A culture of secrecy is not appropriate for a public entity
Superintendents like Ed Brand should not oversee SDCOE lawyers.
We are putting the fox in charge of the hen house at SDCOE.
The taxpayers have to keep paying and paying, while Ed Brand and Tom Anthony
ignore the law.
Ed Brand's secret strategies for avoiding compliance with legal requirements for
spending taxpayer dollars were revealed in the Mary Anne Weegar Case.
"You don't expect me to
believe that corruption is
widespread in school districts,
"Unethical people never even
think of applying for jobs in
"Just because millions of
dollars are available in schools
with very little oversight and
institutionalized secrecy, does
not mean that anyone is taking
advantage of the situation."
"If an unethical person did get
hired by a school district, and
then committed a crime, SDCOE
JPA lawyers would recommend
that the district fire that
person. They wouldn't try to
cover up wrongdoing."
Note to SDCOE board:
How about some
basic training for
superintendents to help them
understand the principles of
It would save the taxpayers
millions of dollars, and it would
give our children better role
And stop the training sessions
by insurance company lawyers!
"The system is indeed
It appears that public
employees such as Diane
Crosier, Rick Rinear, Rodger
Hartnett and Lisa
Adriance-Jensen, who act as
insurance company gents, are
usurping the responsibilities of
elected officials in San Diego
County Schools. And elected
officials are shirking their
engage in lawsuit
JPA director Diane
Croiser likes to
accuse her victims
of lawsuit abuse,
but the answer to
this question is
When schools prevent
problems, and when
they resolve problems
that have already
occurred, they stop the
flow of money to school
superintendents like Ed
Brand and Tom Anthony
direct SDCOE lawyers?
As seen in the examples
above, these individuals do
not understand the concept of
conflict of interest, or the fact
that public entities and
private insurance companies
have different purposes.
Like the California Penal
System (probably the
most corrupt public
entity in the state),
many school districts
encourage a system of
using feared inmates
(powerful teachers and
In Grossmont Union
High School District, a
coach used bully
students as enforcers.
The district defended
him instead of firing
A school band leader
from the San Diego
area assaulted a
student for wearing the
wrong color socks at
the Rose Bowl. The
district defended him
instead of firing him.
are often adults
at the time of the suspected
criminal activity was Ed Brand,
who has since left and is now
superintendent of the San Marcos
Unified School District. Brand could
not be reached for comment.
Link: Voice of San Diego
Feb 21, 2006
"Something Went Sour in
"The extent of the fraud is unknown
as yet, but damage control is in full
swing at the Sweetwater Union High
"...Also familiar with the case is
Lora Duzyk, SDCOE's assistant
superintendent for business
services, who also denied knowing
the extent of the loss."
(Ed Brand is a current member of
the SDCOE Legal Services Council.
Are you the right man for the job,
San Diego County Office of Education
SDCOE Joint Powers Authority (JPA)
An Insurance Company Funded by the Public but run for the benefit of the few
Schools should make
school safe for children
by teaching students
and adults better ways
to deal with problems.
Instead, they give
"More families are
taking school bullies to
Feb. 17, 2006
San Diego Union Tribune
"If individuals persist, refer them to Diane Crosier."
San Diego County Office of Education policy is not to allow parents to see
accident reports about their own children!
Diane Crosier says the document is attorney work product, and so the original
description of a child's accident at school is hidden from parents and doctors.
Link: JPA Loss Control Newsletter
The above link was broken by SDCOE, but I saved a copy of the file.
Click HERE to see it.
The Education Intelligence
"Fallbrook Union High School
District Superintendent Tom
Anthony didn’t know what the
local teachers’ union affiliate
was up to. He was concerned
that they planned to strike.
"So he ordered a search of the
district voice mail of union
President Alan Saltamachio,
Vice President Jeff Ropes, and
union member Peter Fellios,
and is in deep legal doo-doo.
"Anthony claims board policy
gives him oversight of the
voice mail (by the way, no
strike was planned)."
