Friday, June 29, 2007

HERE for the Danielle Coziahr v. CVESD $1 million jury award for gender discrimination.

Lawsuit abuse by Dan Shinoff, Leslie Devaney, and Diane Crosier may have reached an all-time high in 2007. Leslie Devaney felt right at home in Cheryl Cox territory (Chula Vista), where she got the taxpayers to pay a big settlement to get rid of Laurie Madigan, the wife of a developer who was suspected of steering work to her husband's friends. You may remember Madigan as the woman who took sick leave BECAUSE SHE WAS AFRAID SHE MIGHT GET SICK BECAUSE SHE WAS BEING INVESTIGATED FOR A CONFLICT OF INTEREST. While collecting full sick pay, she continued with her evening teaching job.

Then there's Dan Shinoff, who helped make a mess of MiraCosta College at the same time he helped Victoria Munoz gain a life of leisure and luxury at the taxpayers' expense.

Here's what San Diego Union Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins says about the deal MiraCosta made with Victoria Munoz Richart to get her to resign as president. She'd long been working closely with Dan Shinoff to wreak havoc with the district's finances and human resources.

Logan Jenkins admires Victoria Richart's fabulous settlement with MiraCosta

Not everyone can waste two million dollars of precious education funds, and then be rewarded with another million in taxpayer funds. Victoria Munoz Richart of MiraCosta College, under the guidance of education attorney Dan Shinoff, did just that.

Yesterday, Logan Jenkins of the San Diego Union Tribune wrote:

"I don't know what element of the settlement to admire more.

"The $650,000 in “damages”? (You help blow up the place and then collect for your theoretical injury at the hands of dissident board members who may have illegally dissed your leadership. Fabulous!)

"Indemnification in all future lawsuits? (You walk away clean, no harm, no foul – forever!)

"The confidentiality clause? (All lips are sealed. No snitching!)

"Though not highlighted in the press, one clause of the settlement struck us as especially brilliant.

"If the college fails to pony up the dough by next Saturday, you'll “remain as Superintendent/President until those payments are made.”

"Talk about striking the fear of God into your marks. Pay me or I'll . . . stay!

"Madam president, you must be very tired, but deliriously happy."

Diane Crosier, director of the San Diego County Office of Education--Joint Powers Authority continues to steer the school districts of San Diego county to Shinoff and Devaney's firm, Stutz, Artiano Shinoff & Holtz. Superintendent Randy Ward refuses to cough up public records of how much money Diane Crosier channels to Stutz. In fact, SDCOE tries to put very little information in writing about its relationship with Stutz. As Terry Ryan revealed at a Grossmont Union High School District board meeting several months ago, Crosier has a "gentlemen's agreement" with Stutz. Isn't that nice for them? But not so nice for the public which pays the secret bills.

1 comment:

Sunana said...

Dear Ed,

You may find this turn of events interesting, to say the least. Now, MCC is lobbying the judge so that they (MCC) will have the priviledge of paying for Richart's attorney's fees, even though the severance package they gave her indicates they have no obligation to do so.

Imagine, a public entity, falling all over themselves so they can pay even more money to a President they already got rid of. It's surely unprecedented.

Here's some additional background on this for your reading enjoyment:

This is from the honorable Leon Page, who has been fighting for the taxpayers.....


Perhaps some of you have watched the movie "Fight
Club" starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. I
love this movie.

There's a scene in the movie where the narrator,
played by Norton, fakes a fist-fight with his
boss. Norton rolls around on the floor of his
supervisor's office, breaking glass tables,
knocking down bookcases, kicking over chairs --
all on his own -- fighting with himself, while
his boss stands there, in stunned bewilderment.

When co-workers come into the office to find out
the source of the commotion, Norton's character
is curled up on the floor, in front of the
bewildered supervisor, pleading that the
supervisor not hit him "anymore."

Of course, the whole scene was faked; the
supervisor hadn't done anything at all. He was
as completely mystified and was as completely
innocent as the co-workers who burst in on them.

Norton's character subsequently threatens some
sort of claim against the employer, and, in the
next scene of the movie, we see Norton leaving
his job with a smile on his face, a spring in his
step, and with a shopping cart filled with
various office supplies -- a computer, telephone,
monitor, keyboard, etc.

