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


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MosesTheChaste

The time for sobriety has long since passed. What should have been a protracted, expensive and shameful farce eventually giving way to a very public birthing of the gangrenous soul the Adams duo has quickly tunneled well below the granite level, beyond the magma, and into another realm. Just above these words, and just below the putrid maw of Frau Adams lay all the evidence needed for a respite as a guest of the State of California. Frau Adams has used the child of Lee Chamberlain as a sword against him by disclosing sensitive information in an attempt to silence him. The information disclosed is not public. Its disclosure involved the collusion of multiple animals drawing checks from tax payers. Thus, the very system that is to serve as the shield has offered up the sword with which to strike Mr. Chamberlain. Frau Adams is only too happy to grab this innocent child by the ears and run her across the cheese grater that is herself. Such predation is held in the most vile of contempt by every society and, no doubt, by every decent member of this community. Surely truthiness142 is fighting the reflex to inquire as to what evidence I have, as she has done throughout this embarrassing ordeal. This evidence has been proudly provided by Julie Adams herself. If you have not done so already, please take a moment to page up and read it for yourself before moving on.


I should think a public apology to be extremely unsatisfactory. To the gallows for offenders one and all. As for expense, the quiet hum of the billing meter can already be heard in the bowels of a large San Francisco law firm. Gum shoes are afoot on our streets for at least a week. To whatever level of hell the Adams have sunk Cambria remains to be seen. If not prior to now, the Adams will have fallen into disfavor with every decent citizen unfortunate enough to learn of this horror.


One of innumerable questions to be answered is whether this perversion is sanctioned by the school board who has so staunchly defended Herr Adams in the past. Without an immediate and forceful condemnation of the Adams’ by the board we can be assured of their complicity. A board that has saw it fit to shoulder the children of this community with the legal bills of Herr Adams.


I implore the Adams’ to make haste with the only possible decent course of action, to hold hands and fling themselves off of the highest, most jagged cliff they can find. Self immolation is an acceptable alternative. For anyone doubting the importance that they enjoin such a fate please re-read the above and take note that per Frau Adams Mr. Chamberlain assaulted the structure and effectiveness of an institution and her response was lay slay the lamb that is his child.


Ask you what provocation I have had?

The strong antipathy of good to bad.

When truth or virtue an affront endures,

The affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours.


truthiness142

Your pompousness is only exceeded by your negative prose. I am not sorry to say this is my last romp through the asylum. I pronounce the inmates here truly incurable. You are all doomed to the world of your making. You can all sit around making up fanciful yarns of conspiracies and ways to torture your fellow man then pat each other on the back on how rotten you really are without my intervention. I am going to give my kids an extra dose of love to help counter your kind of evil and hope that it will help protect them from your sickness.


HansenBros

Dude, seriously… I’m trying to get my head around this one and I haven’t even had a beer yet… coming to the defense of a child is pompous??? My dictionary must be out of date. And “fanciful yarns”… I’m still rubbing my eyes but continue to see where you took that child and used for ill purposes. DUDE, it’s right there. You wrote it. Damn, a few beers might help things make sense


HansenBros

It is in fact the Adams’ that began the personal attacks. This is their total MO. I know exactly what MosesTheChaste is talking about. He hinted as to certain facts have turned out to be completely true. I never would have thought I’d give props to a British poof, but this guy knows a lot more than what he says. I mean what is he, some kind of geezer 007 or something? TRUST ME, this is going to be shock and AWESOME before its all over! Pedro Adams NEEDS a scapegoat for disgusting professional conduct.


truthiness142

I remember some one said bus stop and someone else heard bulls*** and that’s how it started. Let me know when you get some facts to back up your rant.


CambriaKing

And by the way…those “Jude and Steve” guys are really bad guys…


CambriaKing

I would not believe this story if I did not live here and witness it with my own two eyes. It is time for him to go and he can take the Board of Education with him…


MosesTheChaste

Motoring from Burnham on Crouch to Gatwick was an experience in traversing the chasm between the coddled warmth of Edwardian bliss to the ashen landscape of Post Modern decay. The departure from Apples most advanced technological contrivances, that only serve to pummel the crania with horrors from the world at large, was far too short, by at least two decades. Punctuating the demolition of my holiday idyll was the crude missive penned by Julie Adams (d/b/a Pedro Garcia). And by crude I narrowly refer to the field craft transgression. Offensive to the Hispanic community, no doubt. But the energy spent shouldering the racial overtones (well cemented in the Adams’ legacy), is to give more credence than is deserved. And the irony of Munoz’s opinions is quickly dissolved with a sprinkling of barrister jokes. If there is an element of cowardice it occupies far less volume than the effort to subjugate the Cambria gestalt. It is nothing more than PR schlock, unfortunately reminiscent of my public school salad days. From a technical perspective it is a wretched blunder. Firstly on the part of Frau Adams by failing to pervert the fax header, followed by the journalistic gaffe of not noticing it.

