Trustees to Consider Sending Evidence on Kellerman to D.A.
Trustees of the North Orange County Community College District will meet in special session Thursday to decide whether evidence of alleged misconduct by Chancellor James S. Kellerman should be turned over to county prosecutors.
Board President Otto Lacayo also confirmed Tuesday that an internal investigation of financial practices has revealed that the district was billed for a $2,000 computer installed in Kellerman’s home.
It was not clear Tuesday who submitted a bill for the personal computer that was allegedly used by Kellerman. “I don’t think that bill was ever paid,” Lacayo said.
Call for Unisys Investigation
Another board member, in a letter to colleagues, called for an investigation of unspecified wrongdoing by Unisys Corp., which has been involved in negotiations for a $460,000 data processing system for the district.
Repeated bids to reach Kellerman, 54, have been unsuccessful. Unisys officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Kellerman was placed on paid administrative leave from his $97,000-a-year job last week after an internal investigation substantiated charges of misconduct, board members said.
The special meeting for Thursday was called in response to a letter written by board member Chris Loumakis that demanded an independent investigation of “alleged misconduct” by Kellerman. The letter was delivered by messenger Monday to the six other board members.
“The public has a right to know whether there was any inappropriate utilization of district funds or assets,” Loumakis said Tuesday. “I am hopeful that the board will take the initiative and request that an appropriate legal agency look into it.”
In the letter, Loumakis also called for suspension of all purchases from Unisys “until a full investigation possibly implicating Unisys in alleged wrongdoing is completed.”
“The allegations of impropriety and possible illegal conduct were of such gravity to warrant the action taken,” according to the letter, which was provided by Loumakis on Tuesday because portions had become public.
Loumakis also called for an investigation of the allegations by the county’s Education Department, district attorney’s office or grand jury.
Loumakis declined Tuesday to elaborate on suggested misconduct by Kellerman or Unisys. He said he wrote the letter, in part, because of “misleading” remarks made by board member Wallace R. Hardy immediately after Kellerman’s suspension.
Hardy told The Times last week that the action was not prompted by any misconduct, conflict of interest or disagreement with the board or college faculty.
Hardy added Friday that Kellerman “may have done some things that were inappropriate, but he didn’t do anything illegal.”
He said he hopes that the board can resolve problems involving Kellerman and, possibly, return him to the chancellor’s post.
Hardy’s published comments, the letter states, “were inaccurate and misleading,” and “have fueled speculation that the board is engaged in a cover-up of wrongdoing.”
Loumakis’ letter states that “our first knowledge of allegations of misconduct” came in reports by board members Lacayo and Nilane A. Lee last February.
The “first viable presentation of fact” by Lacayo and Lee came in March, says the letter, which adds that in an executive session April 11 an attorney for the board, Spencer E. Covert Jr., “supplied information that appears to substantiate” the charges.
Kellerman, a former vice chancellor for the district, was appointed chancellor in February, 1986. His contract extends until June, 1991. An interim chancellor, Berdette (Bert) Cofer, was named after Kellerman’s removal last week.