Calexico Unified School District's Similarities with Sweetwater
By Susan Luzzaro
San Diego Reader
Jan. 16, 2012
A tipster recently brought to the Reader’s attention the fact that Calexico
Unified School District is beginning to look like Sweetwater Union High School
To begin with, Calexico’s district counsel is GCR, LLP, the attorney firm that
recently was suspended by Sweetwater’s interim superintendent Ed Brand. The
firm used to include Bonifacio Garcia, Yuri Calderon, and Rogelio Ruiz.
However, Ruiz is now suing his former partners for, among other things,
“making thousands of dollars in political contributions to favored
political candidates in an effort to influence government officials…,”
according to court papers filed in Santa Clara County in April of 2011.
Yuri Calderon of GCR was hired as Calexico district council in January
2011. Shortly after GCR was hired, Eric Hall and Associates was hired by
the district to work as a financial consultant.
Hall & Associates was also recently contracted by Sweetwater Union to
conduct an audit of Proposition O funds and came under fire for using
David Randolph to conduct the audit. Randolph had worked with Seville Group,
Inc., the suspended Proposition O bond program manager.
Bond money caused problems in Calexico as well. In 2004, Calexico's Measure
J, a $30 million construction bond, was passed. A 2010-2011 Imperial County
Civil Grand Jury stated that they had “uncovered irregularities” in Measure J
In a January 16 interview, Diana Harvey, a Calexico teacher, said, “In April of
last year, Calexico Unified began an audit into Measure J spending. But on
October 27, before the results of the audit were even made available to the
public, a new bond proposal was brought before the board which named
Calderon and Hall as those responsible for the bond.”
Board minutes from October 27 indicate that Calderon advised the board, “The
proposed bond would consolidate both bonds and any costs incurred would be
borne by the bond funds, and there would be no cost to the District if the bond
was not approved by the community.”
The board voted down consideration of the bond measure. However, on
December 14, 2010, the Imperial Valley Press reported that “Calexico Unified
School District directed its superintendent to find an accounting firm outside the
community to conduct a forensic audit of Measure J funds as well as to ask the
District Attorney's Office to review implications of fraud related to the misuse of
Measure J funds.”
On January 12, 2012, the Calexico board voted down trustee Joong S. Kim’s
resolution to terminate the services of GCR. In the same board meeting they
voted to censure Kim for “unprofessional behavior.”
Yuri Calderon is closely tied to the unfolding Sweetwater/Southwestern saga.
Calderon was treasurer for a political action committee that operated out of
Garcia’s office. The committee, called Citizens for Good Government in the
South Bay, was a political action committee that made generous contributions
to Sweetwater and Southwestern boardmembers.
anniej Jan. 16, 2012 @ 10:13 p.m.
i have seen the law suit that ruiz has filed. in it, one of his contentions is that
calderon and garcia used firm funds to influence the 2010 elections
well, well, well, eric hall & assoc. looks like the 'independent' audit that brand
called for at that december meeting was a bunch of bull. nothing independent
about hall at all apparently...
and which recently elected board members took thousands from laura martinez,
good old bonny's wife? ah, that would be JOHN MCCANN, JIM CARTMILL, and
ARLIE RICASA (one of the board members recently indicted who is treating her
legal woes as a joke with all of her 'i love arlie' pink buttons. ms. ricasa, you are
NOT running for home coming queen - you are indicted on how many
counts?????????????????????????????? then there is bonnie garcia's
''''group''''' citizens for good government who also donated monies to those
board members mentioned above...
desertwaverat Jan. 16, 2012 @ 10:26 p.m.
Here is another disturbing fact.
As reported in the July 1, 2011 San Diego Union-Tribune.
Calderon used to be general counsel to Southwestern Community College
|San Diego Education Report
Jim Groth, Board of Directors, California Teachers