But to what end? The healthy income stream enjoyed by generations of Adams’ is not under threat. Given the volume of scandal in the Adams past, the current upheaval amounts to passing wind in a North Sea gale. I again refer the lunch form: per Truthiness142, “Somehow” getting into the hands of… Jude and Steve??? My God, when your premise is conjecture and you march on to conclusions by further conjecture… Let’s stop the conjecture. The form was delivered, unwittingly, to yet another party whose custody of it predates Jude and Steve. Absolutely nothing illegal about it. However, the mechanism by which it departed the offices of officialdom and passed via the US Postal Service to innocent hands is where the truly juicy bits reside.

Given the expenditures of the Cambria school system Mr. Adams salary is a wonderful distraction from the land of fruit and honey. $5,000 per month on legal fees? Paltry. Take a look at the expenditures, not the budget. The well-being of the golden goose is what is under siege.

And that damn lunch and its unfortunate outing. How sublime. Someone with far superior field craft deserves a wink or a nod. Mr. Adams knows all too well the mutability of fortune and favor.


involved in cambria

Just wondering… Why is it that whenever there has been issues with Chris Adams and we go to board meetings to express our concerns time after time, Chris never has supporters there? I have heard some people say that they “have his back” but I yet to see

these people at these meetings. Humm…


justhavetosay

Overall, I think all of this vicious exchange is, well, pretty sad. It’s like one huge venting session, and I don’t know how that ultimately is supposed to benefit our children. Think of the STRESS, misconceptions and hate going round for multiple helpings? No one committed murder here…everyone needs to relax and quit trying to scratch each others’ eyes out. Honestly, I am not sitting firmly on either side of this issue simply because there is more emotion presented than facts. I don’t think Chris or Julie Adams did anything truly malicious. Yes, I think contracting work to your wife and father are poor decisions, as they invite scrutiny and question motives, but what happened here is not grossly wrong. Honestly, I think what is upsetting everyone is the defensive/arrogant attitude on the Adams part….but, who can blame them when they are being strongly attacked. On behalf of the children, so far, my children are having a great school year (because they have outstanding teachers). They have not once come home complaining about the Chris or Julie Adams. For all of those posing serious issue with this: have your children been negatively affected? Or you?) As parents we want the comfort of knowing those in charge are of the highest character, but we cannot guarantee or control everything out there. To all those in full on attack mode: think carefully about any harm you may doing. Let’s all try to keep a healthy perspective with all of this.


truthiness142

Thank you for the perspective.


BillyBob

I received a copy of a page from Mr. Adams PowerPoint presentation. I have not verified the actual amounts that Mr. Adams is quoting but assume that he is being forthright. It is a graph showing the Superintendents Salary and Benefits year by year. Let me summarize the data:


2008-09: $146,247 (Mr. Adams 1st year)

2009-10: $182,109

2010-11: $183,160

2011-12: $193,024


Hmm… a $46,777 increase in under 4 years… not bad!


That’s a 32% increase… so 3 raises, that averages to over 10% a year raise…


And our district has had unparallelled budget cuts during this time… deficit spending… etc.


But don’t put all the blame on Mr. Adams, The Coast Unified School District approved and gave him all these very generous raises.


shocked

But the Superintendent said he turned down a raise and then took a 5% raise. I do not understand.


truthiness142

Thank you for your well informed adult input. I have to agree, it does sound like a lot of money for a small district. Do you know how this pay scale relates to other districts?


BillyBob

The Adams want to make it seem that any criticism people make on the decisions that Superintendent Adams is making is somehow a PERSONAL attack on him and his family. If people are attacking his religion, political beliefs, or family members, than that is a personal attack and is uncalled for and unwarranted. But what the community of Cambria is concerned about are the PROFESSIONAL decisions Superintendent Adams is making with our tax dollars, (over $10 million a year) and more importantly our children’s future. We are a democracy, a country founded by great men that questioned the government. I say it is our patriotic duty to keep an eye on our elected officials, their decisions, and how they are spending our hard earned tax dollars.


One problem is that this is Mr. Adams first Superintendent job and his inexperience is really showing. Having the community question the spending of our tax dollars comes with the job. I expect my Superintendent to respond and defend his decisions to the community, not start attacking their character and intentions. But communication has not been Mr. Adams strong point. If you look back over his 3+ years in the district, his poor communication with his staff, teachers, parents, and the community has consistently come up.


