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Montebello Unified Violated Education Code in Selling Surplus Property to Former Director

 

BY BRIAN HEWS

A Hews Media Group-Community News investigation has found that high-level personnel inside Montebello Unified School District bypassed district policy and sold a surplus vehicle for thousands less than its actual worth to outgoing MUSD Maintenance, Operations and Transportation Director George Upegui.

The sale violated several sections of the California Education Code related to the disposition of district surplus vehicles.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that the Los Angeles District Attorney is conducting an active investigation and has already interviewed several people involved in the sale. One source unequivocally said that “someone is going to jail over this.”

The vehicle in question was a 2009 Crown Victoria used by undercover MUSD safety officers that was heavily modified with mileage, according to documents, right at 92,000.

An examination of Kelly Blue Book prices showed the vehicle worth between $4,000 and $6,000 dollars.

But the vehicle was sold to Upegui for only $700.

 

 

The bill of sale from the California DMV.

 

 

Documents obtained by HMG-CN via a public records request show an effort by Upegui to subvert the process so he could purchase the vehicle for thousands less.

The documents also show that Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Angel Gallardo signed all sale and transfer documents, rather than the Superintendent or other personnel.

Although requested, not included with the public record request was any legal notice that the Ford Crown Victoria had been advertised for sale by the MUSD in a newspaper of general circulation.

The entire process violated California Education Code 17545 which mandates that selling of equipment must be properly noticed in a newspaper two weeks prior to the sale, mandates the acceptance of bids, and requires that the highest bidder be awarded the equipment.

Upegui first pushed for the sale in June 2017, sending a list of surplus vehicles via email to Gallardo to be approved at the June 29, 2017 Board meeting.

Interim Superintendent Anthony Martinez “drafted” a memo describing the proper sale of surplus property to be presented to the Board on June 29.

Strangely, the memo was addressed “To: Interim Superintendent Anthony Martinez,” and then “From: Interim Superintendent Anthony Martinez.”

 

 

The memo both “To” and “From” Interim Superintendent Martinez.

 

At the time, sources told HMG-CN that Upegui actually wrote the memo. Then an email obtained by HMG-CN seemingly confirmed the information.

Upegui wrote on Saturday June 24, 2017, “I spoke with Lloyd and Craig along the way trying to get all of the viable information for the surplussing (sic) of said vehicles. Both Lloyd and Craig were helpful and thought maybe the school buses go to auction and the white fleet go to bid internally as in the past.”

“I have crafted a board action based on a request from Dr. Gallardo today and copied you accordingly.”

At the June 29 meeting, Interim Superintendent Anthony Marinez presented the memo, after which the Board approved the sale of the surplus property.

Acting quickly after the meeting, Upegui wrote a check for $700 to MUSD and gave it to Gallardo with a note attached; the check was not dated.

Handwritten on the note was references to completing the documents and sale of the Crown Victoria to Upegui.

“Sign all X’s, total circled X’s please sign,” Upegui wrote. He was referring to the transfer documents and Certificate of Title (pink slip) of the car. Gallardo signed next to the three X’s, releasing all interest in the car to Upegui.

 

 

 

The pink slip signed by Gallardo and Upegui.

 

 

 

 

The note then read, “place date on check,” a strong indication both knew beforehand the sale of the car would take place to Upegui.

 

 

 

 

The handwritten note and check from George Upegui.

 

An examination of the check shows different handwriting in relation to the date on the check. District personnel subsequently mailed all sale documents to Upegui.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that after the sale, but before Upegui took possession of the Crown Victoria, the district spent $2,000 to “fix up the car.”

HMG-CN has a public records request asking for the maintenance records but the district has yet to respond.

 

 

 

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Kevin

Google George Upegui. This is not the first time.

Kevin
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Kevin

Google Mr Upegui. He has a habit of this behavior from other government employers.

Kevin
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Kevin

You should google Mr Upegui. He has a history of this behavior with other employers.