January 4, 2008
San Diego Education Report called up Diane Crosier today and asked her what
insurance company handled Maura Larkins' April 21, 2005 tort claim against SDCOE
Crosier looked on her computer and found Maura Larkins' tort claims for 2001,
2002, and May 2004, but nothing for 2005.
Crosier asked if the claim was about continuing incidents.
I said, no, they were about specific, single events on November 4 and 10, 2004.
She said it might be in the May 2004 file, but the file is in storage.
At the bottom of this page is the claim that either no one ever entered properly into
the SDCOE-JPA computer, or someone removed from the computer.
It regards SDCOE-JPA lawyers who represented witnesses.
SDCOE-JPA instructions to schools
Q. What does SDCOE's Rick Rinear instruct school districts to do every time
someone submits a claim?
A. "...the claim should be...returned as insufficient, late or
"...If a claim is submitted in letter format and is sufficient (in
compliance)...the claim should be... returned as insufficient,
late or rejected...
"Please continue to forward claims when received to San Diego County Schools Risk
Management JPA...Attention: Rodger Hartnett, Property & Liability JPA Claims
Coordinator. Rodger or Lisa Adriance-Jensen will recommend what action to take."
Source: January 22, 2004
To: JPA Representatives
From: Rick Rinear, JPA Risk Management
Link to SDCOE memo
If SDCOE breaks the link, here is my backup copy of the document:
Subject: Tort Claim Reporting Form – Revised
GIC880054 SAN DIEGO COUNTY OFFICE
OF EDUCATION SANCHEZ, OCTAVIO
San Diego 02/13/2007
37-2008-00081583-CU-WT-CTL SAN DIEGO
COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION
HARTNETT, RODGER J San Diego Civil
Case Title: HARTNETT VS. SAN DIEGO
COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION
Case Location: San Diego
Case Type: Civil Date Filed:
Category: CU-WT Wrongful Termination
HARTNETT RODGER J P
SAN DIEGO COUNTY OFFICE OF
WARD RANDOLPH E
SAN DIEGO COUNTY OFFICE OF
South County 06/06/2006
"Several publicly owned insurance companies have since reported receiving
subpoenas from San Diego investigators..."
--San Diego Union Tribune, June 25, 2008
have since reported
from San Diego
Insurer fined in San Diego
By Jonathan Sidener
San Diego Union Tribune
June 25, 2008
...Unum Group will pay a $5.5
million fine as a result of a
federal investigation of
kickbacks paid to a San
Diego insurance broker,
according to the U.S.
In 2004, New York prosecutors
alleged that Universal Life
received undisclosed contingent
commissions, which are akin to
kickbacks, for steering business
to certain insurers. A New York
lawsuit alleged that Universal
Life collected about $11.5
million of its $25 million in
revenue in 2003 from these
insurance companies have
since reported receiving
subpoenas from San Diego
Tort claim missing from SDCOE-JPA computer
Who benefits from
The answer is not
students, nor is it
It is school board
members (particularly at
election time), their
JPA to schools: Don't let parents see accident reports
Additional Secrecy Policies of SDCOE
Peters v. Guajome
This program offers protection against both
property and liability losses.
Liability claims are investigated and
adjusted by in house staff. It provides
members with one of the broadest excess
coverage forms available in California.
Sub-programs include: Auto Physical Damage,
Boiler & Machinery, and Main Frame
Computer. Loss prevention/control services
are funded and made available to members via
JPA staff and contract vendors.
