Learning Curves

For the last 20 years, and even before that, but certainly since the days of  “Wild Bill” Rojas, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has been a crazy house. Waldemar, himself, with all of his knowledge, charm and prowess, was accused of being unable to control the “financial disarray”; not to mention control of the fight  over the infamous, “Consent Decree.”
The truth is the City is so often child-friendly in name only, and no better example than the school district, whose best intentions have been matched by some great results in recent years, but inevitably success is always cut with endless infighting.  Just this week one of the unions is charging that teachers, para professionals and counselors have been bullied by superintendent, Richard Carranza who critics say is trying to bust the union.

A. George Gascón, school board President Rachel Norton and Superintendent Richard Carranza exit after detailing charges. Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle

And now this:  following a three-year investigation, six current and former employees of SFUSD have been charged with diverting more than $15 million to slush-fund accounts in private, non-profit organizations. Additional charges include misappropriation of approximately $250,000 for personal use. This occurred over a ten-year period, during which the district was running a $113 million deficit at one point.  The deficit lead to teachers and programs being cut, and in turn further undermined a public school system that’s slowly losing its base as more and more young parents turn to private school or leave the city altogether.
Defendants include former Associate Superintendent Trish Bascom; former Senior Executive Directors Linda Sue Lovelace and Meyla Fatma Ruwin; former Principal Administrative Analyst Lilian Lamorena Capuli; former Assistant Principal Mychel M. Navales, and Senior Clerk Typist, Betty Chuey Wong. “Arrest warrants were signed on Monday, May 13,” says San Francisco District Attorney (SFDA) spokesperson, Stephanie Ong Stillman. “Defendants were given until Wednesday (May 15) to turn themselves in and did, and now are in the process of bailing out.”
The next court date is Tuesday, May 21.  Bail ranges between $10,000 and $350,000.
The apparent ringleader in the fraud is Trish Bascom, who looks not unlike the actor Michael Gambon, and ran a series of schemes that allegedly benefitted her and her “team.”  The idea was to submit fraudulent claims for grant money, to such long respected organizations as the Edgewood Center for Children Families and the SanFrancisco School Alliance.
Moreover, according to the DA’s office, “Of the $15,000,000 of public money that was wrongfully diverted into slush fund accounts, approximately $250,000 was allegedly misappropriated for personal use by the defendants.  This includes $12,700 paid by defendant Lovelace to her significant other, Mychel Navales, as payment for work that she never did for the school district.  Bascom also attempted to divert another $55,000 to herself and Lovelace, but was unsuccessful.”

Superintendent Richard Carranza

Ms. Navales is also facing charges that she embezzled $5,800 entrusted to her when she served as an Assistant Principal of the Marina Middle School.
The DA’s office lists these felony charges:Trish Bascom: Misappropriation of Public Money, PC 424(a)(1) (4 counts); Falsification of Accounts, PC 424(a)(3) (4 counts); Fraudulent Alteration of Accounts, PC 424(a)(4) (4 counts); Grand Theft of Public Money, PC 487(a) (5 counts); Attempted Grand Theft of Public Money, PC 664/487(a) (2 counts); Embezzlement of Public Money, PC 504 (5 counts); Contract Made in Official Capacity by Financially Interested Person, Gov’t Code 1090 (13 counts); Forgery, PC 470(d) (21 counts); Offering False or Forged Instruments for Filing, PC 115(a) (15 counts); Presenting False Claims, PC 72 (14 counts); and Perjury, PC 118(a)/129 (7 counts). A total of 94 felony counts. Her bail is set at $350,000.
Linda Sue Lovelace: Misappropriation of Public Money, PC 424(a)(1) (1 count); Falsification of Accounts, PC 424(a)(3) (1 count); Fraudulent Alteration of Accounts, PC 424(a)(4) (1 count); Attempted Loan of Public Money, PC 664/424(a)(2) (1 count); Grand Theft of Public Money, PC 487(a) (5 counts);
Embezzlement of Public Money, PC 504 (1 count); Contract Made in Official Capacity by Financially Interested Person, Gov’t Code 1090 (9 counts); Forgery, PC 470(d) (14 counts); Offering False or Forged Instruments for Filing, PC 115(a) (14 counts); Presenting False Claims, PC 72 (8 counts); and Perjury, PC 118(a)/129 (1 count).  A total of 56 felony counts. Bail is set at $150,000.

San Francisco D.A. George Gascon (left), Superintendent Richard A. Carranza and Kelly Burke, an assistant D.A. listened to a question Tuesday May 14, 2013. Felony charges have been brought against six former and current San Francisco Unified School District employees in a multi-million dollar scheme to wrongfully divert public money. Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle

Lilian Lamorena Capuli: Misappropriation of Public Money, PC 424(a)(1) (3 counts); Falsification of Accounts, PC 424(a)(3) (3 counts); Fraudulent Alteration of Accounts, PC 424(a)(4) (3 counts); Grand Theft of Public Money, PC 487 (a) (3 counts); Embezzlement of Public Money, PC 504 (4 counts); Contract Made in Official Capacity by Financially Interested Person, Gov’t Code 1090 (1 count); Forgery, PC 470(d) (3 counts); Offering False or Forged Instruments for Filing, PC 115(a) (4 counts); Presenting False Claims, PC 72 (3 counts). 27 felony counts in total. Her bail is set at $90,000.
Meyla Fatma Ruwin: Misappropriation of Public Money, PC 424(a)(1) (2 counts); Falsification of Accounts, PC 424(a)(3) (2 counts); Fraudulent Alteration of Accounts, PC 424(a)(4) (2 counts); Grand Theft of Public Money, PC 487 (a) (1 count); Embezzlement of Public Money, PC 504 (3 counts); Forgery, PC 470(d) (2 counts); Offering False or Forged Instruments for Filing, PC 115 (a) (2 counts); Presenting False Claims, PC 72 (2 counts).  16 felony counts in total. Her bail is set at $50,000.
Betty Chuey faces felony counts including Grand Theft of Public Money, PC  487(a) (1  count); Embezzlement of Public Money, PC 504 (2 counts). A total of
three felony counts. Her bail is $10,000.
Mychel M. Navales: Grand Theft of Public Money, PC  487(a) (4  counts);Embezzlement of Public  Money, PC  504 (1 count); Forgery, PC 470(d) (4 counts). Nine felony counts in total. Bail is set at $15,000.
Learning Curves was last modified: January 14th, 2019 by admin
Categories: San Francisco