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Spending of Some Measure E Funds Explained in Audit

Almost $4 million was spent in fiscal year 2010 on projects and services directly related to Measure E, according to a report presented to the Board of Education in January.

A performance audit conducted last year of the Beverly Hills Unified School District Measure E bond program explains some of the $13 million in Measure E funds that have been spent since the first series of bonds were sold in early 2009.

As Patch , these funds have been spent before any major construction projects have started at the city’s five schools. The $334 million Measure E bond was passed by voters in 2008 to modernize the city's schools.

According to the audit report conducted by San Diego firm Christy White Accountancy Corp., almost $4 million was spent in fiscal year 2010 on projects and services directly related to Measure E.

The report was presented to the Board of Education in January 2011. Patch reviewed it after readers requested further reporting on how Measure E money has been spent.

The report describes $3.83 million in spending during fiscal year 2010, which ended June 30:

  • $1.077 million for projects at Horace Mann school
  • $708,888 at Beverly Hills High school
  • $455,492 at El Rodeo school
  • $420,712 at Hawthorne school
  • $137,503 at Beverly Vista school
  • $503,304 in legal fees
  • $494,582 in program administration costs
  • $30,724 for “facilities and planning,” which include some of the salaries and benefits of the facilities staff

The report does not detail which school projects were conducted with these funds. At Horace Mann, the money paid for tearing down the school’s annex and erecting bungalows, board Vice President Brian Goldberg said in the comments section of Friday’s story.

About $2.1 million was spent on vendor Strategic Concepts in the prior fiscal year ending June 2009, the report notes. Strategic Concepts is the educational company started by former BHUSD facilities manager , who will be tried on four conflict of interest charges.

The auditors suggested that any funds “recovered from Strategic Concepts should be reimbursed to the Measure E Bond Building Fund.”

BHUSD filed a complaint against Strategic Concepts in 2009 seeking to recover $4 million in fees, and Christiansen filed a countersuit to recoup $16 million related to the Strategic Concepts contract. The litigation has prompted significant spending of Measure E funds.

“As of …November 2010, $642,986 in legal expenses has been paid from Measure E funds, with significant portions of this amount spent on the Strategic Concepts litigation,” the report notes, adding that BHUSD “received an opinion from its bond counsel that these legal fees are permissible expenditures.”

Since that time, the district has spent more than to L.A.-based law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Quinn Emanuel has represented BHUSD in legal proceedings against Christiansen and former Superintendent Jeffery Hubbard.

Editor's Note: This article errored in originally stating that Karen Christiansen is facing two counts of misappropriation of public funds. The D.A. has dropped those charges.