Claim Reporting Forms
Surveys & Misc Forms
San Diego County Schools Risk Management
6401 Linda Vista Rd. Suite 505, San Diego,
Phone (858) 292-3776, Fax (858) 279-6236
Rodger Hartnett, Claims Coordinator -
Lisa Adriance-Jensen, Senior Adjuster
- (858) 569-5453
John Vincent, Senior Investigator - (858)
JOHN BURNHAM INSURANCE
750 B St, Suite 2400, San Diego, CA
Corporate Phone (619) 231-1010
Toll Free (800) 421-6744, Fax (619)
John Starich, ARM, CIC, Senior Vice
Direct Dial: (619) 525-2803, FAX: (619)
Terrie Carney, CPIW, CISR, AAI, Account
Direct Dial: (619) 525-2836, FAX: (619)
SDCOE contract atty. Dan Shinoff took SDCOE employees to this restaurant for lunch.
Defamation lawsuit #2
Risk management director Diane Crosier and Supt. Randall Ward used SDCOE resources to
advance a private lawsuit by their contract lawyers at Stutz, Artiano Shinoff & Holtz when
they asked for restraining order against the author of this website for attempting to serve
a deposition subpoena on Diane Crosier regarding Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz v. Maura
Larkins defamation lawsuit. Crosier appeared to be evading service.
Ernie Dronenburg (left in 2006)
Bob Watkins (left SDCOE in 2009;
re-elected as President of board at
the board’s first meeting of 2008;
Sheriff Bill Kolendar appointed Mr.
Watkins to the Airport Authority for
a 3-year term ending Jan. 31, 2010. )
Jerry Rindone (asked for
questionable practices to be
Board members (4-year terms)
Alicia Munoz (2014- )
Gregg Robinson, Ph.D. (2012-)
Mark Anderson (2008-)
Board members in recent past
Defamation lawsuit #1
This case arose out of SDCOE breach of contract lawsuits (and counter suits) when public
employees Dan Puplava and Diane Crosier discovered who had leaked documents to the San
Diego Union-Tribune revealing $100,000s of commissions Puplava received from financial
institutions doing business with SDCOE and resulting in an expose by Jeff McDonald. SDCOE
Fringe Benefits Consortium filed a lawsuit against financial counselors April 9, 2010; later they
filed a defamation suit against Scott Dauenhauer and Barry Allred for whistle-blowing.
Contents of this page
2. Insurance company/
3. Illegal acts? (right
Perhaps Diane Crosier is too busy filing lawsuits
on behalf of Dan Puplava and herself in the name
of the Fringe Benefits Consortium to report gifts
from lawyers that she does business with as
director of SDCOE risk management.
SAN DIEGO AND IMPERIAL COUNTY SCHOOLS
FRINGE BENEFITS CONSORTIUM VS. DAVID ALAN
Case Number: 37-2010-00051562-CU-BC-NC
Case Location: North County
Date Filed: 02/25/2010
Category: CU-BCW Breach of
SAN DIEGO AND IMPERIAL COUNTY SCHOOLS
FRINGE BENEFITS CONSORTIUM
WHITMORE DAVID ALAN
Whitmore v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Company
Plaintiff: David A. Whitmore
Defendants: Hartford Casualty Insurance
Company and DOES
Case Number: 3:2010cv01137
Filed: May 26, 2010
Court: California Southern District Court
Office: San Diego Office [ Court Info ]
County: San Diego
Nature of Suit: Contract - Insurance
Jury Demanded By: None
5. Risk Management
List of school districts and
people from various districts
who are on JPA oversight
committee--even if they don't
know they are on those
committess and don't know
when the meetings are held.
Silvia Peters Uniform
Complaint against Vista
Unified School District
August 24, 2010
re Policy No. 3530
In the policy VUSD states, "the Board
of Trustees strongly supports a risk
management program that protects
District resources and promotes safety
of students, staff and public."
VUSD further pledges that they are
going to, "keep its liability at a minimum
and its insurance premiums as low as
possible while maintaining adequate
...VUSD has the highest premiums in
San Diego County and Riverside along
with Poway Unified School District.
While other school districts pay .19
cents per student DA in premiums.
Both VUSD and PUSD pay over .29
cents DA per student in premiums per
Joint Power of Authority "JPA."
The more lawsuits and violations the
higher the insurance premiums.
