LAUSD OVERPAYMENT DEBACLE--One would think the Los Angeles Unified School District would want to keep a low profile regarding illegal acts that might draw media attention, but apparently corruption is addictive. As one former drug dealer admitted, “The only thing more addictive than taking drugs is selling them.” Plus, LAUSD has the added hubris of having LA County “judges” on their side providing the District with the comfort of being able to do as it will.
Hence, employees have a right to rely on the accuracy of their employer’s payroll system and to correct problems quickly. The Payroll Debacle that is the LAUSD’s over eleven-year drama resulted in the violation of three Union-LAUSD Contracts and California laws; thus, the judicial system failed and is failing to provide District former employees with due process or rule of law. As such, the conduct of LA County judges and opposing counsel only exacerbated this acknowledged payroll disaster. The District initially blamed its contractor, Deloitte Consulting, LLP, for this imbroglio. Without explanation, the contractor is free of the dispute and the victims -- the employees -- are made to pay. Wherefore, employees are not liable for LAUSD’s software contracting failure and later embarrassment in proving that somehow, they were unable to fix the system.
The underlying facts are well known and should not have to be rehashed again. They go back to the 2010 Grand Jury Report, “ITG indicated on a scale of one to ten, with one being no exposure and ten being a disaster, LAUSD currently at eight on the scale of exposure [BC420518].” As the late Attorney Chrystal L. Bobbitt said in her 2012 Motion for Summary Judgment: “The fact that there are so many errors that require so much explanation some of which are incomplete and inaccurate, leaves reasonable doubt as to the validity of LAUSD’s claims of overpayment.”….“It is fundamentally unfair to impose liability against a party that is not at fault in causing the injury (Chaparkass v. Webb, (1960) 178 Cal.App.2d, 257, 260. [citations]).”
As such, LAUSD’s giant malfunctioning payroll system ONLY “overpays” former employees over 99% of the time (never using one’s original payroll documents). This is mathematically impossible! ALL DEFENDANTS WERE TARGETED, BECAUSE THEY LEFT THE DISTRICT. Former employees cannot file union payroll grievances.
From 2009-2013, LAUSD payroll debacle lawsuits were Unlimited cases (or small claims) where LAUSD claimed "overpayments" over $25,000 (to i.e., $90,000). Since 2014, however, as if by magic, LAUSD's payroll system only "overpays" below $25,000 (mathematically impossible too, but easier to get former employees to pay). From, 2009-2014, LAUSD claimed “overpayment mistakes” due to system error. Yet, it apparently became too much even for LAUSD to continue claiming the latter. So, from 2014 to present, LAUSD claims “Breach of Contract.” This should have worked completely against them.
Which Contract? What about sued consultants with NO Contract? Contract disputes are Administrative Law and are heard before CA PERB Board judges. So, LAUSD sues in hundreds of cases without the actual union contract(s) or the union(s) present during litigation, as LAUSD fraudulently hyper-simplifies the way “teachers” are paid and inflates ORALLY (only) actual contractual hours worked which the most complained about “judge,” Elizabeth R. Feffer, reportedly believed. (BC632878)
Currently, LAUSD is allegedly using the age-old strategy of “divide and conquer” in their 90 or so 2016-2018 “Limited” lawsuits, in which there is only one defendant per case (further burdening the already overburdened court system). In other words, the newest Limited cases have just one defendant each so a defendant will not communicate with similarly situated co-defendant(s) or defense attorney(s). And, ignoring wrong jurisdiction for a moment, wasn’t LAUSD required to file a "Notice of Relation to Notify Judge" (i.e., same issue, same party, same laws) in ALL their cases since 2009?
Even more mathematically impossible, in 2016-2018, LAUSD sued chronologically, but almost perfectly alphabetically in their small claim lawsuits, which again shows continued fraudulent targeting of former employees.
Defense Attorney Thomas M. Lee, LAM16k07779, recently filed a Motion to Exclude: LAUSD Refused to Timely Deliver the Mandate Copy Account (Demand for Bill of Particulars). Of course, LAUSD didn't respond, because THERE WAS NO #$&**** "OVERPAYMENT"! -- confirming the aforementioned yet repeatedly ignored 2010 Civil Grand Jury Report.
As a current defense attorney, a Yale law grad, incisively stated in 2017, “I know all those arguments and some others they do not deal with such as sending tax forms requiring the payees to pay taxes on the money, which LAUSD now wants refunded at 100%. Recovery under the legal doctrine of ‘Mistake’ requires ‘no prejudice’ which the tax situation creates. They did not send amended W-2’s to anyone.”
