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El Rancho USD Board President Jose Lara and Superintendent Aguilera-Fort in Caught in Web of Outright Lies and Cover-Up

THINKING OF LIES:  ERUSD Board President Jose Lara (2nd from left), Superintendent Karling Aguilera-Fort, HPLE owner Jaime Ortiz, and ERUSD Board VP Gabriel Orosco at a gala they organized….a gala that served alcohol on a public middle school campus.

 

17th October 2019
HMG-LCCN STAFF REPORT

Two days ago, Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community News learned the Los Angeles County Office of Education called for an “extraordinary audit” of El Rancho Unified School District by the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT).

The call for the audit was due in part to the investigative article published last week by HMG-LCCN that uncovered a wide-ranging scheme involving over $212 million in school bond funds perpetrated by ERUSD Board Members engaging in pay-to-play politics, financial cover-up, blatant conflicts of interests, and willful violations of California’s Education Code.

The long-running plot has involved ERUSD President Jose Lara and Vice-President Gabriel Orosco since 2015, newly elected Board member Leanne Ibarra joining the two controversial board members immediately after she was elected, along with ERUSD’s current bond program manager Jaime Ortiz.

Now, in a desperate Trump-type attempt to claim innocence, ERUSD president Jose Lara and Superintendent Karling Aguilera-Fort (Fort) are accusing the investigators of corruption, while falsely claiming and posting on social media that  they were responsible for initiating the FCMAT audit.

Lara posted his statement at approximately 8 a.m. Wednesday May 15 writing, “Finally! I am excited that the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), along with support from the state are going forward with our request to conduct an independent audit. We have instructed district staff to meet with LACOE and invite them to conduct a second audit.”

 

Lara’s post on Facebook.

 

 

But several documents obtained by HMG-LCCN clearly refute Lara’s fraudulent Facebook claims which further implicates him and others in the bond scheme corruption and cover-up.

The first document is an internal ERUSD board memo dictated by Fort entitled “5-10-19 Interoffice Board Memo Update,” exclusively obtained by HMG-LCCN, that definitively shows Fort did not know of the FCMAT audit prior to May 10.

 

 

The memo dictated by Fort

 

Fort was clearly informing the ERUSD Board for the first time that LACOE ordered the audit stating in the memo, “I attended a meeting with members of the Executive Leadership Team of LACOE [including] the Deputy Superintendent, Legal Counsel, Chief Financial Officer, and Business Services Director. I was joined by our CBO Dr. Rojas, and our Legal Counsel, Mr. Martinez. During this [May 10] meeting, we were informed that ERUSD will receive an AB 139 audit.”

A second attempt by Fort will have observers questioning the Superintendent’s motives, as well as his memory and recall of dates.

HMG-LCCN has obtained a letter, ostensibly dated May 14, 2019, sent by Fort to Dr. Debra Duardo at the LACOE Office of the Superintendent further trying to spin the story that he and Lara called for the FCMAT audit.

Fort faulted former board members and also called out HMG-LCCN’s articles as false.

The letter started, “on Thursday, May 9, 2019, I had the pleasure of meeting with Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Erica Torres, and several other senior staff members.”

“Following our discussion, the Los Cerritos Community News published a series of sensational, ill-researched, and irresponsibly reported tabloid articles that, accuracy not withstanding, have understandably caused deep concern in our community.”

But the first LCCN story exposing the bond corruption was published May 7, two days prior to Fort’s meeting with Torres.

 

 

The letter went on and attempted to establish the fact Lara and Fort called for the FCMAT audit, “it is clear to me that the district and the broader El Rancho community would benefit from the unbiased assessment of an independent agency, I hereby request that your office begin a FCMAT audit of the district.”

 

Fort’s letter written to Dr. Duardo.

 

 

But two requests for audit occurred prior to Fort’s request.

A letter, obtained by HMG-LCCN and dated April 22, 2019, proves the old axiom, “the cover-up is worse than the crime,” and catches Fort and Lara in outright lies.

The letter is from the El Rancho Unified Teacher’s Union and calls for a FCMAT audit.

“Dear Dr. Duardo, on behalf of the El Rancho Federation of Teachers, we are requesting a Fiscal Crisis Management Audit (AB 139).”

 

 

Another letter, dated May 1, is from current ERUSD Board member Carolyn Castillo, who also laid out the corruption and requested a FCMAT audit.

 

 

 

 

“Strike three,” said HMG-LCCN Publisher Brian Hews, “we have the interoffice board memo dated May 10 showing Fort did not know about the FCMAT audit, his letter to Dr. Duardo with conflicting dates, and now the two letters asking for an audit April 22 and May 1.”

“Taken all together, the pattern clearly shows the Keystone Cop attempt to cover up the corruption by Lara, Fort, and by extension Orosco, Ibarra, and Ortiz after our story broke. They blame others and then take credit for the FCMAT audit.”

“I saw this at Montebello Unified, Ben Cardenas and Lani Cupchoy criticized our articles then tried to cover up the corruption, look what happened to them. And Lara is good friends with Cupchoy.”

 

 

 

 

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Yvonne De La Torre
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Yvonne De La Torre

This district is for the birds.