The Star-News


Two more guilty

Fri, Apr 04 2014 04:41 PM Posted By: Robert Moreno

Two more defendants in a corruption scandal that has plagued the South Bay pleaded guilty today, three weeks before they were set to go to trial.
 
Former Sweetwater Union High School District Superintendant Jesus Gandara and former board member Gregorio Sandoval both pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy and a misdemeanor charge of not reporting gifts.
 
"Dr. Gandara did not fill out properly the forms he was required to fill out and he's accepted responsibility for that," said Gandara's attorney, Paul Pfingst. "And he accepted gifts over the  $420 limit that is permitted by law."
 
San Diego Superior Court Judge Ana Espana said both defendants face a maximum of three years in state prison, but she indicated that the two defendants  likely won't get more than a year of custody time.

Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr said he is satisfied with the outcome of the pleas.

"We are happy with the result but we still have more work to do," he said.

Pfingst said despite the guilty plea his client is pleased with what he accomplished during his time in the district.

"Dr. Gandara remains very proud of the success that the district had that he was able to help during the time that he was superintendent," Pfingst  said. "The scores in the district went up substantially while he was there."

When Gandara was first indicted by the District Attorney's office in 2012 he faced a number of charges that ranged from extortion to bribery.

Sandoval's attorney Ricardo Gonzalez could not be reached for comment.

The Sweetwater Union High School District said they had no comment regarding the ex officials because they are no longer part of the district.

A June 20 sentencing date is set for Sandoval while Gandara will be sentenced June 27.

The guilty pleas come weeks after former board member Pearl Quiñones' day in court when she pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor on March 18.

Fifteen people were originally indicted when the District Attorney opened up the case in 2012, now only three defendants remain.

Board members Jim Cartmill and Bertha Lopez; and President of Seville Construction Jeffrey Flores are the remaining defendants.


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