joepublic March 31, 2012 @ 12:49 p.m.

anniej: I agree with you. That money they were throwing around was ours. These companies budgeted for those gifts when they calculated their bottom lines. If convicted, their fines for their crimes should be earmarked for repayment to the taxpayers for all of the money they stole.


anniej March 31, 2012 @ 12:11 p.m.

i, with all due respect DISAGREE with mr. amigale's attorney - those bond monies are our tax dollars, contracts that are assigned to contractors due to pay to play, i believe that they are our tax dollars. that those gifts, tickets, contrlbutions are built into the costs, used as write offs on their taxes. hopefully the feds are looking into this as well. we are talking about a whole lot of corruption here, sweetwater alone had 644 mill to be handed out.

after reading all of the affidavits a question that continues to run thru my mind is why aren't these management companies being indicted? they were essentially buying their way into bond contracts, and i believe that is illegal.


Susan Luzzaro March 31, 2012 @ 11:58 a.m.

The whole affidavit, available on UT site, is worth the read. I get hungry just reading the restaurant receipts. Lobster scampi....cannolis. Then there are the beverages...

When Mr. Amigable changed his plea, his attorney reminded the assembled media that the money spent on gifts, etc. was not the taxpayer's money...


erupting March 31, 2012 @ 8:56 a.m.

Totally correct anniej. It is past time for Brandera to move on. We know now why he was chosen by the majoritynof this board to replace Gandara. It was to keep business as usual.the board did not want change. They were forced into it. Now it is time to get rid of Brandera and the corrupt majority of this board.Iam so glad to see that Domingueze has been finally caught. He was my principal for a short time and the teachers never saw him because he was with Gandara not on site he was dubbed Daisy Dominguez because he was Gandara's chauffeur. No everyone knows he was as greasy as his hair.


anniej March 30, 2012 @ 10:17 p.m.

for whatever reason, possibly more corruption than one mind can handle, i had not read the 160+ page pdf on the recent ut article. well, i just did and i am compelled to bring the document to everyones attention. IT IS A MUST READ.

what jumps out at me as i sit here is the absolute gall of these wheeler and dealers that were allegedly buying the contracts at sweetwater and southwestern via gifts, lunches, dinners, tickets, hotel stays, scholarships, beauty pageant entry fees, jersey boy tickets, humidors, golf trips and much much more - NOT TO MENTION THE $80,000.00 worth of campaign donations for board members from the company jaime ortiz works for. one of the ways they were using their financial backing was thru campaign donation contributions. i am not talking small change here - the affidavit in the ut clearly lists the thousands upon thousands that jaime ortiz's company poured into the coffers of those 'special' persons running for board seats, and please note those of whom i speak are not only the democrats - what needs to be questioned is why jaime ortiz company chose to donate the thousands that he did to jim cartmill or should i say 'friends of jim cartmill' and also to john mccann. both of them received/are receiving donations from 'certain entities' to help them pay off their campaign debt (i guess the vitamin business and the 'it' business are not reaping in the profits). while i have questioned it before i will question it again, why would any company donate money into a board members campaign coffer to assist them in paying off their campaign debt? for verification please visit san diego registrar of voters web site and type in the last name of the candidate - there it is folks ALL OF IT PUBLIC INFORMATION................................

while i have called for ricasa and quinones to go - just go away - step down and move on. i am now calling for jim cartmill and john mccann to do the same. while it is true that board member lopez did receive campaign donations from some of the same entities the others did, the one thing that sets her apart from the others is her voting record and her constant remarks demanding 'answers'.

in closing, it is my opinion that the sweetwater board MUST BEGIN A SEARCH FOR A NEW SUPERINTENDENT ''''''''''''''IMMEDIATELY''''''''''''''''''''''. brand has got to go. his involvement with the prop bb grand jury investigation as well as many of the recent events such as 'funds for education' has caused the community and taxpayers to loose faith and favor with this interim superintendent. not to mention that it is rumored that he was hand picked by john mccann to do mccann's bidding. that alone is reason for him to go.

just my humble opinion


anniej March 30, 2012 @ 9:38 p.m.

many of those who have followed my posts both on the ut (before i was banned for failing to admit my true identity and after a complaint by a certain board member) know how passionate i am regarding ridding the educational system (sweetwater and southwestern) of the pay to play aka corruption culture.

i must say when i read this article my stomach actually turned and became upset. this expense report was submitted by amigable to his bosses - this is proof positive of exactly what was going on at both educational districts and it is nothing short of repulsive. this is proof that jeff flores knew EXACTLY WHAT HIS EMPLOYEE WAS DOING AND WHAT THEY (FLORES) WAS PAYING HIM (AMIGABLE) TO DO.

dominguez (george/jorge), amigable, sandoval, 'the gandara', bunton - all of them in positions of power at sweetwater.

keep in mind my fellow neighbors, this and other evidence we are able to review is ONLY the tip of the iceberg - i can only imagine the evidence they must have on quinones, ricasa, 'the gandara', and sandoval.

if this does not empower you to show up, stand up, and speak up against this nonsense i simply do not know what will.


