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LOS ANGELES – A former Beverly Hills Unified School District official was sentenced today to four years, four months in state prison and tentatively ordered to pay the district just over $2 million for her conflict of interest conviction, the District Attorney’s office announced. Karen Anne Christiansen, 53, sat motionless as Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Marcus denied a defense request for probation. The judge called her a “puppeteer” who pulled the strings in a relentless pursuit to get the district to adopt a bond measure so she could benefit financially. Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman with the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case. Judge Marcus allowed Christiansen to remain free on $400,000 bail while she appeals her case. She was ordered to return to court on Feb. 23 for a restitution hearing. The former facilities director for the district was convicted Nov. 21 of four counts of conflict of interest with an excessive taking allegation of more than $1.3 million found true. Christiansen, who was hired by the district in 2004 at an annual salary of $113,000, was found guilty of encouraging the district to borrow money for a building campaign while orchestrating a scheme to steer the management contract to her company, Strategic Concepts. She ultimately received more than $2 million from an illegal contract before she was terminated. Christiansen also negotiated contracts with an energy firm, Johnson Controls, to do work for the district while simultaneously negotiating contracts with her own company and Johnson Controls. Judge Marcus tentatively ordered her to repay the $15,575 she received from that contract in restitution. Co-defendant Jeffrey Hubbard, 54, the former superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District, faces three counts of misappropriation of public funds in connection with the case. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 10.