I N T H E N E W S...
Contracts Show School Board President, Not District, Client of Brother's Law Firm
Sept. 5, 2014 | By Theresa Harrington | www.contracostatimes.com
EXCERPT: RICHMOND - Contracts the West Contra Costa school board approved for legal fees related to a Securities and Exchange Commission subpoena received by board President Charles Ramsey reveal that his brother's firm may not disclose information gathered to the district.
"Although there is currently an agreement that the firm's fees and expenses in this matter will be paid and advanced by the West Contra Costa Unified School District, this agreement confirms that Charles Ramsey (and not the district) is our firm's client in connection with this matter," an Aug. 5 engagement agreement with Ramsey Erlich Attorneys at Law signed by Charles Ramsey states. Ramsey's brother, Ismail Ramsey, is a partner in the law firm. ...
An initial amount of $18,000 was crossed out in the district contract and replaced with $150,000. Boilerplate language requiring the firm to indemnify the district and to maintain general liability insurance was also crossed out, along with a clause that would have granted the district ownership of all documents produced. ...
In addition, the board agreed to pay F1 Discovery, which was hired by Ismail Ramsey's firm to collect documents in response to the subpoena, $10,000 for work through June 30, 2015. Language assigning ownership of the documents to the district was also crossed out of this contract, which noted that Ismail Ramsey's firm "is trying to get the SEC to agree to new terms, thus reducing this volume."
Charles Ramsey received the subpoena in connection with an SEC investigation into the district's construction bond financing. The district, Contra Costa County treasurer, the district's finance team and some of its consultants and advisers also received subpoenas.
To read complete article with links to contracts, please visit: http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_26479625/richmond-contracts-show-school-board-president-not-district
Ramsey Ehrlich LLP Contract PDF: /RamseyEhrlichRedact.pdf
Securities & Exchange Commission Subpoena of West Contra Costa School District Reveals Scope of Inquiry
Aug. 26, 2014 | By Theresa Harrington | www.contracostatimes.com
EXCERPT: ... RICHMOND - The Securities and Exchange Commission appears to be undertaking a much broader probe of the West Contra Costa school district's controversial, $1.6 billion bond program than earlier thought, according to the subpoena released Tuesday in response to a public records request by this newspaper.
The subpoena and accompanying letter dated July 31 listed 20 separate requests for correspondence, financial documents, audits and audio and visual recordings with the Contra Costa County Treasurer, auditors, KNN Public Finance consultants, Piper Jaffray underwriters, SGI Construction Management, the state Board of Education and the Internal Revenue Service. The request included documents from the school board, citizen's bond oversight committee, district facilities subcommittee and others related to 11 bond sales between 2009 and 2013.
The SEC letter gave the district until Aug. 15 to comply or be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment. News of the SEC inquiry broke in mid-August, but its scope and specifics have remained a mystery because neither the SEC nor the district will comment on specifics. The district would say Tuesday only that it is complying with the request. ... Since 1998, voters have approved six bonds worth $1.6 billion to finance the third largest school construction program in the state, behind San Diego and Los Angeles. The district has issued about $1 billion to finance an extensive school rebuilding program, with nearly $600 million remaining. But growing opposition to the bond program, with watchdog groups calling for greater financial accountability, contributed to the failure of a seventh bond -- for $270 million -- in June. ...
... Board President Charles Ramsey said Tuesday that some of the transactions listed in the subpoena were approved by the district's finance staff, lawyers and even a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge.
... District resident and former bond oversight committee member Anton Jungherr said he was pleased that the SEC is investigating the district. "Yes, I am encouraged by the SEC investigation. It's consistent with the letter I signed (asking for a third-party review of the district's bond program)," Jungherr said. The fact that board members each appoint a member of the district's bond oversight committee takes away its independence, he said. "It's basically a conflict of interest when you have the people that you're overseeing appointing the overseers," Jungherr said. The SEC provided supplemental information to the district stating that it may share its files with other government agencies, particularly U.S. attorneys and state prosecutors. It has also subpoenaed Ramsey, members of the district's finance team, and some of its consultants and advisers.
To read the complete article, please visit: www.contracostatimes.com/News/ci_26411868/Subpoena-of-West-Contra-Costa-school-district-reveals-scope-of-inquiry
PDF of the SEC subpoena to WCCUSD: /docs/SEC082514WCC.pdf
CaLBOC Board Meetings:
November 8, 2014, Friday February 13, 2015, Friday
May 7, 2015 - Thursday
May 8, 2015 - Friday
CaLBOC May 9, 2014 Statewide Conference Presentation:
Pay to Play in School Bond Measures What it is and Why it is Wrong
Presented by Lori Raineri of Governmental Financial Strategies www.CaLBOC.org
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