Who Will Pay for Sweetwater School Officials?

The Sweetwater Union School District will face charges on Friday for perjury

By Rory Devine
|  Thursday, Jan 5, 2012  |  Updated 4:36 PM PDT
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Docs Reveal Battle Between School and Construction Co

NBCSanDiego

Jesus Gandara has been charged with felony by the DA's office.

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DA: 5 Charged in School Corruption Case

Charges have been filed against five current and former Sweetwater school officials in a South Bay corruption case.

Docs Reveal Battle Between School and Construction Co

Three Sweetwater Union High School District board members' homes were raided Tuesday, possibly in connection with a lawsuit between the district and a construction company with which the district terminated a contract.
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San Diego taxpayers may take on the legal expenses for five allegedly corrupt school officials charged Wednesday.

The Sweetwater Union School District will face charges on Friday for perjury and failing to report the lavish gifts they received from prospective contracting companies, the District Attorney’s office said Wednesday.

The superintendent said the district didn’t authorize any defense fund for the school officials who were charged. However, he added, the district is doing a legal analysis to see what its requirement would be under the circumstances.

“The district could be on the hook if they consider within the scope of employment as a school board member,” said legal expert Michelle Hagan.

Two current board members, one former 16-year board member and a superintendent have all been charged with perjury and filing false statements for not reporting the gifts they allegedly received.

Hagan said if convicted of those crimes, it would not fall within the scope of employment.

The defense attorney for defendant Pearl Quinones, Marc Carlos, said she cleared her statement of economic interests with the school district's attorney.

“They're covered if there's a tort or negligence of some kind,” said Carlos, “They're not covered for wrongful acts but when they're basically being accused of criminal conduct which they've done normal for everyone else for last 20 years they should cover them.”

Hagan said the board members are ultimately responsible for filling out the form which clearly states what needs to be reported.

“They could wait until after the trial to see if there is a decision, but they could also make the decision now,” she said.

The district, which has insurance to cover any court costs, said it should have its legal analysis complete in the next couple of weeks.

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