Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Even the San Diego Union-Tribune can't get SDCOE to spill its secrets about Stutz law firm

I was successful a few years ago in getting some invoices from San Diego County Office of Education. I obtained records of payments to Dan Shinoff and Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz law firm, but there were some strange gaps in the record. Perhaps the San Diego Union Tribune will succeed in obtaining the missing 17 months worth of invoices that SDCOE wouldn't give to me in 2008.

Education office won't release records until October

By Jeff McDonald
August 17, 2010

The San Diego County Office of Education says it will need nearly two months to disclose how much it spends on lawyers.

The schools office, which represents dozens of districts and manages pensions for thousands of teachers and administrators, said in a letter to The Watchdog received Tuesday that it would not be able to comply with a California Public Records Act request until October.

“We will contact you as soon as the records are available for your inspection and/or purchase of a copy,” states the correspondence, signed by Pam Gilles, the senior director of internal business services.

Over the five years ending in 2008, the county schools office spent more than $7 million on outside legal services, much of it to a single law firm, Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz.

The schools office continues to litigate at least two high-profile cases, one involving a long-running dispute with former brokers with the office’s deferred-compensation plan and the other with a former employee alleging wrongful termination.

On Aug. 4, The Watchdog requested records reflecting the past five years’ worth of legal fees paid by the office. But according to Gilles, those documents “will be available on or about Oct. 1, 2010.”

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