Vladovic denies sexual harassment, other claims made in documents

L.A. Unified school board President Richard Vladovic, shown here at his 2011 swearing in, is the target of two complaints that he acted improperly. One employee accuses him of sexual harassment, while another allegeds verbal harassment and retaliation.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Through a spokesman, Los Angeles school board President Richard Vladovic denied Monday that he was guilty of sexual harassment, verbal harassment or retaliation against two unidentified employees.

The accusations are contained in redacted documents released Monday night by the L.A. Unified School District in response to public records requests from The Times and other news organizations.

“We categorically deny all of the allegations except one: Dr. V acknowledges that occasionally he uses his outdoor voice indoors,” said spokesman Mike Trujillo.


The sexual harassment allegations date back 10 years or more, to a time when Vladovic was a regional superintendent, one of the top positions in the nation’s second-largest school system.

The unidentified employee recounted one incident in which Vladovic allegedly handed her a swingers magazine to look at. Another incident, she said, involved an off-color joke. A third allegation described Vladovic flying into a rage about another employee and using a slur about the person’s sexual orientation.

The employee also complained about Vladovic pressuring her to spend $100 to purchase African attire to wear to a cultural event. And she accused Vladovic of intimidating subordinates by keeping a book decorated with an eye, denoting employees he wanted to keep an eye on.

The veteran employee, who dated her letter of complaint June 8, 2013, noted in it that a district investigator said her complaints, encompassing a period from 2000 to 2003, were too old to take action on.

The second complaint is dated June 28, 2013. This employee talked of hearing from a supervisor that Vladovic, as a board member in 2011, had demanded the employee’s dismissal for failing to provide him with important information about what was going on in his South L.A. and San Pedro-area board district.

The employee said Vladovic was operating outside the chain of command both in the request and with his subsequent reaction.


This employee described a series of alleged snubs, saying they denoted “a history of gross mismanagement, abuse of authority and violations of district ethics policy.”

The employee concluded that part of Vladovic’s displeasure resulted from “my exercising my constitutional right to support the candidate of my choice in the election of school board members.” Presumably, that candidate was not Vladovic.

Vladovic has consistently denied any wrongdoing. He does acknowledge that he can have a bad temper and that he sometimes regrets occasional outbursts.

He has also had two angry confrontations with Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino, who announced his pending resignation recently over the school board’s “dysfunction” and improper “micromanagement.”

The Board of Education president was the subject of two investigations this year. One cleared him of any wrongdoing related to the alleged mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against a teacher at De La Torre Elementary in Wilmington.

The second was into whether Vladovic had crossed legal or ethical lines in alleged verbal abuse of employees.


Vladovic spent most of his career in the school system, rising to a senior administrative post. He also served as superintendent in another local school district before retiring and running successfully for the school board in 2007.

The district has finished both probes but has officially released neither. Officials claimed the written reports are protected by attorney-client privilege because they were prepared in anticipation of possible litigation. To date, no litigation has been filed.

Monday’s disclosure was the first inside view of the verbal abuse investigation. Names of district employees were redacted from the documents.

Early unauthorized disclosures about the investigations being underway leaked out just before Vladovic sought the school board presidency. At the time, L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy threatened, out of public view, to resign if Vladovic were elevated.

Vladovic’s colleagues chose him as president, and Deasy stayed on. While Vladovic can be polarizing, he also had deep friendships in the school system and a loyal following.

Deasy has insisted that he had no role either in the investigations or in leaks related to them. The probes were conducted by an outside attorney.



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