School chief’s wife defends contracts with district

December 23, 2011

Julie Adams

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Rancorous relations among factions in the Coast Unified School District (CUSD) fester after the wife of district Superintendent Chris Adams angrily and publicly derided “lies and accusations about our family that pervade our district and community and affect my daughters.”

Julie Adams made her comments in a blistering, 3,200-word email received late last week by CUSD parents and other Cambria-area residents. In it, she addressed allegations that Chris Adams has been funneling district funds to her and her father-in-law through contracts for electrical work and educational consulting.

She singled out people she believes to be responsible for “making time-consuming claims” about her and her husband at school board meetings. She said those people “are involved in PTA, Site Council, Boosters, etc….”

Also, the Adams were investigated recently by district-retained attorneys after the Adams’ children’s names showed up on a list of free lunch recipients. The form filled out by Julie Adams reported their combined monthly income to be more than $26,000, but the subsequent investigation revealed no purposeful wrongdoing.

The probe was conducted by attorney Roman Munoz of the Sacramento law firm Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard, which has represented the district since 2007.

In her tersely-worded email, Julie Adams wrote, “A small group of people who have nothing better to do on Thursday evenings, at least until karaoke starts, have made it their entertainment fodder to attend board meetings and make time-consuming claims and then perpetuate the falsities at school events or elsewhere.”

Julie Adams noted in the communication that she wrote and distributed the email without her husband’s prior knowledge or approval.

While turmoil between parents and school officials is hardly uncommon, the current atmosphere at CUSD — which one parent described as “fetid” —  may have been preordained from the start of her husband’s tenure as superintendent. Julie Adams wrote in her email, “When I moved to Cambria three years ago, many told me… to be careful in my dealings with a few people.”

Speakers at board meetings have complained that Julie Adams has been profiting from the school district through her educational consulting firm. Others pointed out that Larry’s Lighting, owned by Chris Adams’ father and located in Redding, has been receiving no-bid contract work from the CUSD since 2009.

Asked about these family-related deals, both Chris and Julie Adams referred CalCoastNews to attorney Munoz.

In response to Public Records Act requests spanning three months, Munoz eventually provided documentation showing that both Julie Adams and Larry Adams have received payments from the district.

According to those documents, Larry’s Lighting was paid $21,479.09 from 2009-2011. During the same period, payments to each of the other electrical companies previously used by the district either stopped or steadily declined after 2009.

Gary Gowdy’s company was one of those; contracts from the district for his electrical services totaled $10,787.28 during the same period but decreased to virtually zero once Larry’s Lighting made the CUSD payroll.

At one meeting in 2010, district trustees agreed they had no problem with the Adams-to-Adams arrangement, that Larry’s Lighting was “saving” them money, that his work was satisfactory, and that they did not perceive nepotism to be a factor in any way.

Julie Adams owns Adams Educational Consulting. In 2009, just months after her husband was hired as superintendent, a group called the California League of High Schools (CLHS) contracted with the CUSD to conduct a three-day “Content Area Literacy Boot Camp” and several other teachers’ seminars for $21,900.

Munoz said the services provided by Julie Adams to the district “on behalf of the California League of High Schools… are considered a ‘remote interest’ under California’s conflict of interest statute.” Therefore, he added, the district “is permitted to contract for services with… Julie Adams.”

Callers to the telephone number in Long Beach provided by CLHS are informed by recorded message that they have reached “Julie Adams with Adams Educational Consulting.”

Munoz said no additional district funds have been paid to Julie Adams or to groups associated with her or her consulting company since last year.

“Our office is informed that the district has not made payments to CLMS for consulting services since early 2010,” wrote Munoz in an email.

But despite her reluctance to talk to reporters about her district business, Julie Adams did discuss the issue… briefly… in her widely-distributed email.

“Another misconception I would like to address,” she wrote, “is that I am on the district’s payroll and that my firm, Adams Educational Consulting, has made over $100,000 in consulting fees over the past three years from Coast Unified. Not true. I have gladly donated over $40,000 to CUSD in teacher trainings, materials, instructional coaching, and curriculum development and taught a portion of summer school for free.”

Then there is the curious case of the letter to the editor that appeared in The Cambrian earlier this month, ostensibly from a man named “Pedro Garcia.”

At least, that is the name that appeared in the newspaper under a letter containing naked praise for the district’s superintendent, Chris Adams.

The letter, in part, read: “The Hispanic community respects and appreciates all that Superintendent Adams, the school board, the principals, counselors and teachers do to meet our students’ and families’ needs. Coast Unified does far more for our children than other districts our families have been a part of.”

Efforts by parents of school children in the CUSD to locate anyone in the area named “Pedro Garcia” bore no fruit. The typed and faxed letter was sent to the newspaper without an address or contact telephone number, but was published nonetheless.

The telephone number from which the fax originated was imprinted on the transmission copy: it’s a Redding number last assigned to Chris Adams.

The “Garcia letter” took to task a parent who has criticized district administration, Lee Chamberlain.

Coincidentally, Chamberlain’s name came up in the Julie Adams email, too, when she detailed what she called his “inaccuracies” in a recent newspaper opinion piece. In her email commentary, Julie Adams mentioned the very same program praised by “Pedro Garcia” in the letter to The Cambrian, ELAC/DELAC (which provides for second language parent advocacy meetings).

Document: Julie Adams  Subject: A Parent’s Perspective
JulieAdams Letter Sd


Loading...
sloweb

I think someone once said, “It is not the impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety that is important”.

