By Robert Haugh
Disgraced former City Councilman Dominic Caserta hasn’t been in a classroom since May 2018. But the Santa Clara Unified School District is still paying him.
Caserta has been on paid administrative leave since multiple allegations about sexual harassment and abuse came out last year.
According to SCUSD staff, Caserta gets approximately $12,000 a month. Here’s his salary plus benefits:
$127,597 (Annual Salary)
$2,257 (Masters Degree)
But Caserta wants more … a whole lot more. According to our sources, Caserta wants $38 million because SCUSD accidentally released his personnel info. Yup. No typo. No joke. Local leaders think Caserta is just posturing to milk SCUSD for as much as he can, even if it’s not millions.
In addition to Caserta, SCUSD is also paying lawyers.
Attorney Patricia Elliot was hired a year ago by SCUSD to investigate Caserta. According to SCUSD Assistant Superintendent Andrew Lucia other lawyers are working on the settlement:
“Mark Davis, who is the designated attorney by the liability joint powers agency, and Richard Noack, of Hopkins & Carley, legal counsel for the District.”
Caserta is represented by Bill Winter of the Mlnarik Law Group. Winter had to step in for John Mlnarik because he was suspended for illegally forging clients’ signatures on credit cards.
We’ve been hearing in the community for a while that the SCUSD Board is split on what to do about Caserta’s demands. Some may want to give in to him. So we asked them directly.
SCUSD Board President Michelle Ryan responded with this email:
“As a Board, we have agreed that the Board President will speak for the Board. I can’t comment, nor can any other board member comment, on any closed session discussion items, even if the board member is simply speaking for themselves. As Mr. Caserta has threatened litigation against the District, I also cannot comment on any aspect of his employment or his complaint against the District, nor should any other board member.”
But Ryan and other board members could comment on their past political support for Caserta.
Here are their answers:
Ryan: “I can say that I never endorsed him in any of his political races.”
Jodi Muirhead: “As you can see on Susan Ellenberg’s website, I endorsed her for Supervisor and I did from the start.”
Vickie Fairchild: “I have not endorsed Caserta for any of his campaigns.”
Albert Gonzalez: “I did endorse him in August of 2016 and un-endorsed him when the allegations surfaced.”
Andy Ratermann: “I did not endorse anyone for County Supervisor.”
Mark Richardson: “I did not endorse Dominic Caserta.“
Jim Canova: “With respect to Caserta endorsements I went back through my emails to verify & here is what I found …
We’ll update this story if other Board members respond.
We’ll write when there’s a decision about the settlement. The vote will be made in closed session. But it’ll be reported in open session. We’ve offered Board members the opportunity to write and explain their vote, too.
Editor’s Note: We added SCUSD Board member Jim Canova’s response about his past support of Dominic Caserta on April 24, 2019 at 8:35 p.m.