SMMUSD board member Craig Foster called for the retirement of fellow board member Maria Leon-Vasquez during a review of findings concerning a conflict of interest case.
“I hope that our friends at the FPPC and at the DA take interest in this matter,” Foster said, referring to the California Fair Political Practices Commission and District Attorney. “With the pattern of facts presented, I suggest to Maria that this would be a good time to retire. This will not sit comfortably and I don’t know where it goes from here.”
The case at hand suggests Leon-Vazquez cast votes for contracts with companies that employed her husband, Santa Monica councilman Tony Vasquez.
Howard Friedman performed the internal investigation. Providing a summary of investigation findings at the meeting, Friedman noted that, “Board members should announce and abstain from discussing, deliberating or taking action on items that would give the appearance of impropriety”, recommending that internal communication, issue spotting, and training be improved for staff and board members.
Although the internal investigation has no subpoena powers, FPPC or DOA can perform a more comprehensive investigation, especially with subpoena powers. It remains to be seen if the DA or FPPC will take action concerning the case.