to present to the board the qualities of leadership that we expect from our superintendent that I don’t think that we’re getting.”

“I am here to support our superintendent, Robert Runcie, who has worked tirelessly for and with us for the last decade, for as long as he’s been here,” parent and teacher Jenna Moniz said.

“It’s the culmination of a culture that retaliates and lacks the ability to tell the truth when challenged,” Runcie opponent Nathalie Lynch-Walsh said.

“Superintendent Runcie has done a phenomenal job of working with the business community and helping improve the reputation and image of Broward County Public Schools throughout our country,” Bob Swindell, of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, said.

If board members decide to take action, they will do so during their Thursday meeting.

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