What this means is that VUSD spends
almost the entire budget in employee
salaries and insurance companies
[JPA's]! A perfect example of legal
advice which VUSD has had for
decades is Thursday August 19, 2010
closed session item
37-2009-00057592. VUSD voted to
appeal this case.
The case is a simple $ 6, 412.07
dollars which Superior Court
Judge Nugent entered judgment
against VUSD in favor of California
School Employees Association and
its Vista Chapter 389. Instead of
paying the $ 6, 412.07 Court
[The case concerns a bus driver
who was injured in a minor
accident. Why not just pay the
victim? The judge did not even
order the district to pay attorney
VUSD on advice from attorney of
record Daniel Shinoff and Lee
Patajo advised VUSD to appeal the
judgment to the California Fourth
Appellate. Churning and
churning the billable hours and
higher insurance premiums in the
Southern Golden State.
SDCOE contract atty. Dan Shinoff took SDCOE employees to this restaurant for lunch.
SDCOE-JPA and Diane Crosier have made clear once again that they think their job is
to help school districts violate the law:
What are the hidden costs of hiring lawyers to oppose
Why did school administrators in the Coach Carter case allow a coach to harm a
child's health? Why did they fire a good employee who blew the whistle? Why did
school board members in Escondido prefer to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to
lawyers when James Carter would almost certainly have been willing to settle for an
amount similar to, or, more likely, less than, what the lawyers were paid in this case?
Now the taxpayers pay the full cost of Crosier's salary, but the private insurance
companies still seem to get all the advantages they used to pay for.
Could a new director lower SDCOE JPA's costs and increase student safety? One can
Diane Crosier chooses the attorneys that will handle cases covered by SDCOE-JPA.
The usual question school districts use when hiring lawyers is, "Which one is
Sometimes you save money in the long run by investing more in the short run. If a
public entity pays half price, but its lawyers take more than twice as long to do a job,
then the public entity has wasted taxpayer money. If the cheap lawyer violates the
law in the process, taxpayers may lose huge amounts of money. Public officials who
pay lawyers to violate laws should be thrown out of office.
In the public interest,
a new director should be chosen to take Diane Crosier's
The SDCOE JPA needs a new director who will not hire lawyers like Daniel Shinoff
who intimidate victims and witnesses, make false statements to the court during
litigation, and teach clients how to get away with wrongdoing.
Instead, he or she would contract with lawyers who would advise districts on how to
The SDCOE Joint Powers Authority (JPA) is run much
like any other insurance company (such as AIG) even
though it is a public entity
which is to say, with very little concern for those who pay premiums, and for
those who are injured by unlawful actions of those who pay premiums.
In fact, SDCOE contracts with AIG.
The Joint Powers Authority appears to be run for the benefit of lawyers. Diane
Crosier, who is a lawyer, provides a steady flow of tax dollars to her lawyer
associates. How much? The public has a right to know this.
Diane Crosier tries to make sure that little or nothing is provided to employees
who teach children or serve children in classified or administrative positions. In
fact, she goes around campaigning for limits on payments to those injured when
school districts break the law--but no limits on amounts paid to lawyers!
In 2005, a federal judge reprimanded Lozano, Smith, a big California education
law firm, for their illegal tactics, but most education lawyers have continued to
play from the same (illegal) playbook.
As can be seen from the recent revelations regarding the enormous--and, in
some cases, illegal--pension promises and payouts at the City and County of San
Diego, many San Diego officials are happy to give away outrageous amounts of
public money in order to accomplish personal goals.
Yet these same individuals refuse to pay up when a court tells them that the law
requires it. Apparently, they hate to waste money on people who haven't done
them favors, or causes that won't benefit them personally in some way.
Dan Shinoff's "Gentlemen's Agreement"
Jim Kelly and Terry Ryan kept urging the board to hire lawyers approved by the
San Diego County Office of Education Legal Services Council. Well, that doesn’t
seem to include Daniel Shinoff. Why? Because SDCOE has a "gentlemen's
agreement" with Shinoff.
