Southwestern College Foundation Under Investigation

In a closed session on January 11, the Southwestern College board suspended their Proposition R program manager, Seville Construction Services. The board also suspended BCA Architects, which was hired to design Southwestern College’s now-infamous corner lot.

Excerpts from the district attorney’s affidavits on the company’s actions, which have the appearance of bid-rigging, were recently reported in the Reader.

Board president Norma Hernandez said the contractor suspensions were “based on the district’s ongoing internal review and the San Diego County [district attorney’s] investigation.”

According to Hernandez, last April, Southwestern “hired an independent external forensics audit expert to examine Proposition R construction contracts and…issues involving the Southwestern [College] Foundation.”

A letter to the editor, recently posted on La Prensa’s website, reads, “We are hearing from a lot of you concerned about why various people have been left out of the DA’s ongoing investigation into the [Sweetwater Union High School District and Southwestern College] corruption…why is nothing being said about Dan Hom and Scott Alevy…?”

The letter-writer sought to remind the public of the controversial dealings Alevy allegedly had with the Sweetwater Union High School District and of Hom's relationships with both Sweetwater and Southwestern College.

Hom is the CEO of a public relations company called Focuscom. He also sat on the Sweetwater Education Foundation board and was VP of the Southwestern College Foundation. Both organizations declare they exist to advance students’ education by offering financial support.

After Southwestern’s foundation gave $75,000 to “Friends of Proposition R,” Hom left the foundation and was hired by “Friends of Yes on Proposition R” to promote passage of the bond.

Proposition R passed in 2008 and Focuscom was given a $100,000 contract by Henry Amigable, former program manager for Seville Construction Services, and Nicholas Alioto, former vice president of Southwestern College. (Alioto’s home was searched during the district attorney’s December 20 raids. Amigable was indicted January 5.)

The $100,000 contract says, among other things, that Focuscom will “isolate and expose extremists” and “control the media.”

Hom and Focuscom are mentioned several times in the district attorney’s affidavits.

Although the company didn’t get the public relations contract until March 9, 2010, Hom became associated with Amigable and Alioto earlier.

On September 2, 2009, Amigable emailed [email protected] and “Dan”: “Nick/Dan My club was able to get me on to the San Diego Country Club this Saturday at 1:00pm. We could meet for lunch around 11:30am there and then go play golf...”

On September 3, 2009, an email from Nicholas Alioto went out to Hom and Amigable, “ps…Henry…I had sent Dan an invite to a little wine and cheese thing at my humble apartment for the evening of the 12th…if you’re available and interested let me know and I’ll get you the details.”

Victoria Rodriguez from Focuscom replied to Henry, “Dan is available. I will put it in his calendar.”

On October 7, 2009, Amigable wrote to Seville Construction Services CEO Jeff Flores: “I will call Morton’s today and see how private we can get without costing an arm and leg. John Wilson said between Dan, me and John we know half the town. Even at Baci’s [Italian restaurant on Morena Blvd.] Dan Hom ran into Chula Vista folks the other night. Luckily nothing to do with our line of work.”

Southwestern promises to release to the public the forensic audit report upon completion.

Image and caption from Focuscom’s Facebook page: “The big-wigs! Sheriff Bill Gore, DA Bonnie Dumanis, [Dan Hom], Supervisor Greg Cox.”

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don hom is in it DEEP when it comes to sweetwater as well, HOM was allegedly able to help JOHN MCCANN secure campaign donations in the past - i believe hom's wife held a fund raiser for MCCANN. hom was also working with 'the gandara' and bonny garcia 'corruptor at law' currently being sued by his partner ruiz.

''''''FOUNDATION'''''''''''' - why does this word ring a bell, oh that is right dr. ed brand is involved in his own ''''''''foundation'''''''''' at sweetwater - a foundation whose number one objective is to raise money. AND,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, brand brought in his personal friend mike ellis to serve on that foundation, ellis, convicted of manufacturing meth who served time. let us not forget what the grand jury said in its investigation into prop bb under brands tenure - they were most concerned about certain financials and believed those financials deserved an investigation. but, out of the blue, brand left the district, under a dark cloud of suspicion.

oh, what a tangled web we weave when we conspire to deceive.

it is time for a new superintendent, i am wondering if the president of southwestern might be interested? he seems to be the only honest one of the bunch - his insight to call for a forensic audit - that i am told will be released to the tax payers. oh, what novel thought.

and what is going on with the prop o audit - when will we see it? or will it be a sham, like past audits?

isolate and expose extremists, monitor the comments section of this paper and the union tribune. really???????????????? that is how my tax dollars were being used?

i believe brand has met with hom, wondering what is being cooked up.

alvey, most likely turned states evidence. does that mean he should not be held accountable for allegedly falsifying billing statements that he and hom 'backdoored' to bonny garcia?

