The Beverly Hills Unified School District released Wednesday the final report by a law firm hired to probe a summer sports camp for high school athletes that was run by the principal.
The review came in response to articles in The Times last year that found that the Beverly Hills Sports Academy, which was held on campus, was operated by Principal Carter Paysinger and two school employees. The Board of Education requested a review of the sports program after parents raised concerns.
The Times obtained the final report under a California Public Records Act request. Except for Paysinger's, most names were redacted from the report.
The report found that Paysinger did not account for more than $40,000 he received from the for-profit summer sports camp he operated — which “implicates several district policies” including conflict-of-interest and ethics rules. The review also found that the academy brought in tens of thousands of dollars more in revenue than previously reported.
“Ultimately, the District must determine what it expects from employees under its Professional Standards Policy,” the report said. “However, certainly a fair argument can be made that Mr. Paysinger’s handling of his relationship with the Academy since becoming Principal … has not met those expectations.”
Paysinger's attorney, Reed Aljian, said the school principal has done nothing unlawful and has not violated any district policy.
“The report is a collection of false statements, unsupported legal conclusions and speculation,” Aljian said. “Mr. Paysinger did not engage in any wrongdoing.”
Beverly Hills Supt. Gary Woods and board members have refused to discuss the matter.
The purported arrangement “at best lacked transparency,” the final report said. “More significantly, the arrangement created a fiction for tax and potential liability.”
After Paysinger became principal, he was required to fill out economic conflict-of-interest statements. In those statements -- for 2010 to 2013 -- he declared no possible conflicts, according to the documents provided by the district and in the report. The review concluded that the compensation, no matter who eventually received the funds, raises the possibility of ethics violations by Paysinger.
The review also found that since its inception, the sports camp operated with “the knowledge, involvement, and consent of district administration” and made “good-faith efforts” to address issues and concerns from Beverly Hills officials.
The academy does not have a policy of telling prospective participants and parents that the camp is not required for athletes, but the directors of the academy provided evidence that they have clarified the misconception when asked, the report said.
The camp brochure and other materials did not make the separation clear, the report said: “...we cannot rule out that a student or parent could have reasonably believed it was required.”
The report recommended that the district be more transparent about the separation between the camp and the school district. It also recommended that the district make it clear to families that participation is not required to play sports.
“Of course, a student who participates may obtain a legitimate advantage over a non-participating student by an improvement in his or her requisite skills, techniques and experience,” the report said. “However, a coach should not view a participating student more favorably than a non-participating student simply because the student participated in the camp.”
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office last week said that it concluded an investigation into Paysinger and the camp — clearing him of any criminal wrongdoing.
Paysinger's contract expires at the end of the school year and he is currently in negotiations with the district. Paysinger’s supporters contend that he has done nothing wrong and has led the campus during a period of academic achievement.
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