The Orange County district attorney’s office is reviewing a complaint that Anaheim Union High School District trustee and Anaheim City Council candidate Jordan Brandman used district resources for personal benefit, according to sources in both the DA’s office and the school district.
Brandman is accused of using a small office at district headquarters for personal use, a possible violation of state law that is punishable by a $1,000 fine.
Fellow board trustee Katherine Smith said she contacted the DA’s office after witnessing Brandman exiting the office on several occasions and hearing from district staffers that he regularly uses the office.
Smith said she doesn’t know how Brandman has been using the office. The staffers she spoke to don’t know either, she said.
“I see him coming out of that office into closed session, now that I start looking back, and I’m putting A, B, C and D together. I’m thinking, what are you doing in there?” Smith said.
Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, acknowledged that the office received the complaint and “has decided to review the matter.”
Brandman could not be reached for comment.
School board President Anna Piercy said she knows of only one instance when Brandman used public resources for personal use.
According to Piercy, Brandman used a district headquarters office to do some work for his personal business. Brandman worked out of the district office because he didn’t have air conditioning at home, she said, and he brought in his own laptop for the work.
“What happened was a special situation, and he doesn’t do it all the time,” Piercy said. “It’s not a permanent thing. It’s not like he’s using it all the time.”
Piercy said the allegation is politically motivated and compared it to the incident in which a private investigator called police and complained that Costa Mesa City Councilman Jim Righeimer might have been driving while intoxicated after leaving fellow Councilman Gary Monahan’s bar, Skosh Monahan’s. A police officer determined that Righeimer was sober. The officer was connected to a law firm that had worked for the city’s police union.
“That is ludicrous,” Piercy said. “There’s antagonism out there. They’re setting him up and accusing of something that’s not really true.”
Although Smith acknowledged that she has disagreed with Brandman on some issues, she insisted that she contacted the DA out of moral obligation.
“The word trustee behind my name exemplifies the responsibilities that I have for the moral and ethical responsibility to the people who voted me into office,” Smith said.
— ADAM ELMAHREK
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