SCUSD Continues to Pay Caserta $12,000 a Month, Considers Paying Him Millions in Settlement

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)

  • $13,754 (Benefits)

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.  

SCUSD Board

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 …

• I did endorse Caserta for Assembly in 2008. 
• I have no correspondence where he asked for my endorsement for city council.
• I have no correspondence where he asked for my endorsement for supervisor.

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.

5 comments

  1. I have known Dominic for many years and he is not my favorite person. But let’s be fair about his situation.
    When his records were released by accident [?] And he resigned his position as a council member the Mayor allowed the public to speak agaist him in any manner they chose.
    The Police invited the public to file reports against him for sexual harrasment..15 chose to do so. The district attorney’s office concluded that none of the report’s contained enough info to constitute a crime.
    The school board placed him on paid administrative leave. The tenure system does not make it easy to fire someone.

    When a person is convicted in the court of public opinion how is he to move on? Finding employment with this hanging over his head is next to impossible. Is he to be punished for the rest of his life with out being convicted of wrong doing?

  2. Is SCUSD so rich that it can afford to pay out millions of dollars to a towel boy? Glad majority of trustees didn’t support this scumbag. Is Muirhead’s answer her way of saying yes I endorsed him? And Raterman looks for the coward’s way out by not taking a position.What a group!

  3. The school district should not give him one dime. They would just be doing him a political favor. That’s what too many politicians do. They help each other out even when they get caught doing terrible things.

  4. You forgot to mention that Caserta has a complaint filed against the city of Santa Clara, too. But there’s no way that City Hall leadership is going to cave in to his RIDICULOUS demands. I hear the Mayor and Council want to take him to trial because Caserta will fold like a cheap suit. It’s too bad the school board doesn’t have some cajones.

  5. This is what you call reporting?? My 12 year old nephew could write better than this. I agree with you – I don’t like Casherta, but how is it important if they supported him or not? Were you triying to make your this post a certain number of words?

    I don’t like Casherta, but for what happened – having his personnel records released – I hope he wins. How would you like it if people reported on something in your past involving say family or your in-laws?

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