anniej, i read your posts and you are usually right on and aware but on Southwestern College I need to correct something and give a little history. The new Supt. is Melinda Nish not a "he" and the interim Supt. before her was Dr. Denise Whitiker who was hired in Nov. 2010 just after the newly elected Board dismissed Supt. Raj Chopra & Alioto. Up until Nov. 2010 the College was in chaos and their accreditation was being threatened with termination. The heavy handed leadership, Chopra/Alioto in collusion with the Board were soliciting contractor contributions for the encumbants, a grassroots effort ran against them and beat two encjumbants. The new Board led by Tim Nader and Norma Hernandez cleaned house and ordered the forensic audit and Supt. Whitiker got full accreditation restored and now there is peace on campus. The release of the forensic audit at SWC and the Greg Vega Report should reveal corruption and colusion between the leadership of the two districts and their consultants, legal firms and contractors.Check the record the Board minutes and you will find that Board member Nick Aguilar was the only one fighting against the corruptive practices until they wore him out and his PTSD surfaced so he resigned shortly after the new Board came in and cleaned house!

redevilaboveground: i thank you for the correction, for some reason i thought Ms. Nish was a HE. again thank you - i attempt to make every attempt to be sure i base my 'opinion' on facts that i have seen or sources i trust; and i appreciate your setting the record straight.

my knowledge of what was/is occurring at southwestern is minimal; my interests began with sweetwater - and as we all know there is SO MUCH about sweetwater that is wrong i have had little time to educate myself or develop many sources from southwestern.

i would like to thank you for clarifying the players at southwestern and their roles. to Superintendent Nish i say publicly 'would you like a job?' - because goodness knows we need a Super who not only talks about transparency but takes action to produce it. our Super has been quoted and seen spewing 'all of presumed innocent under proven guilty' - while true - ah, hello, dr. brand, have YOU read those pdf's in the ut? your Super came out shooting REAL WORDS, tooke REAL ACTION.

you know many persons have been hurt along the way. sweetwater had one of their finest employees put out to pasture 'so to speak' and why? because she came forward and reported a wrong doing.

hopefully the publics demands will be heard and the search for a new superintendent will begin. unfortunately, the 4 on the board still have control - even though 2 of them are under indictment, and 2 of them are continuing to receive donations to help them off their campaign debt. the only one sitting up there at that table who is acting in the best interest of the students or taxpayer is board member lopez. without her efforts, i do not know where this investigation would be today - we must remember that she was the only board member who was concerned enough to go to the District Attorney - eventhough john mccann promised the voters he would clean the district up - he chose to, instead, join jim cartmill, ricasa, quinones - he jumped into the trough of corruption head first - SUCKING UP ALL OF THOSE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS.

there is movement within the community, we know that the vega report, why else would JOHN MCCANN have said 'you can ONLY get the vega report if you subpoena it'. those are not the words of an honest politician in my opinion. the movement is to demand the results of the vega report, an investigation that we paid for, an investigation that the little man who wanted to be king so proudly sat on that couch calling for. now, after calling for it, he is running from it - WHY?????????????????

again, thank you for the correction

Isn't this the same HOM that has run for public office in the past? And McCan't, he's more involved than what appears on the surface.

anniej, I remember that the UT was able to get copies of Alevy's itemized account. To date, no one has seen Focuscom's itemized account in regards to their services for Sweetwater, right?

i have not seen any. but i will check the law suit that ruiz is bringing against bonny garcia to see if any of the itemization is there. for all who do not know ruiz, is the former partner of bonny garcia. ruiz is suing garcia and calderon - the G and the C of GCR.

part of the law suit alleges that G and C primarily G used firm assets to manipulate our elections. remember bonny garcia set up some group that was funneling monies, i mean donation monies to campaigns of board members they were thinking they could manipulate. while they gave money to board member lopez, looks like once she got there and saw what they were really about - she decided to try and fight it with her vote - when that did not work she went to the district attorney. yep, folks only at sweetwater.

maybe someone could do a public records request for them - but remember many, many, many bills were back doored thru bonny garcia - in an effort, i am thinking to hide them.

just my opinion

I have them but guess what they are redacted. I got them from the district quite awhile ago. totally usless.

The stories about Southwestern College and the Sweetwater District are outrageous!

In addition to looking into contract "pay for play" the district attorney's office should be investigating the "pay for play" by board members from both districts for administrators. At the Sweetwater District school principals were required to raise at least $1,000 for board members reelection campaigns and assistant principals were required to raise at least $500 for their re-election campaigns.

The DA should be interviewing SUHSD principals/APs about this.

