Investigators Raid School Board Members' Homes

Construction firm sues board members and district for terminating contract for "personal reasons"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC San Diego
    The homes of three school board members were raided Tuesday by DA investigators.

    District Attorney's investigators raided the home of several Sweetwater Union High School Board Members Tuesday as part of a months long investigation.

    The District Attorney’s investigators first arrived at the home of former SUHSD president and current board member Pearl Quiñones on 3009 East Sixth Street in National City, but would not say why they were investigating.

    Investigators took out boxes, and loaded them into vehicles to be examined. When asked, a district attorney's office spokesman told NBC San Diego the search warrants were sealed.

    School Board Members Part of Months-Long Investigation

    [DGO] School Board Members Part of Months-Long Investigation
    Three Sweetwater Union High School District board members' homes were raided Tuesday, in addition to a construction company executive.

    Investigators also raided the homes of current school board members Bertha Lopez and Arlie Ricasa at their Bonita homes.

    Later, they tried to search the home of former Seville Group executive Henry Amigable.

    Court documents reveal that Quiñones -- who unsuccessfully ran for California State Assembly in 2010 -- and two other board members in the district are currently defendants in a civil lawsuit filed by HAR Construction, Inc.

    The district is named as the primary defendant in a case that alleges the district breached a construction contract. HAR accused the district, Quiñones, and two other individuals of "intentionally interfering" with the contract "for personal reasons," the court document states. 

    The accusation goes on to claim that the reason why Quiñones interfered was because HAR's Principal, Hector Romero, supported Quiñones's opponent in her 2010 run for state assembly. 

    HAR also said that the defendants purposefully cut off resources necessary for construction.

    Seville Group is also named as a defendant in the case.

    The district terminated the contract in July due to "the company's failure to execute work in an efficient manner to stay on schedule," according to a statement on the district's website.

    It is unclear at this time if the lawsuit and the raid are connected.

    Quiñones helped implement a comprehensive health and wellness policy for students and staff in the district as a dropout prevention specialist, according to a biography on SmartVoter.org.

    The district is the largest secondary district in the state, and experienced scandal in June when district members fired the district’s superintendent, Jesus Gandara.

    Gandara was accused of misusing the district’s credit card, over billing the state lunch program, hiring two public relation firms without the knowledge of the full board and hosting a bridal shower for his daughter in which he invited companies which would have benefited from the district’s business.

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