SDCOE’s website lists only the following approved firms:
1. Atkinson, Andelson, Loya
2. Best, Best & Krieger
3. Lozano Smith (A federal judge ordered all 80 lawyers in this firm to take an
4. Parham & Rajcic
LAWYERS WHO CONCEAL PROBLEMS COST MORE THAN THEIR HOURLY
How much do lawyers cost? They cost a lot more than their hourly rate would
indicate. Some lawyers intentionally prolong problems in order to make more money.
They end up charging millions of dollars for cases that would never have arisen if
schools were given legal advice to correct improprieties, or had been advised to
settle early. Instead of agreeing to do give reparation to students and teachers who
have been wrongfully damaged, some lawyers cover-up documents and witnesses,
clog up the courts with cases that should have been settled, and clog up schools with
Attorney Diane Crosier, Director of SDCOE-JPA, collected pay
from a private insurance company at the same time she
INSURANCE COMPANY LAWYERS AND SDCOE-JPA
SDCOE and AIG
AIG getting tax dollars from schools as well as from congress
SDCOE chose AIG to work with teachers on retirement as well as to provide
The Hunter Group
... In 2001 she joined a boutique office of Sentra Securites that would later be
purchased by SunAmerica to become what is now AIG Financial Advisors. For the
last three years the La Jolla office was sanctioned by The San Diego County
Office of Education in assisting local teachers to save in their 403(b), Roth 403(b),
and 457 Plans. Edwina held weekly educational seminars and assisted in navigating the
red tape of their retirement programs.
Edwina graduated from the University of California San Diego with a BA in Chemistry.
She holds FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registrations and a California Insurance
Daniel Lee Puplava, Registered Principal of Escondido, California
Misappropriated signature guarantees on client's forms
Puplava’s non-registered assistant had access to his signature guarantee stamp... to approve
securities business-related transactions and paperwork that required a signature guarantee
stamp...Puplava did not take back his signature guarantee stamp or take steps to otherwise
secure the stamp to prevent its misuse. ..
The findings also stated that Puplava had customers sign blank securities business-
related forms, including non-brokerage change request forms, mutual fund transfer
forms and securities account forms, and retained these forms in his customer files
contrary to his member firm’s prohibition against this practice.
Ironically, SDCOE attorney Dan Shinoff sued Barry Alred and Scott Dauenhauer on
behalf of Diane Crosier and Dan Puplava for defamation for exposing Puplava's
dealings, and extracted settlements without the truth ever coming out in a trial.
Also, Diane Crosier refused to produce public records to a local reporter.
Did SDCOE board members Mark Anderson, Susan Hartley, Lyn Neylong, Gregg Robinson and Sharon
Jones suddenly become interested in ethics? No. They still clearly believe that their job is to protect
the individuals in power in the education establishment, even at the expense of the students they
claim to serve, the public that they claim to represent. Transparency? Forget about it.
SDCOE says the public has no right to an explanation--even after the San Diego Union-Tribune exposed
the $355,000 in checks Dan Puplava received from financial companies--of the trips taken by Diane
Crosier, executive director of the risk management department, to visit the companies she deals with.
Are San Diego JPAs being investigated?
"...Several publicly owned insurance companies have since reported
receiving subpoenas from San Diego investigators..."
--San Diego Union Tribune
June 25, 2008
San Diego Union Tribune's Jonathan Sidener reports that the US Attorney has fined
an insurance company for paying a San Diego insurance broker "millions of dollars
in kickbacks disguised as items such as requests for proposals,
communications and enrollment fees. Those fees were passed along to
Sharon Jones won
59% of the vote in her
June 6, 2006 race
against Rick Winet.
...No competitive process has been used by officials to select the law firm panel,
because state law doesn’t require it, officials said.
Written policies for the legal unit say the work will go to the attorney “most qualified to handle and
advise on the specific case” and give the agency “absolute authority to direct selection of the counsel.”
