Tri-City Healthcare board member George Coulter
"Court records indicate that Coulter testified May 27, during a deposition in a separate case involving Sterling, that he "had a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Gold Coast University in Orange County. Stone says in court documents that Gold Coast does not exist in Orange County or Ventura County."
OCEANSIDE: Fellow director's credentials questioned in Sterling case
BY PAUL SISSON
August 18, 2011
A question over a colleague's credentials is the latest wrinkle to surface in the legal battle surrounding Tri-City Healthcare District director Kathleen Sterling.
Sterling's attorney, public defender Sherry Stone, is asking the court to force hospital director George Coulter to produce a diploma showing he has earned a doctorate in clinical psychology. A judge is set to rule on that request Aug. 26.
Court records indicate that Coulter testified May 27, during a deposition in a separate case involving Sterling, that he "had a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Gold Coast University in Orange County."
Stone says in court documents that Gold Coast does not exist in Orange County or Ventura County.
According to a transcript from a court hearing June 30, Stone's request for the diploma calls into question Coulter's credibility.
"We've found no evidence that he does possess that degree," Stone said at the hearing.
"He's stated in depositions, as well as at the preliminary hearing, that he had obtained it at two different universities, neither of which exists," she added. "So he's given conflicting testimony. His credibility is at issue."
Coulter did not respond to telephone messages seeking comment. A rebuttal filed by his attorney, Robert Ottilie, called Stone's subpoena "an abuse of process" and said whether Coulter can locate his diploma is not relevant to the case.
[Maura Larkins comment to Bob Ottilie: How about asking him to at least locate the university? That's a lot bigger than a diploma and should be much easier to find--if it exists.]
Sterling faces a misdemeanor charge of undue influence stemming from her decision to vote against sanctions against her approved by the Tri-City hospital board July 12, 2010.
It was at that meeting that the hospital board voted to forward information to the San Diego County Grand Jury regarding a now-controversial dinner meeting at a local steakhouse.
Prosecutors later brought two criminal charges against Sterling. On June 1, Superior Court Judge K. Michael Kirkman dismissed the most serious charge ---- felony vote-trading charge ---- but allowed a misdemeanor charge of undue influence to remain.
Stone had filed a motion to dismiss the remaining misdemeanor charge on grounds that the board's sanctions against Sterling, which eventually spawned the criminal investigations and charges, violated the hospital director's due process rights.
A hearing on Stone's motion to dismiss is set for Sept. 16.