At SWC board members campaign reports should be reviewed and a pattern will emerge that those college employees and administrators who gave money to the candidates received promotions. Check the college minutes and the expense reports!

may i ask if you have phoned the district attorney hot line to report this action?

i am also hearing rumors of certain meetings being held to continue to raise money for board members and or brand's 'b s foundation'thru hollywood pizza in the east county - do you know anything about that? if so, you might want to contact the reporter who wrote this article, she is doing a bang up job with her investigational reporting.

time to flush the all out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ed Brand's questionable charitable organization

Organization in question: Partnership for Success Public Benefit Charity FEIN: 030601031 Corporate or Organization Number: 28886192007 – Partnership for Success founded with mission to “Partner with high school students to achieve graduation from college in four years or less”; Ed Brand as President, Barry Dragon as Treasurer and Maureen Roadman as Secretary http://www2.guidestar.org/organizations/03-0601031/partnership-success.aspx# 2007 – Partnership for Success lists the following on its Form 990 $210,614 in direct public support $195,974 in total expenses including $1,500 grant to Sweetwater Foundation $80,000 to Ed Brand’s salary as President $2,373 in meals/entertainment $96,491 to “Consulting” $4,527 in travel $753 in automobile expense $14,704 in net assets http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2007/030/601/2007-030601031-03c8c071-9.pdf 2007 – Stensrud Foundation lists $200,000 contribution to Partnership for Success on its Form 990 http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2007/330/757/2007-330757049-0434fc70-F.pdf 2008 – Partnership for Success lists the following on its Form 990 $303,000 in contributions and grants $272,085 in expenses, including $258,615 in “consulting” $5000 to California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators $1478 in meals/entertainment $45,621 in net assets http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2008/030/601/2008-030601031-04c86ebd-9.pdf 2008 – Stensrud Foundation lists $300,000 contribution to Partnership for Success on its Form 990 http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2008/330/757/2008-330757049-0503d9c7-F.pdf 2009 – Partnership for Success lists the following on its Form 990 $0 in revenue $45,621 in expenses, including $43,060 in “consulting” $702 in meals/entertainment $1,038 in automobile expense $0 in net assets New Board of Directors Loren R. White – President Diana Alexander – Treasurer Milton Roa – Secretary http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009/030/601/2009-030601031-0616834d-9.pdf

1. What do the “consulting” expenses listed on Partnership for Success’ Form 990’s entail? Who are the consultants

  1. Nothing is listed under program service accomplishments on any of Partnership for Success’ Form 990’s. What did Partnership for Success actually do?
  2. Should Ed Brand have voted to pay himself a salary in 2007 that amounted to 38% of the contributions Partnership for Success received that year?

ZORRO: thank you for taking the time to share this with all of those closely following this story. it is one thing to voice an opinion, having the 'data' thereby gives the reader the clear cut facts and allows them to make up their own mind.

who was the 'consultant' that was paid over $96,000.00?

brand received $80,000.00 on top of his superintendents salary? on top of the perks he was receiving at the time.

and what does he do, he comes in here in july and begins the corruption ALL OVER AGAIN. brand has GOT TO GO.

no ifs, no ands, no buts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hope all reading this will attend the board meeting on the 30th - time to make our demands known.

we need to take our district back, but here is the thing, we can not keep going thru these unscrupulous superintendents. what is driving the superintendent position is the board. remember it was ricasa and cartmill that traveled to socorro, texas ON OUR DIME and brought back 'the gandara'. remember WHO BROUGHT BRAND IN, it was JOHN MCCANN, little man who wants to be king. in order to bring about REAL CHANGE, we need to get rid of those board members who sat/sit there watching rome burn - those who failed to share with us that they lit the match - the only person who saw fit to bring about change was board member lopez when SHE WENT TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY. hmmmmmm, one would have thought that mccann, as new kid on the block, would have done that. but hell, once he made it to the block and saw all that could be gained, rather than fight 'em he decided to join 'em.

Wow! I knew about some of this but you have definitely blown me away.

The Da's office can not act upon this information because of the statute of limitations. We need currant wrong doings. Help if you can.

The DA may not be able to do anything about it, but the IRS can. If Ed Brand really did use public money for private gain, that's fraud. And there's no statute of limitations on tax fraud. He'll have to pay it all back and then some.


i am hearing there are persons who have contacted the DA regarding this very issue. if you have additional data you might want to call the hotline Dumanis set up as well.

we need someone leading this District who knows how to act with integrity, not just be able to spell the word.

Here's an excerpt from BCAs website written by a Focuscom consultant. Did BCA --which worked for both schools--subcontract Focuscom? Just curious if anyone knew

BCA Architects Nominated for Prestigious Orchid Award for Sweetwater High School’s Gateway Complex -- The annual Orchids and Onions ceremony for best and worst in San Diego architecture is on October 27, 2011

by Tomas Urtasun

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (October 11, 2011) – BCA Architects has been nominated for the coveted Orchid Award for Sweetwater High School’s new Gateway Complex, qualifying the California educational architectural specialists for the Sustainable Design and People’s Choice categories.

