The Newport-Mesa Unified School District paid about $10,000 for legal representation to attend former Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard's criminal trial and report back information about the proceedings, school officials said.
Instead of paying the regular rate of $195 an hour, the district was charged a paralegal rate, $115 an hour, by the law firm Parker & Covert LLP, according to district spokeswoman Laura Boss.
The district was charged for 89 hours, bringing the bill to $10,235. Money to pay the fee came from the district's legal fund, Boss said.
"The reason an attorney was present at the trial was to protect the interests of NMUSD and to keep the board and administration advised as to the issues being presented at the trial," Boss wrote in an email. "NMUSD, as an organization, needed to be prepared in case anything arose at the trial that might directly impact NMUSD.
"The attorney was not in attendance on Dr. Hubbard's behalf and has no representative duties associated with Dr. Hubbard, individually."
School board President Dave Brooks, who attended every day of the trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court, said the board initially chose to have a paralegal present, but was advised by attorneys to have the case monitored by a lawyer instead, particularly when district employees testified.
Hubbard was convicted of two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds relating to his previous superintendent job at the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Toward the end of the trial, Hubbard testified on his own behalf, telling jurors he was directed by Beverly Hills school board members to make payments to a subordinate.
Prosecutors pointed to emails indicating that Hubbard had a "special relationship" with that subordinate. That might of been was Hubbard's motive, they contended, for him to illegally raise her car allowance and grant her bonuses equaling $20,000.
He was acquitted of a third felony charge that he illegally increased another subordinate's pay.
Hubbard has filed an appeal to his January convictions, and has publicly stated his innocence on a since-closed Twitter account and in an interview with the Daily Pilot.