By Robert Haugh
Some interesting info is popping on FPPC 460 Forms. That’s what campaigns have to file to disclose publicly what they’ve raised and spent.
Disgraced former Councilman Dominic Caserta has paid the Mlnarik Law Group a total of $40,000 from his failed Supervisorial campaign, including $25,000 for the May 20 through June 30 period.
Caserta previously paid the local law firm owned by Santa Clara Rotary President John Mlnarik $15,000 from the campaign. That had to be for helping Caserta write a one-page press release to announce his resignation on May 15 after allegations of sexual abuse and assault came out against Caserta.
So we’re not sure what legal expenses Caserta may have had from May 20 through June 30, since he dropped out the Supervisor race and left the City Council on May 15.
We’ve heard rumors that he’s planning on suing Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) because they accidentally released part of his personnel record.
In his resignation statement, Caserta points the finger at SCUSD for accidentally emailing portions of his file to 1,600 school employees in early May. One of them then sent info to SanJoseInside.com.
Here’s what Caserta wrote on May 15:
“When my personnel file was illegally released by the Santa Clara Unified School District [May 7], irreparable harm occurred to me and my family,” he said. “Shortly after, the file was sent to the media by a district employee and a social media circus ensued with just four weeks before the primary election Political adversaries are motivated to discredit my candidacy, bury me professionally and personally. I will not let that happen.”
So we asked SCUSD Assistant Superintendent Andrew Lucia if Caserta had filed a lawsuit. Here’s his answer from Friday, August 3, around 10 a.m.:
“As of today, the district has not been informed that Mr Caserta has filed a lawsuit against the district. Nor has the district been served papers indicating that he has filed a lawsuit.”
Some attorneys we’ve talked to think that SCUSD won’t have much a problem with a lawsuit since the info was released accidentally by an employee and Caserta is really the one who destroyed his own career. But other attorneys think that Caserta will be able to scare the district into paying him something for their mistake, maybe a big amount.
Caserta has a lot of campaign funds still in his account to pay Mlnarik if he’s thinking about a lawsuit. As of June 30, he had about $170,000 in unspent campaign cash. Wow. That’ll pay for a lot of billable hours.