Referencing the payout he gets from the company
(undoubtedly in exchange for his promise not to
sue on the phony claim), Norton's character says:
"Telephone, computer, fax machine, 52 weekly
paychecks, and 48 airline flight coupons....WE

The idea was that Norton, through an entirely
phony claim, had frightened his employer into
providing him with "corporate sponsorship" that
would underwrite his subsequent activities.

That line -- "We now had corporate sponsorship"
came to mind when I reviewed next week's agenda
for the MiraCosta Board of Trustees.

Apparently, next Tuesday, the Board of Trustees
will be taking action on a number of items
relating to my lawsuit against the College.

In addition to spending more money on WHITE
item no. 1 -- the College administration will
also be voting on a proposal to require you, me,
and the rest of the taxpayers to PAY FOR

Of course, Richart and the College were (and
still are) adverse parties. Richart -- they tell
us -- allegedly threatened to sue the College for
"millions of dollars," apparently because of
those unspecified "hostile comments" in local
press reports.

Let's take another step back: I am now suing
Richart on a single claim of unjust enrichment.
That's it. If I win -- if I prove by a
preponderance of the evidence that Richart was,
in fact, "unjustly enriched" by the illegal
settlement agreement because she, in fact, had no
valid claims against the college to begin with --
she'll have to return as much as $1.3 million to
the College in restitution for her "ill-gotten

So now, at next Tuesday's meeting, the College
administration will be recommending that the
Board of Trustees (meaning: the public) cover
Richart's future legal bills in my lawsuit
against her. In other words, the College
administration wants us -- the public -- to
underwrite Richart's legal defense so that she
can then fight to keep the $1.6 million goodie
bag that she took from the public as her parting

(Of course, the clause in the settlement
agreement that calls for this particular
indemnification benefit was not permitted under
the terms of Richart's 2006 Employment Agreement.
Nor is it allowed under Gov. Code Sections
53260, 53261. As such, it would be in my view
yet another illegal gift of the public's money.)

Anyway, the College administration apparently
thinks that the College should now help Richart
prove that she was, in fact, harmed by the

"We've now got corporate sponsorship!!!"

Only it's not some corporation paying the legal
bills. It's sponsorship by you, me, and the rest
of the taxpaying public so that Dr. Richart can
battle in court to retain her $1.6 million bag of
taxpayer booty.

See for yourself. I've copied below a link to
the Board agenda.

ONE FINAL POINT: A reminder. Our hearing on our
Motion to Compel Richart's deposition will be
held tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in Judge
Nugent's courtroom at the Vista Courthouse. You
have a First Amendment right to attend, should
you so choose.

Here's the agenda with the Richart legal bill

And here's the relevant text:

Approve Contract with Winet, Patrick & Weaver for
Legal Services Related to the Leon Page Writ of
Mandate Action against the District

Mr. Leon Page has pursued a Writ of Mandate
action against the District and an
employee of the District, Victoria Muñoz Richart,
related to the settlement agreement
between the District and Dr. Richart. The
Compromise Settlement and Mutual Release
Agreement dated June 20, 2007, specifically
requires the District to provide full legal
representation for Dr. Richart for any lawsuits
or proceedings initiated against her that
arises out of her connection with the District.
Initially the San Diego County Office of
Education Risk Management Joint Powers Authority
(JPA) retained Randy Winet of
Winet, Patrick & Weaver to represent the
District’s employee. The JPA is responsible
for the costs up to $10,000. The costs have
exceeded that limit, and depositions and
further legal actions are being pursued by Mr.
Mr. Winet is an experienced attorney who has
competently represented the interests of
the District and its employee to date. Additional
costs would be incurred with the
learning curve if another attorney were to be
retained. Mr. Winet has agreed to continue
the defense at the same rates as charged to the
Accurate costs for attorney fees in the Writ of
Mandate action cannot be estimated at
this date. If the judge allows depositions to go
forward, the additional costs would
increase by about $25,000. If the case actually
proceeded to trial, the additional costs
could range up to approximately $50,000. At this
time, the Board is being asked to
authorize up to $25,000 of additional legal
services. If that nottoexceed
amount is not
adequate to respond to actions taken by Mr. Page,
another specific Board action will be
Recommendation: Approve the retention of Winet,
Patrick & Weaver and approve a
contract amount of $25,000.