Speak with Coast Unified teachers and you will also find that Mr. Adams lacks almost any support among the teachers. Teachers are afraid to speak up because there is no trust with Mr. Adams. They watched him chase Grammar School Principal Carol Stoner away, all with the school board’s approval.


It’s not that Mr. Adams hasn’t done some very good things for our district. The problem is that Mr. Adams (and his wife) need to be able to handle the criticisms and questions of the decisions he makes.


The average term for a superintendent is about 5 years. This is Mr. Adams 4th year here. It obvious to all that Mr. Adams is no longer leading this district. It’s time for Mr. Adams to move on and start cleaning up the mess he sure to leave us.


shocked

Okay – I am up to speed now. To summarize…


Julie Adams filled out a form that she had no business filling it out. A whistleblower employee turns it in to the county and the board has to investigate the Superintendent for fraud. The public says he is gaming the system because no one is that stupid (and the foods sucks). They clear Adams because technically he did not do anything wrong when he filled it out. Hmmm? I still do not understand why his staff put him on the list.


Some hispanic parent lights the wife’s fuse and she writes an email that reads like she missed the last stop to crazy town. She explains how hard it is to be overpaid and deal with all the demanding parents then attacks the demanding parents. That little clue makes me think it was Pedro Garcia in the library with a candlestick.


Nowhere however in this crazy ass Peyton Place story is anything said about his religion, political beliefs, or family members? This is the spin machine from Adams or truthiness (I think they are the same).


When people are guilty they always resort to “I am the victim” in the end. It is just ugly.


truthiness142

FYI, the form is sent home to all parents to fill out. It is the parents option to fill it out or not. There is nothing fraudulent about filling the form out. It wasn’t to get a free lunch it was to provide information. The information is collected then used for statistical purposes that could benefit the school. The problem is this “whistleblower” aka law breaker didn’t read the form correctly and passed it on as evidence of wrong doing. How it got into Steve’s and Jude’s hands is interesting. What is important is they aided and abetted a criminal activity. They also didn’t have the brains to read the form and passed it on. The form in no way incriminated Adams and it seems that no matter how many times this is presented, many of you cannot deal with the facts concerning the issue. You want so much for Adams to be guilty of something you will stop at nothing to fulfill your mission.

Let’s hold judgement until the facts are know about Pedro. I was under the impression that someone was innocent until proven guilty. If the Newspaper had of followed their policy, this would not be an issue. I will not defend Adams if he indeed wrote the fax, but until it has been proven he did, I will hold judgement.

Calling me a spin machine as well is Chris Adams himself is very funny. This is a great example of how you deal with someone who doesn’t agree with your false accusations.


slo_ride

This lunch business is old news. The board paid good money to clear his name. If there was wrongdoing by the whistleblower they would have done something by now.


Adams is in trouble now for the fake editorial from Pedro Gomez and his wife just sounds like a crazy person.


Personally, I think someone should be looking into the Cambrian. Who is in charge over there?


truthiness142

Your response lacks factual information. They are looking for the whistle blower and if the person is found will suffer consequences. Why Steve and Jude are getting a pass and actually praised by your group says volumes about what you are all about. Why don’t they say where they got the document?


cmbrian

The following is from Bert Etling editor of the Cambrian


We have more questions than answers about a letter to the editor we printed Dec. 15. The letter “Misleading Viewpoint” by Pedro Garcia said Lee Chamberlain’s “Good fences make bad neighborhoods” Viewpoint of Dec. 8 was inaccurate.

Chamberlain’s Viewpoint said Coast Unified School District could do more for English language-learning students. Garcia’s response said the district already has the committees for which Chamberlain called, and that he had attended meetings of those committees. He added that he backed the efforts of district Superintendent Chris Adams and other district personnel “to meet our students’ and families’ needs.”

So far, so good. A vigorous debate between differing views advances knowledge.

Turns out, though, we can’t confirm who Pedro Garcia is, and accusations….

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/01/05/1894114/editors-notes-paging-pedro.html


(Staff Edit, It is CCN policy to not allow comments that contain an entire article from another publication. Because this is so relevant to the story we have trimmed the comment and added a link to the source material.

Thanks, CCN staff 12-6-2012)


HansenBros

Hey Pedro, didn’t you hear what Moses said, it got out legally b/c some moron mailed it. Where’s your scapegoat now? And how about getting rid of that insane lid. Its like you’re preparing for the mothership to land and hit you right in the head! HaHa, welcome to planet earth!


truthiness142

There have been many many personal attacks on the Adams. I think that is the problem it is hard to tell if someone is attacking personally or actually voicing a legit concern. It is your OPINION that he is acting with inexperience. The way the system work is that the MAJORITY elects the School Board and they hire the Superintendent. The Superintendent put in place policies and programs that are APPROVED by the Elected Board. The board meetings are a way for the public to have input. The problem is this pubic forum has been abused by a few that have questionable motives. A lot of staff time and lawyer fees have been taken up by chasing these false accusations. In the meantime more are presented and more time and resources are wasted. I personally want this time and energy to be put to good use.

