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By Brian Hews
Attorneys for Cerritos College have informed Hews Media Group-Community News that they want to charge over $12,000 to retrieve emails and an additional $250,000 to restore back up tapes in order to access older emails, demanding a written agreement before proceeding.
On Feb. 3, 2014, HMG–CN asked for copies of emails between President Linda Lacy, Robert “Bob” Chester, Vice President Steven Johnson, Cerritos College Chief of Police Richard Bukoweikie, police Sgt. Angel Castillo, and police Sgt. Randy Albano for two years from January 1, 2012 to February 3, 2014.
The request was related to Bob Chester and his alleged texting scandal published by HMG-CN at the end of January 2014.
The scandal is still under investigation by the Cerritos based law firm of Atkinson, Andelsen, Loya, Ruud, and Romo and Cerritos College.
HMG–CN reported January 24 of this year that Chester engaged in sexually explicit text messages with a student/employee at Cerritos College.
Within days of the story breaking, four other people emailed or came forward to HMG-CN documenting Chester’s actions against them.
Immediately after the story was published, HMG-CN requested Chester’s phone and/or a sworn statement that he did not send those text messages, with no response.
That is when AALRR informed HMG-CN that the College had hired an investigator to look into the matter.
Seven days later, Chester resigned from his administrative positions at Cerritos College but remained a Professor in English Department.
The letter from Cerritos College attorneys indicated that, “the district does not store emails in the ordinary course of business….and its IT staff are not trained in the creation of data compilation extraction or the necessary programming. As a result the district has had to hire a computer forensic consultant to assist with creating a data compilation and gathering accessible emails with their attachments to determine whether the district is in possession of responsive emails.”
A teacher at Cerritos College who did not want to be identified said, “the College touts itself as the most technically advanced community college in California, the IT staff is not trained to extract data and they can’t retrieve 2 year-old emails? Preposterous.”
The letter went on to say, “the consultant compiled more than 37,000 documents comprised of 80,000 pages of material that must be reviewed prior to production.”
Cerritos College and AALRR then requested a written agreement that HMG-CN will pay $12,600 for the process prior to extraction.
Additionally as a result of HMG-CN’s public records request, Cerritos College suspended reusing back up tapes as of Feb 3.
The letter stated, “speaking with vendors, it will cost more than $208,000 to restore the information stored on backup tapes to an accessible format and another $5,000 charge for each exchange database restore
In addition to that the law firm said, “the backup recovery tapes will cost $500 to restore and there are approximately 96 tapes which would add $48,000 to the charge for public records bringing the total to a staggering $273,000.
Aviles said, “I have been through something like this before, with a similar community college in the area, represented by AALRR. After I sent a letter, we never had to file a lawsuit because they ended up giving us what we wanted.”
Aviles went on to say, “we also had on good information that what they were saying about the emails and data extraction was factually incorrect and the back-up system used at the college was capable of printing a log of all emails sent and received very quickly.”
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