Jmbrickley March 27, 2012 @ 12:26 a.m.

Southwestern College and Sweetwater Union HSD are like two siamese twins joined at the hip Almost any contractor working for one is/has working/worked for the other. Board members for SWC work at SUHSD, Board members at SUHSD work for SWC. A common denominator is corruption... pay to play!

SWC has begun cleaning up their mess... new Board, new Superintendent, etc. Out with the old, in with the new. Looks like what can't be cleaned up internally will be dealt with by the District Attorney.

SUHSD under the leadership of the same Board members as before still flounders like a ship upon the rocks. The superintendent was changed, but the new superintendent really isn't much better than the last at cleaning house. The ship is still on the rocks. Perhaps the District Attorney's office can do some house cleaning for us.

In the meantime, Bunton joins Amigable and the glee club now has two tenors.


SWC_Teacher March 27, 2012 @ 9:35 a.m.

SWC and SUHSD were "disconnecting." But then SWC hired a new Public Information Officer.

Guess who?

Lilian Leopold, who, of course, was Jesus Gandara's spin doctor.

She'll be making $10,300 a month--more than I make as a full-time teacher with 25 years of seniority. And she gets 12 paychecks every year. Teachers get 10.


Jmbrickley March 29, 2012 @ 12:08 p.m.


Michael, your post is full of half truths. First, Paul Bunton commited crime(s). As such he was charged and indicted. His GUILTY plea to a misdemeanor as part of a plea bargain only infers that there were other more serious allegations against him. As payback for the dismissal of the inferred more serious charges, he now sings in the "South Bay Glee Club." Please spare us the "Paul’s involvement was no where near as serious as others involved." Paul was part of the action, and as such got caught with his fingers in the cookie jar. As far as I am concerned, eating only a few illicit cookies is the same as eating a lot.

Second, Your statement about Paul "helping others understand the state's complex reporting laws," is patently false. The County DA's Office doesn't need help in that matter, and even if they did, they wouldn't be getting advice from a convicted criminal. The DA's Office has experts in issues surrounding the State's reporting laws already on their payrole. If you need proof, just count all the indictments they have issued in these matters of "pay to play."

Third, if your statement of Paul being "a good and honest employeer" were true, than why did Paul not advise the Board members not to forget to report the gifts? And, if Paul was such a great expert in "complex reporting laws," why did he even participate in this "gift giving" in the first place. Paul forgot to "CYA" in this situation, because if he was such an expert, he had to know that if the Board members failed to report the gifts, the resulting mess would come back on him.

In regards to the history of Paul Bunton and his two projects for SUHSD, all is still suspect. Saying the the bid was on the up and up, knowing who the Board members of SUHSD are , and also knowing that Jesus M. Gandara was the Superintendent (eight felony indictments for pay to play), leave some room for doubt.

As to all these awards Paul's projects won, good for him. But, these awards have nothing to do with "pay to play."

And BTW, your veiled threat at the end of your post only serves to to inform me of your lack of honesty and does not serve you well.


SydneyJean March 29, 2012 @ 4:01 p.m.

I admire people who have the courage to stand up for their friends in the face of wrongdoing or embarrassment. Paul Bunton is very lucky to have a friend like you. I for one do not know him, however, if you court alley cats, your gonna get fleas, and his courting of SWC cats is very apparent. I feel sorry for folks who can't say "NO", especially if they feel their meal ticket could be compromised. So for $500 bucks he gave to John McCann'z debt payoff. Isn't it a shame Paul will not be remembered for what he accomplished, but for the games he played to pimp the beautiful politicians and former administrators of SWC to garner the $$$. But worse than that, isn't a shame the taxpayers of the South Bay will pay for this for a long time. He is not a beautiful person as he sings like a canary to the DA. There is nothing complex about this, he knew what he was doing was wrong, and now let's not call him a victim. Arrogance and greed makes an ugly cocktail.


WJR March 28, 2012 @ 12:03 p.m.

Wow, four out of five trustees have been appointed. "Handpicked" sounds like the right word. I also read an editorial in La Prensa San Diego that seemed to imply that Russell Coronado could have resigned a lot earlier but prolonged it so that it would be easier to just appoint. It would be difficult to find out if that is true but it does taint the so-called "reformer."