Music Watson, spokeswoman for the County Office of Education, said member districts can express a
preference for any firm they want to use.
At least one district official told U-T Watchdog she was
unaware that she had a choice of which law firm to use.
“The Rancho Santa Fe School District does not choose the attorney(s) for JPA,”
superintendent Lindy Delaney wrote in an email. “If I had a choice, I would request
JPA use Currier and Hudson. Currier and Hudson has represented the Rancho
Santa Fe School District very well in the past 25+ years.”
If districts don’t choose, Watson said, the agency assigns work to the three contractors on a rotating
basis. The rotation is not spelled out in the written policy, but Watson said on Wednesday that it will be
added in response to the U-T’s questions.
The JPA has an annual budget of $42 million and has collected reserves of about $92 million. It
functions somewhat like a liability insurance pool for the districts that join.
Schools pay into the fund in return for defense work in liability and property cases and workers’
compensation claims. Member districts and charter schools also receive training to prevent legal issues
Secrecy at SDCOE-JPA
SDCOE provides legal services for school districts--but keeps districts in
the dark about what's going on
Oversight meetings occur rarely, without contacting all members
Legal agency says cases are rotated
By Ashly McGlone
UT San Diego
Jan. 30, 2015
...Although school districts are entitled to a representative on the governing
board of the agency, some don’t take advantage of it.
Several members of the board contacted by the U-T were unaware they
were on it, including the superintendents for the Coronado, La Mesa-Spring
Valley, San Pasqual, Vallecitos and Jamul-Dulzura districts, and the
associate superintendent at Encinitas Union.
Coronado Superintendent Jeffrey Felix said he was unaware the board held one of
its rare meetings last month.
And Frank Gomez of San Pasqual Union School District was listed on the agency’s web site as of Friday
as an alternate board member even though he died in 2009.
Districts also don’t possess or track legal bills for work on their behalf by the JPA, instead delegating bill
oversight to the agency’s staff...
Susan Hartley (2002-2014)
Dan Shinoff suspended from new cases at SDCOE Risk Management
I can't believe that SDCOE-JPA executive director Diane Croiser has suspended attorney Dan Shinoff
Officials at SDCOE-JPA have worked closely--and almost exclusively--with attorney Dan Shinoff for
decades, but have now cut him off from new case assignments! What??? SDCOE itself should be
investigated if Dan Shinoff should be investigated.
Dan Shinoff always had SDCOE officials looking over his shoulder as he conducted cases.
SDCOE administrators sat in the courtroom during trials, made decisions with Mr. Shinoff. SDCOE-JPA
executive director Diane Crosier, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Lora Duzyk,
and Superintendent Randy Ward are responsible for Shinoff's actions. They oversee him.
Who is going to investigate them?
Schools office suspends law firm
U~T San Diego
A law firm that does legal work for school districts across San Diego County has been suspended from
new assignments by the agency at the Office of Education that taps attorneys for certain liability cases....
[Diane] Crosier wrote to [Dan] Shinoff...
"Due to the severity of the allegations [by San Ysidro School District] we feel it is in the best
interest of our members to suspend any new assignments until the lawsuit and bar complaint are
resolved. We appreciate your many years of dedicated work for the JPA membership."
...Shinoff told the U-T on Friday that the San Ysidro actions were baseless. He issued this statement
today, in response to the JPA reaction:
The JPA felt it was in everyone’s best interest to suspend new assignments to the firm until all issues
have been resolved. We certainly understand why the JPA feels this is necessary, given the misguided
action of one of its school district members. We have had a long and successful relationship with the JPA
members. We expect a speedy resolution to these issues and look forward to our continued relationship
with its members.
In comments on the Watchdog’s story about how the legal work is distributed, personal injury attorney
Daniel Gilleon spoke up for Shinoff and attorney Randy Winet, who receives the second largest helping
of legal work from the JPA.
