Claim Demands Private Investigator Records from Sweetwater Union HS District

A Public Records Act claim from a community member requests invoices from ESI International, hired by Sweetwater superintendent

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego
    Ed Brand, acting Superintendent, is not involved in the legal issues affecting the district.

    Is a San Diego-area school superintendent investigating people critical of the school district and its policies?

    One South Bay resident filed a Public Records Act claim against the Sweetwater Union High School District alleging it should provide records of how Superintendent Ed Brand spent thousands of dollars on a consultant, known as ESI International, Inc..

    The company is contracted with the district to do investigative services.

    Resident Kevin O'Neill wants to find out if the money was spent looking into people superintendent Brand wanted to intimidate, including a board member.

    He said he asked for reports and invoices from the company and believes the public is entitled to see the paperwork.

    “I don’t think that you should give a superintendent or a city manager that kind of discretionary budget to investigate people whether it’s an employee or others,” he added.

    The district allocated $50,000 for the internal investigations at a December 2012 meeting.

    In August 2013, the board approved an additional $65,000 to cover invoices from the previous school year, according to the claim.

    O’Neill said it was at the same board meeting that the district allocated $100,000 for ESI’s services for the next school year.

    In response to previous PRA claims, the district has provided checks, contract and a human resource department budget.

    A district spokesperson said it cannot comment on the claim.

    ESI International, Inc is a San Diego-based investigative services company operated by former federal investigators. They provide services like background checks and employee-related investigations such as workplace harassment and discrimination.