How LAUSD Lost Over a Half Billion Dollars of Taxpayer’s Money … without Being Reported

EDUCATION POLITICS--Since my July 12 CityWatchLA article entitled LAUSD’s Malfunctioning Payroll Debacle: Still targeting Former Teachers with Bogus Lawsuits, yet more disturbing information has emerged. (Photo above: LAUSD headquarters.)

In the bumbling world of LAUSD attorneys, LAUSD never pursued almost $600 million paid to contractors which did not go to the projects they were hired to work on despite the protest and formal investigation results by the District’s own Office of the Inspector General Supervising Investigator Bob Williams going back to 2003.

The Los Angeles Times and other local media organizations never reported this either; rather Leslie Dutton’s Full Disclosure did. Had mainstream media reported this, there would have been heated School Board meetings with angry parents complaining of misappropriation of funds and schools’ unfulfilled needs.  Instead, The Los Angeles Times and other corporate media allowed LAUSD to get away with this and move on to pursue money losing bogus payroll lawsuits, all the while attempting to pass another bond measure. 

With that much missing money, what unknown favors were handed out during the then tenure of Superintendent Roy “Mr. Outsider” Romer (a former Colorado Governor)?  “Mr. Outsider” turned out to be the biggest insider, forcing out unsung hero OIG Inspector Don Mullinax who was courageously trying to clean up LAUSD corruption. 

As such, the madness has continued since 2009 with LAUSD creating more financial loss with its false payroll debacle lawsuits wherein LAUSD spends far more than it takes in.  Though most defendants default, LAUSD rarely pursues recouping these defaults.  LAUSD loses money on the payroll lawsuits even with the continued help of LA County Court “judges” such as Elizabeth R. Feffer who recently at a July trial (BC632878) allowed LAUSD, beyond belief, to claim “Breach of Contract”, though for two-years and at trial LAUSD was NOT required to provide the actual UTLA-LAUSD Contract as evidence (despite being opposed by defendants’ Answers and two defense Motions).

It was reported to me by attending trial defendants that “judge” Feffer, like a number of “judges” before her, took LAUSD at its word. Consequently, LAUSD in-house attorney Terrye Cheathem testified successfully that the number of hours teachers work is “1635”, rather than the UTLA-LAUSD contract’s correct “1224”. Ms. Cheathem did so orally, NOTHING in writing; thus Feffer believed LAUSD. If LAUSD argued, obviously fraudulently, that teachers work a hyperbolic “1635” annually, then LAUSD proved “overpayment”.  Two defendants saw this kangaroo court first-hand and settled.

In contrast, “judge” Feffer also found four defendants not liable due to statute of limitations, but this is suspicious because one of the defendants did not even have to attend trial.  The defendant was told via email by LAUSD that their case was dismissed due to statute of limitations on the Friday before trial.  How often does a Plaintiff admit guilt?  Most likely, “judge” Feffer wanted to look fair, since she would have to (and did, in fact) ignore a plethora of insurmountable defense arguments via defense Attorney Ronald Lapekas’ Cross-Complaint  to believe the fantastical “1635” hour figure –so it was predetermined perhaps that some of the cases would be dismissed as to statute of limitations.  So, once again, LAUSD has never lost due to the fact there actually was no “overpayment”, thus not setting legal precedent.  

As stated in my July article, LAUSD NEVER uses one’s W-2 forms and original paystubs to prove “overpayment”, rather LAUSD has invented their own secondary “evidence”: non-contractual, incomprehensible “evidence” dubbed “Fiscal-Year Salary Review” sheets.  These are ex post facto documents with unknown payroll terms and district-generated codes dubbed “Employee Statement of Earnings”.

As such, other payroll lawsuits were also inexplicably dismissed when defendants began demanding that their W-2 tax forms be amended to include the supposed “overpayment” amount or amounts for the year or years supposedly in question. The idea to demand W-2’s to be amended came from one of the defense attorneys in 2017 who stated,  “I know all those arguments and some others they do not deal with such as sending tax forms requiring the payees to pay taxes on the money, which LAUSD now wants refunded at 100%. [This falls under] Recovery under the legal doctrine of "Mistake".  This requires ‘no prejudice,’ which the tax situation creates. They did not send amended w-2's to anyone.

Specifically, in April 2018, LAUSD arbitrarily dismissed 34 defendants (16K07779), plus five more in July, and five more in August 2018, in addition to eight since January 13, 2018 in case 14K08370. 

Since LAUSD attorneys and “judge” Feffer received my FBI Complaint Letter in July, about 21 payroll lawsuits (BC632878) were arbitrarily dismissed post trial.  As such, this also makes no sense as the trial had just taken place and some of the defendants that defended themselves at trial lost while those that did nothing (and defaulted) won, so to speak.  If LAUSD is trying to do some housecleaning, they’re about 11-years too late.

Why would any judge accept LAUSD’s payroll numbers as accurate if LAUSD’s giant payroll calculator does not work properly?  LAUSD has taken full advantage of their still broken system.

My FBI Letter’s carbon copy emails are extensive and were also sent also to Los Angeles Times writers, Howard Blume, Mitchell Landsberg, Jeff Glasser, Michael Livingston, George Skelton, John Myers, and Jack Dolan. No response to date.  It’s high time the Los Angeles Times and other corporate media do their due diligence and report these LAUSD scams to the victimized taxpaying public. 

(John Adams is a retired teacher who lives in Ventura County. He worked for LAUSD from 1996 to 2009 teaching History and spent six and a half years in litigation with LAUSD for return of payroll he claims he never owed, but which LAUSD inexplicably won.)

-cw