I disagree that Mr Adams has no teacher support. On the contrary I think he enjoys much better relations than any of his predecessors. I will agree there are a few disgruntled teachers, mainly at the Grammar School. This was where a lot of the misinformation about Adams and the district got started. He did not chase Carol away, she chose a position that is less controversial. The inside story is that she was given policy instructions by her boss (Adams) to take back to the Grammar School and implement them. She was then so intimidated by the disgruntled teachers she elected to take a position elsewhere.


cindysass

This would be humorous if it weren’t so offensive! I think I’ll send this to Carol Stoner and she what she has to say!


You extoll the virtues of truth, yet you post misleading “facts” … you claim the Adams are being personally attacked, yet you personally attack me on this board… most importantly you hide behind a fake username and claim to have the “inside story”… THIS ALL LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE A VESTED INTEREST HERE… AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TRUTH, HONESTY OR THE CHILDREN OF THIS COMMUNITY!


truthiness142

My vested interest is in fact in the interest of the children. How is what you gossip about and posts on your facebook not a personal attack on the Adams. You are the one hiding. It’s not me causing the controversy, I am trying to provided a grounded, informed counter to all of the hyperbole. If you have such pristine interests in mind why are you so threatened by statements calling for facts and civility? I’m not buying you are the victim here. Back up what you say with facts. Pssst I think someone that has achieved a law degree knows a little more about the law than you. Do you have any credentials to be a critic on Julie’s training class? Do you even know what they are about? Have you talked to teachers that have attended? The ones I talked to said the training was amazing, powerful and useful. This is the kind of thing that can be good for the district. I wouldn’t expect for you to reverse your position but can you just tone it down for the many folks that are benefiting from what is really going on?


cindysass

My username is Cindysass, my real name is Cindy Sassaman…

Your username is truthiness142, your real name is???

Who’s hiding behind their accusations? Julie, is that you?


truthiness142

I guessed as much who you are.

First I am Chris now I am Julie. I think I am having an identity crises.

Please refute any of what I have stated with facts. Has any of the accusation Lee has brought forth come to anything other than a waste of everyone’s time? I will acknowledge factual truth when it is presented. I don’t believe everything that goes on at the district is perfect. There is room for improvement. What i ask is that you and your cronies stop with the drama and make a positive impact. Your excuse that Chris started sound like a 2 year old. Rise to the occasion and do the job you think you are doing but do it effectively. Your work over the years helping the students is duly noted and appreciated. Can you turn this bus around and get it going in a direction that is not damaging and destructive? Surely you don’t believe Del, Rob, Cindy and Diane are part of a greater conspiracy. As you well they are the ones that have the responsibilities for the policies at the district. Work with them, not against them. Much of what you have done has been very hurtful to them.

I am not going to reveal myself, I am having way too much fun being a pain in the neck.


involved in cambria

whoo! I’m back. I was out doing a little investigating that’s why I have not commented to Truthiness142. in a while.


It’s OK that you won’t reveal yourself, somehow I seem to connect with people in my life that are connected to real good resources and when need to they come in handy.


Truthiness142… your back, I thought we got rid of you. First, you are lying! You have been responding to all these comments making it seem like your are a concerned community member when in fact you don’t even live in this town anymore. So, why don’t you go to YOUR local news and start a comment blog on what is going on in YOUR town. Should I really reveal you? Though I don’t want to give out your personal info cause that will go against my word to my connection. I have proof. Wow!


While you were here, you went to maybe two board meetings in support of the Adams yet, you didn’t even stand UP to speak in their defence. Five years in this town and not EVER were you involved in anything until your last year of being here, you came out of your shell and volunteered… Whoo hoo. You and the Adams don’t have roots here and that’s why people like you two (families) don’t survive here. Destructive people don’t survive!


I am glad to see that this is FUN to you, we DON’T! Our children, teachers, our rights and our tax dollars is what we are defending here, from people like you and the Adams.


So, go away before the pain in the neck becomes YOUR MIGRAINE.


truthiness142

I have been in this town for going on 3 decades. I have done more volunteering than any of you and continue to do so. I work within the system to help and provide support for those who are creating positive experiences for our children. I beg of you to find a positive outlet for your energies. Threatening me is a joke. What are you going to do fabricate some stories about me now. You posting is self incriminating.