Sunday, January 06, 2013

Bertha Lopez fit in perfectly at Sweetwater Union High School District

I always suspected that Bertha wanted to move to Sweetwater Union High School District because there was even more corruption there than at CVESD. SUHSD has long been home to attorney Bonny Garcia and other cronies of Jaime Bonilla of Otay Water District. One of those cronies was Bertha's husband, Jose Lopez, so she must have known what she was getting into.

Someone asked me the other day about my reaction when Bertha got indicted.

"It wasn't altogether surprising," I said. "I knew that when she was on the CVESD board she supported the policy of violating the law to cover-up crimes and other wrongdoing."

Bertha Lopez was on the CVESD board that fired me for reporting wrongdoing. I was specifically fired for filing grievances and a lawsuit. This is a violation of California Labor Code Section 1102.5.

Patrick Judd, another one of the board that fired me for filing grievances and a lawsuit, was found liable for sexual harassment.

Sadly, the system of mutual support between contractors and board members continues at both CVESD and SUHSD. CVESD even named a school after Corky McMillan. The students don't benefit just because the board members change; the system stays the same.

See San Diego Rostra to get information about Bertha Lopez' campaign donations from contractors.

Lopez: 'We are singing in the rain, all of us together!'
Aaron Burgin
North County Times (owned by San Diego Union Tribune)
January 5, 2013

Bertha Lopez, first elected to the Sweetwater board in 2008, won re-election in November when she defeated former Chargers defensive lineman Burt Grossman in a heated race. She works for the National School District where she has served as a bilingual teacher and reading/language arts specialist.

District Attorney’s investigators raided Lopez’s home on Dec. 20, 2011, though she was not initially charged with her board colleagues Ricassa and QuiƱones.

Lopez has long contended that she came forward as a whistle-blower early in the investigation. Pokorny reiterated this earlier this week.

Court documents make numerous mentions of Lopez, including lunch and dinner meetings with officials from SGI Construction and Gilbane Construction. The partnership won a coveted contract to manage Sweetwater’s $644 million Proposition O building campaign.

July 13, 2008: Lopez, then a Chula Vista Elementary School District board member, was one of several people who went to Morton’s Steakhouse for an event for the group La Raza. The $1,700 meal was paid for by Henry Amigable, a construction executive who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in May and is cooperating with county prosecutors.

July 29, 2008: According to search warrant affidavits, SGI executive Jaime Ortiz emailed company President Rene Flores stating that Gandara suggested SGI and Gilbane should donate $10,000 each to Lopez’s campaign for school board. Lopez previously told The Watchdog that she had no knowledge of Gandara’s solicitation on her behalf.

Oct. 2, 2008: SGI donated $15,000 to the “Yes on Prop X” campaign on Lopez’s behalf, according to court documents. Proposition X was a $17 million bond measure passed in the South Bay Union School District. Lopez previously told The Watchdog that she wasn’t aware of the donation.

April 1, 2009: SGI donated $2,000 directly to Lopez’s campaign.

June 8, 2009: According to an email from Sweetwater school board clerk Sandi Smith sent to Flores, Lopez requested that Flores attend an award ceremony hosted by the YWCA. Flores agreed to attend and paid for a $1,500 table and gave the rest of the seats to Lopez and her guests, court documents say.

Oct. 14, 2009: Ortiz emailed Arlie Ricasa telling her he was trying to set up a meeting with Flores and Lopez at El Vitral downtown the next day.

Dec. 2, 2009: SGI hosted a holiday party at El Vitral Restaurant. In attendance were Ricasa and her husband, Lopez, Ortiz and Flores, among others.

Feb. 11, 2010: Flores emails Sweetwater general counsel Bonifacio “Bonny” Garcia to confirm dinner with Otay Water District board member Jaime Bonilla and Lopez. Garcia was working for the water district at the time.

Aug. 30, 2011: In an email conversation between Flores and Bertha Lopez, Flores says, “You looking on spending in the low 20?” She replies, “Yes! Remember my husband just retired. I need to send him to get another job! HA! HA! Thanks for help.” Two other emails, Lopez said, were about $55 million in state matching money given to the district for construction purposes — and a district plan to temporarily use it for other purposes. “The cookie monster eat the 55 million,” Flores wrote. Lopez responded, “Don’t worry I’ll take care of the 55 million dollars! Yes, we are singing in the rain, all of us together! HA HA.” Lopez said the “spending in the 20” was in reference to her search for a car to buy and that she had asked Flores if he knew of any good dealerships in his area. She said the $55 million refers to $55 million in state matching money given to the district for construction purposes that the district then proposed using to pay other bills due to shortfalls in funding from the state.

No comments: