The Star-News

D.A. probes Sweetwater officials

Sat, Dec 24 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité

The homes of sitting Sweetwater Union High School District board members were raided by investigators from the District Attorney’s Office Tuesday morning.
Current board president Pearl Quinones and board member Arlie Ricasa were among the first of several current and former officials to have their homes searched by law enforcement.
Investigators told media that no arrests had been made.
“All I can tell you is that I can’t comment on a pending investigation,” District Attorney spokesman Steve Walker said.
Over the summer Fran Brinkman and other community activists spent months gathering complaints about board members to send to the District Attorney’s Office.
Brinkman said Tuesday that she hopes people remember this event when it’s time to vote.
The Union-Tribune reported that the homes of district board member Bertha Lopez and former board member Greg Sandoval also were searched; also the homes of former Southwestern College vice president Nicholas Alioto, former senior vice president for Seville Construction Henry Amigable and former director of business services at Southwestern College John Wilson were subject to search warrants.
Newly appointed superintendent Ed Brand said that he had no idea that the raids were going to occur.
“I’ve talked to the DA on a variety of issues over the last few months and they never said anything,” he said.
Currently the district is on winter break and will resume Jan. 10.
“While we’re in this off period we’re going to let them (the District Attorney’s office) do their job,” Brand said. “Everyone’s innocent until proven guilty.”
Brand said that he heard about the raids while at an airport in the Bay Area visiting his daughter.
“I got a call from an attorney Dan Shinoff — he represents the district on a variety of issues,” he said. “I was very shocked and at the same time my first thought was to make sure the district and organization was protected.”
Brand said in the meantime the district would continue to focus on the “task at hand” which is serving the students.
Ricasa, Lopez and Quinones did not return calls seeking comment.

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