More today than ever, with all of the instant media, public representatives must bend over backwards to keep things on the up and up.

OK, now say after me, “Alex, I would like to buy a clue”.


Ted Slanders

sloweb,


How much are you willing to pay for these “clues?”


1. The telephone number from which the fax originated was imprinted on the transmission copy: it’s a Redding number last assigned to Chris Adams.


2. Efforts by parents of school children in the CUSD to locate anyone in the area named “Pedro Garcia” bore no fruit. The typed and faxed letter was sent to the newspaper without an address or contact telephone number, but was published nonetheless.


3. In response to Public Records Act requests spanning three months, Munoz eventually provided documentation showing that both Julie Adams and Larry Adams have received payments from the district


The rest of the many “clues” are within the story. You may not have enough money to pay for them all!


sloweb

Ted, you missed it. I was referencing that these corrupt public figures need to get a clue that the public will find out about their indiscretions.


Ted Slanders

sloweb,


Uh, okay. Quite ambiguous, but so be it!


Ted Slanders

Dan Blackburn had such a great opportunity to call them “The Adam’s Family!” of which their actions are so similar to the T.V. icons! Yes, I know, journalist respect. *cough*


Amongst the myriad of seemingly nepotistic scenarios within this story, subjectively, these snippets stand out.


“In response to Public Records Act requests spanning three months, Munoz eventually provided documentation showing that both Julie Adams and Larry Adams have received payments from the district.”


Is this self-explanatory or what? Can we say “collusion?”


“But despite her reluctance to talk to reporters about her district business, Julie Adams did discuss the issue… briefly… in her widely-distributed email.”


The old controlled “one-sided” story again. One must ask why Julie Adams doesn’t want to talk to reporters relative to her family’s seemingly questionable actions.


“The telephone number from which the fax originated was imprinted on the transmission copy: it’s a Redding number last assigned to Chris Adams.”


How can anyone be this ignorant?! If you’re going to put a ruse over the Cambria School District, at least use a modicum of your brain cells for Christ’s sake! The Christian God gave us the use of logic, of which, I am sure He didn’t want us to bypass it’s use!


“Efforts by parents of school children in the CUSD to locate anyone in the area named “Pedro Garcia” bore no fruit. The typed and faxed letter was sent to the newspaper without an address or contact telephone number, but was published nonetheless.”


As Napoleon Dynamite’s movie stated, “VOTE FOR PEDRO!” That is, if you can find him within the Cambria school district! lol


Cindy

Pedro Garcia??


JackR

If she was warned about some people when they moved to Cambria, seems like you’d make sure you didn’t do anything that these people could come back at you with. Awarding jobs to family is just stupid. The fax just adds to the stupidity shown in all this.


Her trying to justify things using the “paying for supplies, volunteering time, etc.” is a slap in the face for every other teacher that does the same thing. Some(most?) teachers care about the kids more than they care about money and recognition.


But the reality is these days, teacher-bashing and administrator-bashing is at the top of some people’s agenda. And if you’re in a visible position, you’d better make sure you don’t do anything that could be viewed as taking advantage of your position.


pasoparent5

Chris Adams and/or his supporters wrote a fraudulent letter to the Cambrian, singing Chris’ praises. That pretty much sums it up. I think he’ll resign within a year. Kudos to CCN for reporting on this situation.


CambriaKing

The real player here is now Bill Morem. He was sitting in for Bert Etling and he made the call to print what appears to be a fraudulent letter. The integrity of the Cambrian and its parent paper, The Tribune, is being called into question. What are they doing to rectify what appears to be a manipulation of their policies. This week’s Cambrian didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t print a retraction or correction. Why is that….?

Because the biggest advertiser in the Cambrian is the same school board member who absolutly loves Adams and has endorsed all the crap that has been going on up here.

If it is true that the Adams wrote the fraudulent letter, he needs to resign. If his wife did it, he needs to resign. If the school board does nothing, they need to resign. All of them


rockhound1965

“The integrity of the Cambrian and its parent paper, The Tribune, is being called into question”…..now that is funny.


Dexter

Why does the Trib turns a blind eye or gloss over corrupt activities in the county?


Is it


A. Because they are inept.


B. Because they are poor judges of character.


C. Because it’s all about the advertising $$$$


or


D. All of the above


standup

Agree with you one this one. The Trib is bent over for many.


Vagabond

HA HA HA HA! Funniest post of the year award “The integrity of the Cambrian and its parent paper, The Tribune, is being called into question”

Oh,that is just too rich, thanks for the laugh.


mrcyberdoc

One would have to know that if the wife or father of a superintendent of schools had any financial dealings with the district they would come under scrutiny. To avoid all this it would have been easier for them to distance themselves from ANY dealings involving money or contracts. If their dealings were totally voluntary or gratis, with no money exchange, people wouldn’t have anything to talk about at the district meetings.


Structure

Definitely need more info to know whether anything underhanded went on, but it does show a lack of common sense. No-bid contracts with a family business? That’s bound to get people upset even if in reality the district is getting a better deal. Make it all public so the public understands they’re getting a deal.


What I really wonder about is why even small districts need so many highly paid full-time admins. Not the Adam’s fault there. Just a system that’s gone a little crazy.


Typoqueen

I’ll have to tune in to Benica’s show to hear more about this. But I’m still not jumping on the judgement bus.


Why do I feel like singing Harper Valley PTA? There’s always drama at the PTA.


1 2 3 6