[UPDATED:] Jeffrey Hubbard, Newport-Mesa Schools Chief, Subject of Closed Session Over Beverly Hills Criminal Charges

Update, December 14, 11:26 a.m.:

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education emerged from closed session last night and did . . . drum roll, please . . .



Board president Karen Yelsey said "no reportable action" was taken. So, behind closed doors, only non-reportable action happened. Gotcha. 

Original Post, December 13, 11:01 a.m.: The Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education is scheduled to meet in closed session this evening to figure out what to do about their possibly crooked superintendent, Jeffrey Hubbard.

That is, Hubbard is not accused of any wrongdoing involving the Orange County school system.  But the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has filed felony criminal charges alleging Hubbard misappropriated $5 million in public funds while serving as superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District
Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard denies wrongdoing.

Hubbard, 53, who won a three-year contract extension from Newport-Mesa over the summer, is accused of giving his Beverly Hills district director of planning and facilities an unauthorized $20,000 stipend and increasing her car allowance.

That official, Karen Anne Christiansen, who made $113,000 a year with the Beverly Hills district, has been charged with eight criminal counts that include conflict of interest and misappropriation of funds. She allegedly negotiated a secret contract to be an independent contractor while also performing her school district duties, a violation of state conflict of interest codes, according to the LA County DA's office.

The allegations span her working relationship with Hubbard from September 2005 and February 2006. Christiansen later moved to Las Vegas.

Hubbard denied the allegations against him Thursday to a reporter outside Fashion Island in Newport Beach, reports the Daily Pilot.

Options before Newport-Mesa trustees range from doing nothing to placing Hubbard on administration leave, president Karen Yelsey tells the paper, adding that all options will be discussed with the district's legal counsel.

The school board's special closed session meeting is scheduled to being begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district headquarters at Baker and Bear streets in Costa Mesa. The official agenda item, which is titled "Public Employee Evaluation: Title - Superintendent (pursuant to Government Code Section 54957)," is also listed in the closed session that precedes Tuesday's regularly scheduled board meeting.


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