So, after defendant(s)’ W-2 tax form amendment demands to LAUSD started to go out, LAUSD suspiciously dropped numerous cases (including post-trial?). Thus, it appears LAUSD stopped filing new lawsuits against ALL employees as of 2018 regarding “overpayments” (but with trials still pending into 2020).
Has LAUSD recently spent millions to finally fix their payroll system and insure ALL employees “finish their contract?” This too is further testament that LAUSD, from beginning to end, allegedly perpetrated the largest and longest frivolous, wrong jurisdiction, lawsuit(s) [and allegedly the largest government payroll department fraud] in U.S. History.
Three paradigms were presented: a) The late Attorney Crystal L. Bobbitt’s 2013 MSJ, b) my Appellate Briefs plus Attorney Wideman’s pre and post Trial Motions, and c) Attorney Ronald Lapekas’ Motions.
However, LA County “judges” may have set a record in either ignoring or dismissing the latter case laws, civil codes and union contracts regarding a single issue, LAUSD “overpayment:” R. Heeseman, **M. Strobel (**regarding over 800 defendants), C. Edward Simpson, M. Marmaro, E. Moreton, K. Machida, E. Lu, E. Feffer, W. Chang, J. Takasugi and Appellate P.J. Rothchild, J. Chaney, & J. Johnson.
In LAUSD’s money-losing lawsuits (most defendants default), the only parties to benefit are process servers throughout the USA including Hawaii, former payroll supervisor, non-college grad, “expert witness” Natasha Cunningham with her nondescript job with the District’s Legal Dept., and LAUSD attorneys (who offered to put together joint trial exhibits but were allowed to give them to me on the day of trial by Strobel where they shorted me two key pieces of evidence, weeks after known Stage III cancer radiation treatments.) Also, LAUSD attorneys raised “overpayments” even higher on 30% of the Defendants (most common rates of increase were 31-35%. Lowest were 0-1%. Highest was 71%; BC420518/B262506), including mine where LAUSD changed the amount I “owed” eight different times. LAUSD was apparently “Robbing Peter to pay Paul,” as well as creating an environmental disaster for naught.
Finally, a blog comment responding to LAUSD’s iPad fiasco says much about local government apathy to LAUSD corruption: “I've worked for this horrible district for 2 decades. I've talked with teachers who worked here before I was born. Corruption has always been here, and the city leaders allow it since they usually get a cut of the profits and/or are buddies with the slime balls in charge. Deasy was put into office by our slimebag former mayor and his phony reformers. The District Attorney is always claim[ing] he will get to the bottom of it and then quietly drops the investigation claiming no crime was committed.” See “The LA School System's $1.3 Billion iPad Fiasco Comes to a Sad End.”
LAUSD never uses one’s original paystubs or W-2 tax forms for the year or years in question. Rather, LAUSD uses secondary non-contractual paystubs dubbed, “Employee Statement of Earnings” and secondary hearsay non-business records, non-contractual, extraterrestrial/non-Gregorian secondary “payroll records” dubbed “Fiscal-Year Salary Review” docs which LA County “judges” also believe. Civil Litigation-Private Comment #CA3654.
Judge Strobel is biased toward financial institutions. She will rule in their favor, even if it has been proven beyond all doubt that the financial institution is liable. She may fear she will not be re-elected if she rules against the “amicus curiae” but she is not being a judge – only a puppet. She ruins lives because she is afraid of losing her job and retirement. She is married to a lawyer and she is too political to be a judge. Criminal Defense Lawyer Comment #CA4167
To answer comment #CA3654: most judges are politically appointed. They are told how to rule from higher up. There is no justice in these courthouses. You may be a very bright lawyer, but it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
John W. Adams, of LAJudgeGate.com, authored prior CityWatch articles on July 12, 2018, LAUSD’s Malfunctioning Payroll Debacle: Still Targeting Former Teachers with Bogus Lawsuits and on October 18, 2018, How LAUSD Lost Over a Half Billion Dollars of Taxpayer’s Money … without Being Reported.
(John W. Adams is a retired teacher who lives in Ventura County. He worked for LAUSD from 1996 to 2009 teaching History and spent six and a half years in litigation with LAUSD for return of payroll he claims he never owed, but which LAUSD inexplicably won. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.)