Hubbard Heads to Pretrial Motions

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Pretrial motions are set to begin Tuesday for Newport-Mesa Unified School District Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard.

Hubbard, 54, is charged with three felony counts of misappropriating funds while working as superintendents of Beverly Hills Unified School District between 2003 and 2006.

Following the pretrial phase, Hubbard is expected to head to trial in Los Angeles Superior Court early next year.

After more than five months on paid leave to prepare for the trial, Hubbard has been back on duty for some time and there are no change in his status is being publicly considered by the Newport-Mesa trustees.

The Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers recently voted no confidence in Hubbard. Nearly 40 percent of NMFT members voted, with just over 91 percent of those stating they had no confidence in the superintendent.

It’s not an accurate reading, board President Walt Davenport said, since the majority of teachers didn’t vote.

Prosecutors allege that Hubbard gave Karen Ann Christiansen, 53, former facilities director at BHUSD, a $20,000 bonus and raised her car allowance from $150 a month to $500, both without board authorization. Both Hubbard and Christiansen have denied all charges.

On Oct. 11 the third charge was added, alleging Hubbard gave a pay raise to Beverly Hills co-worker Nora Roque, who now works for Hubbard at Newport-Mesa as director of classified personnel.

Christiansen was convicted Nov. 21 of four counts of felony conflict of interest with one enhancement for taking more than $1.3 million through a building contract she steered to herself. She is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 5 and faces up to eight years in prison.

The school board voted 6-1 in January to put Hubbard on a paid leave of absence while he focused on preparing for trial. Board member Katrina Foley was the dissenting vote. Hubbard requested the paid administrative leave himself.

The board didn’t specify a length for the leave, and Hubbard returned to work after more than five months on paid leave.

According to a district statement from earlier this year, there are no legal issues before the court that involve Hubbard as superintendent of Newport-Mesa school district.

 

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