...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 made.
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
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 claims.
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...