Embezzlement, Poisoning, Murder? Welcome to LAUSD, Mr. Cortines
Vanessa Romo | October 21, 2014
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In case there were any chance LA Unified‘s new superintendent, Ramon Cortines, had forgotten just how bizarro school board meetings can be, his first one back today as head of the district included accusations of embezzlement, murder and sexual harassment.
Welcome back, Mr. Superintendent.
While the school board voted unanimously to approve the $300,000 a year contract Cortines was offered to shepherd the district out of its current troubled state — $50,000 less than what his predecessor earned — a handful of speakers criticized him for the sexual harassment lawsuit that followed his departure in 2011.
During the public speaking portion of the brief meeting — during which anyone can have three minutes to address the board on any topic they please — Patricia McAllister, who identified herself as a substitute teacher who was fired, took it a step further.
She hurled a litany of accusations at the board, saying former Superintendent John Deasy “embezzled” billions of dollars from the district and claiming Cortines was guilty of sexually harassing district employees. Then in a Law & Order-type twist, she accused unknown persons of poisoning or murdering the late board member, Marguerite LaMotte, and recommended that an autopsy be performed.
Another speaker, Lady Cage Barile, addressed the board to oppose the return of Cortines. She also cited the circumstances under which he left his previous tenure as superintendent and called him “a disgrace these kids are to look up to.”
The sexual harassment case against Cortines was thrown out twice by a judge, and a $250,000 settlement that was to be paid to his accuser, fell apart.
Cortines, sitting beside board President Richard Vladovic, looked on impassively as the speakers criticized him and did not comment.