“Randy Winet and Dan Shinoff represent the school districts for a simple reason,” Gilleon said, “they are
two of the best attorneys in San Diego, and their ethics are beyond reproach.”
Maura Larkins note:
The San Diego Union Tribune reports in the above article that the SDCOE-JPA is now "known
as the San Diego County Schools Risk Management JPA." It sounds to me like SDCOE is trying
to distance itself from the SDCOE-Joint Powers Authority run by SDCOE. A few short years ago
it was easy to find documentation about the JPA on the SDCOE website, but the whole
operation has become very secretive.
The UT also says the JPA "is governed by a board of administrators from
the school districts that use its services.
The truth is that SDCOE gives orders to the school administrators, not the
other way around. For example, it has directed them to "deny all claims"!!!!!
Also, as the UT itself reported recently (see following story), sometimes
the "board members" don't even know that they're on the board, and they
don't know when the (rare) meetings are held.
Weeks after Diane Crosier suspended attorney Dan Shinoff from being
assigned SDCOE cases, she and her cronies at SDCOE quietly reinstated
SDCOE didn't want to wait for the outcome of the San Ysidro lawsuit as it had promised--or
for a full investigation.
The lawsuit was finally settled with Dan Shinoff and Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz agreeing
to pay $2 million ($1.8 million for the district and the balance for the district's lawyers) to
settle the malpractice suit by their former client San Ysidro School District.
March 17, 2015
Going off the rails on a gravy train?
Alleged conflicts of interest within county office of education
By Dorian Hargrove
April 20, 2015
...For more than 12 years, nearly $100,000 has been paid to private investigators from ESI
International Incorporated, run by Robert Price. Much of that money has been paid to
investigator Chris Jensen for surveillance and research on claims made to the agency.
Since 2003, Jensen's wife Lisa Jensen has worked as senior claims representative for the
San Diego County Office of Education. One of Jensen's tasks was to write checks to outside
firms, including ESI International.
According to public records obtained by the Reader, Jensen and her colleagues wrote checks to ESI for
surveillance work in cases throughout the county, including investigation work in the lawsuit filed by the
parents of Scott Eveland, a student and football player at Mission Hills High School in San Marcos who
suffered a traumatic brain injury during a game. Eveland's family later settled the lawsuit for $4.375
million in 2012.
Other documents show Chris Jensen, through ESI, charging the office of education and National City
School District nearly $1200 to travel to the downtown Superior Court building to obtain copies of
criminal files in an unrelated case. Jensen was also reimbursed for mileage driven and for photocopies
In September 2013, as reported by the Reader, Sweetwater Unified School District's then-superintendant
Ed Brand, who has since been accused of collecting thousands in pension benefits while simultaneously
collecting a salary, asked his colleagues to pay ESI International over $65,000 to investigate employees.
That request was later scrapped.
A spokeswoman for the office of education says much of the time Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz had
already hired ESI before the county agency's joint powers authority made any payments on certain
The office of education has since suspended future hiring in order to avoid
any future potential conflicts.
“[The San Diego County Office of Education] has directed [Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz] to refrain from
subcontracting to ESI on any and all [joint powers authority]-related cases in order to avoid even the
appearance of a conflict of interest," writes spokesperson Music Watson. "The [joint powers authority] is
reviewing all cases being handled by the firm to make sure no conflicts exist."
County Board of Education appoints new member
By Christine Huard
Aug. 12, 2015
Guadalupe Gonzalez, a San Diego Mesa College teacher and counselor, was appointed to the County
Board of Education with a unanimous vote Wednesday night. She fills the seat vacated June 30 by Lyn
She joins a board whose majority of members are also community college educators: Alicia Munoz
teaches at Cuyamaca College, Mark Anderson teaches at San Diego Miramar College, and board
President Gregg Robinson is an instructor at Grossmont College...
