An attorney representing Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy is seeking records that would explore possible links between school board members and technology vendors.
The request opens a new front in the fallout over a contract between the L.A. Unified School District and Apple. Up until now, the focus has been on communications that Deasy and his team had with Apple, which supplied the iPad, and with Pearson, the company that provided the curriculum on the device.
The contract was the central piece in a $1.3-billion effort to provide a computer to every student, teacher and campus administrator in the nation’s second-largest school system. Deasy recently suspended future purchases under that contract. He has denied any improprieties in connection to it.
The district’s inspector general also has begun reviewing communications among the two companies, Deasy and then-Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino, who left the district at the end of 2013.
Deasy, through his attorney, Harvey I. Saferstein, is now apparently attempting to unearth any possible ties between board members and technology companies.
Part of Deasy’s defense has been that contacts with vendors are routine, even when they occur prior to the start of a bidding process. He also noted that board members meet with and accept campaign donations from companies and then later must vote on contracts involving these firms.
Deasy declined to comment about the records request. Saferstein could not be reached.
A request dated Sept. 10 targets board members George McKenna, Monica Garcia, Tamar Galatzan, Steve Zimmer and Bennett Kayser. It seeks “all meeting notes and correspondence (including emails and letters)” from Jan. 1, 2012, through Sept. 1, 2014, involving board members, their staff and a list of 18 technology companies.
The companies include Lenovo, Microsoft, Apple, Toshiba, Dell, HP or Meg Whitman, Acer, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Amplify Education Inc. or Joel Klein and News Corp.
Whitman is the HP chief executive who ran unsuccessfully for California governor as a Republican. Klein is the former chancellor of the New York City school system. He left his public-sector job to head Amplify.