Visduh March 29, 2012 @ 9:40 a.m.

Perhaps incumbency will not be an asset going into the elections this time. There should be spillover from the Sweetwater and Southwestern College scandals (actually all one big scandal) into these other districts. Of course, what SHOULD happen and what does happen may be radically different. The So Bay voters need to start paying attention to these boards and what the boards do. The willingness of so many folks to just assume that "the man" will run the schools correctly is a root cause of this cabal of crooks taking over public education in So Bay. Wake up!


taxpayer April 1, 2012 @ 9:31 p.m.

With all due respect teachers CAN get paid for 12 months but its still their 10 month salary. Its just spread out across twelve months. They are just asking payroll to do the saving and distribution differently. And, I challenge you to find a teacher anywhere in this country who doesnt work their butt off during breaks, whether its lesson planning, going to conference to develop professional skills, or simply researching and preparing for the next school year. No teacher ever really gets a "vacation". And, even if they did vacations cant even make up for the hours of lesson planning, preparing materials and grading teacher do one their own time every single day school is in session. I guarantee you the majority of teachers on spring break will be working preparing lessons for when they go back to school in a week.


LaLucha April 1, 2012 @ 5:01 p.m.

How long will this continue in Sweetwater Union High School District? How long untill they SCRAP all the board members who allowed this to continue? When do they let Jesus Gandara's key players and cover-up people go? Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa, Pearl Quinones, Rita Beyers, John McCann, Maria Castilleja... These people all played a part in stealing public school money. Every responsible taxpayer in the area should be screaming for justice until that district office has finished flushing out all the overspending PHONY EDUCATORS. Are we really convinced Brand is good for Sweetwater? He is making more per month off that district than Tom Hanks made in "Castaway"! When does it end? When all the teachers are fired, pay-reduced, without healthcare benefits, and teaching 50 students per class? Or is that when they buy all the students iPads. oh. oops. Brand already signed that contract. How much did he make off of THAT contract? Did the public have any input on that? Brand only signs contracts that guarantee him a big payoff. We are used to this behavior from SUHSD. When does it END?


taxpayer April 1, 2012 @ 9:45 p.m.

This is incredible. I've been reading in several articles the argument by these people's lawyers how no taxpayer money was never spent or misused. I think this issue needs to be addressed once and for all. This is how corruption works in Mexico and I am sure its the exact same system here. These contractors, architects, management companies all made a bid. Some of them were chosen even when they didn't put in the lowest bid right? This is because, just like in Mexico, you always add 10% to your bid for the bribes of public officials. It's automatically added into the bid. The contractors know this and the public officials expect it. It's assumed that whoever wins the bid will pay 10% in bribes. I am not sure what percentage they asked for but it all points to the same system. So please, defense lawyers, don't insult our intelligence. It WAS taxpayer money. It was money that could have been used for the benefit of the schools and students. This is just shameful. And now the district is being run by indicted crooks, Interim superintendents, temp workers, and consultants who have no one to answer to but themselves. Can you imagine how they are going to get rich off their big iPad plan? Just wait for it. If we have learned anything from these people is that no big purchase comes without some kind of dishonesty


Visduh Jan. 5, 2012 @ 5:24 p.m.

He could stop even more grief if he would resign, effective immediately. What a four flusher he is!


anniej Jan. 5, 2012 @ 9:42 p.m.

many questions surround this 'foundation' - whether it is suspended or not.

he promised transparency and then the very consultant he brought in to head the 'foundation' allegedly states he wants 'no paper trail'. now that does not sound too transparent to me.

when the two parent members raise questions regarding questionable behavior - THAT SAYS SOMETHING.


angryinsb Jan. 5, 2012 @ 10:55 p.m.

Now I have to ask myself if these people are donating money and this foundation is technically run by the school district which has a huge staff available why are we paying a consultant a huge fee for this foundation? I know things are not always that easy but if people would start doing their jobs and not looking for an ego boost maybe something would get done. Dr. Brand stop bringing back the people who started this district down the wrong path so many years ago. We need to clean up and get our act together we have been the laughing stock of this state for too long. Why can't we show some integrity and learn from the mistakes made by others. Stop paying all of these consultants and other firms to do the jobs that we can find people whom already work for us to do.


Visduh Jan. 6, 2012 @ 9:49 p.m.

Asking Brand to stop "bringing back people who started [the] district down the wrong path", has it all just backwards. HE is the worst offender from many years ago, and he was the one who started it on the wrong path. The only way Brand can restore integrity to that wretched school district is to immediately resign, and then pray that the corrupt board will actually go out and find an honest superintendent. And that just will not ever happen in So Bay, "so close to Mexico, so far from heaven."


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