Doug Perkins (2014-June 8, 2015)
Note: (The Ph.D. degrees mentioned
above are happily not in the field of
education. Advanced degrees in
education are not usually achieved
through academic rigor. Mr. Robinson has
a degree in sociology, and Ms. Neylong has
a degree in literature.)
|San Diego Education Report
|San Diego Education Report
Richard Shea (appointed July 8, 2015)
Shea's personal history: Special Assistant to
the County Superintendent of Schools (ret.)
Guadalupe Gonzalez (appointed August
Lyn Neylong, Ph.D.(2012-June 30, 2015)
County Superintendent Randy Ward, left, with Board of Education members Mark
Anderson, Guadalupe Gonzalez, Gregg Robinson, Alicia Munoz and Richard Shea
Dec. 12, 2015
Hiring Freeze at SDCOE?
SDCOE has appointed Superintendent Randy Ward's Special
Assistant Richard Shea to oversee his former boss!
San Diego County Office of Education supposedly has a hiring freeze in place after widespread
complaints about conflicts of interest at SDCOE. But the freeze has not stopped SDCOE from appointing
board members--and lawyers.
It's very concerning for some (perhaps convenient for others) that not just one, but two, board members
resigned in June of this year.
The Randy Ward-Richard Shea relationship is highly reminiscent of the relationship between lawyer Dan
Shinoff and Executive Director of the risk management department Diane Crosier.
Update on suspension of Dan Shinoff:
School Lawyers Under Increasing Scrutiny
By Eduardo Rueda, Investigative Reporter
December 11, 2015
...Earlier this year, the [Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz} firm was sued for malpractice by the San
Ysidro School District for allegedly failing to inform that school board of potential settlement
offers during a case and for breach of its fiduciary duty to the district.
The law firm settled the case for $2 million at the first mediation
between the parties, before any depositions were taken or binding
arbitration sessions started. The District received a net payout of
over $1.8 million after paying outside legal fees. The District also filed a
State Bar complaint against the firm.
...In March of this year, in response to the San Ysidro School District malpractice lawsuit, the
San Diego County Office of Education suspended the Stutz Artiano
law firm from County cases. For many years, the law firm handled the vast majority of
cases administered by the County Office of Education.
During the past three years, the Stutz firm received more than $4.6 million in legal work from
the County Office of Education.
At the time of the suspension in March 2015, Ms. Music Watson, a spokesperson for the
County Office of Education stated that “staff felt it best to suspend assignment of new lawsuits
to the Stutz firm until the malpractice suit and bar complaint are resolved.”
In an email to Daniel Shinoff that same day, Diane Crosier, the executive director
for the legal team of the Office of Education, wrote “Due to the severity of the
allegations we feel it is in the best interest of our members to suspend any new assignments
until the lawsuit and bar complaint are resolved.”
But the suspension didn’t last long.
Only a few weeks after the suspension, the Stutz Artiano firm was
reassigned to cases from the Office of Education even though the
San Ysidro malpractice case and the State Bar complaint were still
The County claimed it had investigated the allegations and felt
comfortable returning the firm to work, however, no member of the
San Ysidro School Board nor the Superintendent was ever
contacted by the County in connection with that investigation.
Many critics have long complained about the cozy relationship between Daniel
Shinoff and Diane Crosier. In the 1970s, both Mr. Shinoff and Ms. Crosier worked for
an outside insurance company that handled school district claims. Mr. Shinoff later became a
lawyer and joined what would become the Stutz Artiano firm, and he continued to receive
school district cases from Ms. Crosier. A few years later,
Ms. Crosier herself became a lawyer and joined the Stutz firm.
In 1996, when the County Office of Education created the Risk Management Joint Powers
Authority (JPA), Mr. Shinoff was instrumental in Diane Crosier’s hiring as the JPA’s Executive
Director. Ms. Crosier administers over $42 million per year in insurance claims. Over the past
few years, the Stutz firm has received over 70% of the legal work even though the agency
claims cases are assigned on a rotating basis.
In the past two years, the Stutz firm has lost several high profile and costly cases for local
school districts, yet it continues to receive cases from the JPA...