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Miss BH April 18, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Luarie? "BHUSD filed a complaint against Strategic Concepts in 2009 seeking to recover $4 million in fees, and Christiansen filed a countersuit to recoup $16 million related to the Strategic Concepts contract." ==Christiansen was the first to file and the counter suit is by BHUSD. The auditors suggested that any funds “recovered from Strategic Concepts should be reimbursed to the Measure E Bond Building Fund.” ==There are no fund to recover "Karen Christiansen, who will be tried on two counts of misappropriation of public funds and four felony conflict of interest charges." ==misappropriation charges have been dropped and they dropped the charges conecting her to Jeff Hubbard. "$2.1 million was spent on vendor Strategic Concepts " ==Strategic concepts uses theses funds to pay exspences building the schools. Go to BHUSD web site and look at the photos of the work they did, Thats where the money is. Luarie you know all this so why write an artical like this? It's public infromation get your facts correct.
Jodi Ticknor April 18, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Even if the District wins a judgement against Karen Christianson, will the damages be collectible? Does anyone know her assets? She seems to have none as she was living hand to mouth, at friend's houses and could not post her own bail. Whether this is a ruse or not, the Board should really hire a PI to find out her real financial status. And what if she declares bankruptcy? Using bond money to cover over 2 million in legal fees (and with the fees rising as the suit drags on), seems like a really poor use of the funds. Surely, the residents that voted for the bond did not expect to have the bond money be spend on legal fees. I, for one, did not. Even though it is a legally permissible use of the funds, it just smells wrong. Surely, we will see down the line that having million less to spend as the case drags on and on, will affect the plans and the buildings. I believe that the bond money should be spent on construction at our school sites, not legal fees in a probably uncollectible case.
Marie Cunningham (Editor) April 18, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Thanks for reading Miss BH. All the questioned facts aside from the legal charges are taken directly from the audit report. We'd be happy to send you a copy if you're interested. Best, Marie
Miss BH April 19, 2011 at 06:50 AM
Marie...I understand the audit report is not detailed but it doesnt say Christiansen filed a countersuit does it? No one bothered to up date this artical. The whole thing is fualse except the report, and that only proves it was way less than $2.1 in question rather than the original $ 5 million they acussed her of.
Marie Cunningham (Editor) April 19, 2011 at 07:19 AM
As I noted in my previous comment, the questioned facts "aside from the legal charges" come straight from the audit. Christiansen did file a countersuit, so I do not understand what you are disputing. The countersuit was mentioned to provide background information for the article and is very much related to the Measure E bond as funds from the bond are being used for the legal dispute with Christiansen.
Miss BH April 20, 2011 at 04:51 AM
Marie...Christiansen did not file countersuit, she filed and served the board 2 weeks before before BHUSD filed a countersuit. Where did you get your background info? She is the plaintiff on every paper I have seen and again why would you print that she is going to be tried on charges the DA already dropped??? Poor reporting is what I disputing.
Marie Cunningham (Editor) April 20, 2011 at 05:37 AM
All these facts come from the audit report which I am happy to send your way. I have uncovered no information that the D.A. has dropped any charges against Christiansen.
Miss BH April 20, 2011 at 06:56 AM
Marie thats what Im saying you didnt do your home work. Why dont you ask Marla Schevker she does a good report on it on Jan 21 and Feb 4th. That wasnt very hard for me to find. Yes Christiansen is still going to trial for confict of intrest charges but the rest were dropped months ago. Its public information look it up. Im not trying to be mean but so many of these reports are one sided even when the legal docs are delivered to the papers they dont print it.
Miss BH April 20, 2011 at 03:10 PM
Marie if you can send me th report I would like to look at it and appericiate it very much. Thank you
Marie Cunningham (Editor) April 20, 2011 at 09:10 PM
Hello Ms. BH, The article has been amended to reflect that the D.A. has dropped the two counts of misappropriation of public funds. Your input is appreciated. We'll send you the audit. Best, Marie
James Lewis Perdue Jackson II CEO April 21, 2011 at 03:15 AM
Surly there are more vital concerns to report about instead of this hot mess. I would think Patch.Com would be able to find more interesting content, start reporting on subjects such as the number of h0meless veterans living on their friends sofas in Beverly Hills, or the conditions the families of our Armed Forces serving over seas are living in, wives and husbands living hand to mouth and WHY? Get real, as long as the jobs got done who cares who did them and if there was NO mis-appropriation of public funds, why is everybody in this woman's personal business in the first place. This smells of a Smear Campaign to me.
Miss BH April 21, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Thank you Marie:)
Miss BH April 21, 2011 at 04:17 AM
Marie will you be amending the counter suit as well?
Mr. BH April 24, 2011 at 09:17 PM
Does anyone know if MissBH is a former employee of Strategic Concepts? I think that would shed a lot of light on her public misinformation campaign
Miss BH April 24, 2011 at 09:43 PM
I am not connected to Strategic Concepts and I never worked for the school district. All of my information comes from court documents and BHUSD Board minutes. An Audit report is based on impartial information giving to them by current employee's that may not have been there during that time. An Auditor is not required to verify the informantion giving to them. Again it's in black and white on public record so if you want to take the auditors word over the courts and the Disrict Attorney then you will have to wait and see who takes the fall.
Mr. BH April 25, 2011 at 04:04 AM
So this is not the personal or former personal assistant for Karen Christensen? Not the same person who was warend by the Judge that her behavior was threatening to the DA prosecuting the case and who was admonished by the Judge that if her behavior continued that she would be brought up on charges?
Miss BH April 25, 2011 at 04:36 AM
No that is not me and that person never worked for Karen Christiansen either. What does it matter? look it up, you dont have to take my word for it, look it up. Its really simple. This artical was amended wasnt it? So maybe my public misinformation campaign had some merit to it. The whip cream on that sunday is that Christiansen and Hubbard are no longer codefendants because their cases have been seperated and 4 of the 8 charges have been dropped on her. If Im making it up call me out and Ill take full responsabilty and tell you who Iam.

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