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Hews Media Group-Community News has obtained court documents that show Cerritos resident Melinda Kimsey, owner of a small publication that Cerritos Mayor Carol Chen and former Cerritos Mayor Bruce Barrows advocate and support, deliberately and maliciously lied in a lawsuit complaint when she falsely accused Larry Costa, a fellow male teacher at the Bellflower Unified School District (BUSD), of sexual harassment.
And in what can only be called an equally vicious and brutal fabrication, Kimsey also claimed that Costa was a pedophile.
In addition, Kimsey accused two principals at the school, Judy Rafferty and Jose Alarcon, of “knowing Costa had harassment tendencies” and for allowing the harassment to occur without taking action.
Lastly, and in an apparent effort to get the maximum monetary award, Kimsey included the BUSD in the lawsuit.
After it was revealed that she had no facts to support anything she alleged, Kimsey had to pay almost $20,000 to the BUSD for attorney’s fees.
Kimsey’s attorneys, Long Beach based Carlin and Buchsbaum, LLP, filed the sexually explicit 10-page complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court, case number BC388465, on April 8, 2008.
Kimsey sued for monetary damages alleging, “a hostile work environment, harassment, sexual harassment, and failure to prevent and remedy a hostile work environment. ”
The shocking 2008 complaint contained extremely graphic sexual harassment descriptions of what Kimsey claimed, and later recanted, Costa said and did to her over a four-year span.
When contacted by HMG-CN Costa said, “We had been friends for a long time. Some time after her husband died, she wanted to have a relationship with me, but I said no, sometime after that is when she filed her lawsuit. ”
Costa went on, “In that time she told me about friends of hers who would file fabricated lawsuits and end up settling, and how she was going to do that. She had about 4-5 other lawsuits filed while mine was in court, she really loves money. ”
Kimsey stated in the complaint, later recanting, “beginning in 2004, Costa began to sexually harass (me) including routinely displaying a banana and two oranges to resemble a penis. ”
Kimsey claimed in the document that Costa said he, “openly described his love for pornography and watched it often at home, ‘getting his rocks off’ while watching pornographic movies.
She also said that Costa asked her if she was “getting (expletive referring to the ‘f’ word) at all lately. ”
In addition, in an extraordinarily malicious set of allegations, Kimsey accused Costa of being a pedophile.
She indicated that Costa told her “he had tendencies in the direction of pedophilia, and that he was attracted to some of the ‘very cute little girls’ in Kimsey’s class. ”
Kimsey bizarre fabrications went on alleging in the complaint that she “did not return Costa’s advances, and that Costa then became hostile towards (me), and as a result of (my) rejections, began calling (me) a whore, a f***ing whore, a bitch, and a f***ing bitch. ”
“I could not believe what she filed, ” said Costa, “she asked me to have a relationship with her and I said no. How can someone be so malicious towards another person? ”
Kimsey indicated she complained to former Principal Judy Rafferty and current Principal Jose Alarcon, in addition to officials at the BUSD about Costa, but “nothing was done to remedy the situation. ”
As a result, Kimsey claimed, but later recanted, that she began “to suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as physical injuries resulting from the emotional distress, incurring a substantial loss of earnings, medical expenses, future medical expenses, and attorney’s fees. ”
Kimsey also claimed, but later repudiated, that Rafferty and Alarcon had prior knowledge that Costa had a “predisposition to harass female coworkers” but did not investigate her complaints.
The complaint ended saying that, “all defendants committed the acts maliciously, fraudulently, and oppressively with the wrongful intention of injuring Kimsey from an improper and evil motives amounting to malice and in conscious disregard of (Kimsey’s) rights. ”
Kimsey Admits She Lied-
The case dragged on in court for 17 months until September 1, 2009.
That is when a settlement conference between all parties took place one week prior to the beginning of the trial.
“The judge saw right through her, ” said Costa, “he knew she was lying about the whole thing. ”
During the conference, Kimsey shockingly admitted that she had no facts to support any allegation set forth in her complaint.
She later signed a settlement agreement confessing to exactly that.
“She told the judge she lied about everything, ” said Costa, “four days of depositions and she lied the entire time. ”
It appears that Kimsey was extremely fortunate that Costa or the BUSD did not want to file a lawsuit against her for malicious prosecution.
Kimsey agreed in the settlement that within ten days she would write a $100 personal check “made out to Larry Costa. ”“She was so motivated by money, I just wanted her to pay me something just to rub salt in the wound, ” said Costa, “she put me through hell. ”
Kimsey was also ordered to give Costa a dated, signed apology letter.
The letter stated, “It is with great sincerity that I regret filing my lawsuit against Larry Costa. In hindsight, I now realize that my lawsuit against Larry Costa should not have been filed, and there is no evidentiary basis to support my allegations against him. ”
The settlement should have signaled the end of the court battle and the sexually explicit, but factually unsupported, allegations that Kimsey leveled against an innocent 4th grade elementary school teacher and two principals, but it did not, and the saga took several more bizarre twists in the months to come.
Additional court documents filed seven months later on April 6, 2010 called for a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court because Kimsey had not yet fulfilled the simple settlement agreement made in September 2009.
Costa was forced to file a Notice of Motion and Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement to compel Kimsey to issue the $100 personal check and a “correct” letter of apology as ordered.
According to the Motion, Kimsey and her attorneys blatantly defied the agreement, with Kimsey giving Costa $100 in cash, and not a personal check.
The apology letter was barely legible with several watermarks covering the words of the apology.
“Plaintiff and her counsel have intentionally designed the letter so as to signal to any reader that plaintiff is not sincere, not sorry, and that she does not believe a word of the letter and was coerced into writing it, ” said Costa’s counsel.
“On its’ face, it suggested a prank, a joke or a mockery. ”
After “two months of silence” Costa’s attorneys requested a meet and confer on Dec. 29 in advance of the filing of the Motion.
Kimsey’s counsel never responded and Costa was forced to file the Motion.
The hearing commenced on April 29, 2010 and the court ordered Kimsey to pay $19,961 to BUSD for court costs, provide the personal check and the correct letter of apology to Costa.
“This was a two year nightmare for me, ” said Costa, “but through all that, my colleagues knew I was not capable of what Kimsey claimed, and their support got me through it. ”
Calls and emails into Ms. Kimsey went unreturned.
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