Los Angeles News

LAUSD harassment settlement could unravel

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A sexual harassment settlement between an LAUSD employee and former Superintendent Ramon Cortines could soon unravel. The accuser says he was nowhere near finalizing a deal with the district.

Director of leasing and facilities Scot Graham filed the claim earlier this year in connection with an encounter he says he had with Cortines two years ago.

Graham alleged that Cortines, 79, made unwanted advances at him during a July 2010 encounter at a Kern County ranch owned by Cortines. Cortines maintains the encounter was consensual.

The LAUSD announced last week that it had reached a $200,000 settlement that included lifetime health benefits for the employee of 12 years.

Graham's attorney Arnold Peter said the district violated its own policy by naming Graham, adding that Graham had never signed off on an agreement.

"While we accepted the district's offer, which essentially consisted of the monetary aspects of the settlement, we had no agreement on a number of other key points," Peter said. "My client has been traumatized by having his name and the allegations made public."

Peter said the district simply jumped the gun.

"They wanted to get out in front of the story, and they wanted to control whatever publicity would be generated," Peter said.

But Linda Hurevitz, an attorney representing the district, disputed Peter's claims.

"We did not feel it was a mistake. We understood we had an agreement on the settlement terms that had been communicated, and we're really looking to be very open about it, and thought it was appropriate to make the announcement," Hurevitz said.

Under the terms of the settlement, Graham was supposed to resign his position by Thursday, but since the settlement was not finalized, Graham said he considers himself an employee. However, he says he was denied access to LAUSD headquarters, and even made a video of being turned away by security.

Peter said they are reviewing their options, which includes filing a lawsuit against the district.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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lausd, school, los angeles news, robert holguin
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