Presented each year by the San Diego Architectural Foundation,

How did you get this picture of the Sheriff, the DA, Hom and the County Supervisor together?

Annie J and others,

The Alevy bills and connection to the law firm of Bonifacio Garcia must be investigated. If you have access to public records- you need to investigate the federal lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service and United States Government at the San Diego federal courthouse filed in 2011. GCR LLP Garcia, Calderon,Ruiz???? is plaintiff

BLONDES: thank you i will be sharing this with those involved in exposing all that is wrong with sweetwater.

i have the lawsuit that Ruiz filed against garcia and calderon, but it appears this is a different one, am i correct?

this is an open comment to all:

i want to thank you for all of the new persons coming here and posting - sharing information.

i made a comment above about flushing all of the rats out - i want to visualize them, jumping the corrupt sweetwater ship due to the efforts of all of you who want to rename her/him (sweetwater)


I'm aware of the lawsuit between partners but now you have intrigued me. A little more information would be appreciated in order to make the search easier. If you can.

reddevil, you put the two districts together very clearly and succinctly and your analalogy between the Vega report and SWC's forensic report rings true. Sweetwater is having an audit--unfortunately I don't believe they are looking at the education foundation or the other non-profit closely associated with the school.

Pancho, As the picture credit notes, the picture comes from Focuscom's Facebook page. I believe it was a fundraiser.

You can contact me by clicking on my name and the message will come directly to my email...

Annie J and Erupting, This is a public record PUBLIC RECORDS involving federal lawsuits are accessible by PACER. Google it online for PACER and you subscribe for a few cents a page. You can also visit the US Attorney Clerk's office in downtown SD and read the file

Case No. 11 CV 2682IEG RBB Filed: 11/16/11

GCR, LLP, Yuri Calderon Petitioner

vs United States of America Respondent

Blondes: thank you for sharing your wisdom. guess i will add this lawsuit to the ruiz's against garcia and calderon.

again thank you.

i read the lawsuit of garcia and calderon against the United States - i am simply blown away that our district chose this particular person (bonny garcia) to represent its legal needs.

it is clear those members on the board NOW that were on the board THEN, knew exactly what they were doing in partnering with this man. there is a reason why ricasa, quinones, and 'the gandara' are under indictment - the reason is defined in one word - the one word is 'corruption'. time for them to own it and pay for it.

i noticed that there are charges against some of them for lying - hmmmm, sounds as if they lied to Ms. Dumanis's department - not a good thing.

Both Sweetwater College and Sweetwater School District need a deep enema to cleanse itself from the same cast of corrupt officials that weave around elected officials, foundations, consultants and administrators.

Where is the political leadership from Congressman Bob Filner, State Senator Juan Vargas and others? Very quite from Hueso on these important educational issues. Filner and Vargas talk a good game, but when the shXX hits the fan- they run away. Same thing with Denise Ducheny- she's very quiet.

blondes, you obviously are not from the South Bay calling Southwestern College "Sweetwater College" and not being aware that Congressman Bob Filner has been speaking up. In fact he has made himself available and has attended Southwestern College Board meetings and student rally's. Not just recently but going back years!....do your homework!Some of your other posts make sense, don't minimize them with unworthy comments!

I meant to say Sweetwater U. as worded by Ed Brand of better yet Chula Vista U. by Steve Padilla. Remember Ed wanted to do a new bond issuance for Sweetwater U.

I won't even add my opinion on McCann's comments on four year university

Blondes: mccann is a dweeb - sorry i tried not to say it, but the 'devil' made me do it.

Sorry blondes, my bad, I now understand where you are coming from!....keep up the good work reporting the truth!

red, Filner was around for the suspension of teachers and free speech problems, but i'm not sure he has been around for anything since...

Cvres: and he was around for the freedom of marijuana users, but when the students and taxpayers need him where is he?

what a mess, we have mccann, golden boy of the Republican party (goodness tell me this isn't the best they can do??) we have cartmill also Republican.

then we have the indicted board members - ricasa and quinones - both Democrats.

makes you realize that Party does not really mean much - our board is a perfect example of that.

JOHN MCCANN, you know sooner or later, we are going to force you into giving up that Vega report. so you might as well come off of it sooner. i hear the Republican Party is getting a little sick of all of the bad press regarding the vega report AND all of those campaign contributions. MCCANN is being seen as the kiss of death. well finally some good news. hopefully we will NEVER, EVER have to endure another one of those boring speeches again. hopefully we will NEVER, EVER have to see his name on another ballot.

Vega report was funded by taxpayer dollars. McCann is hiding.....

Does anyone know if the Vega report will be on the January 30th agenda? You're absolutely right blondes, we who paid for that report should pack the meeting and demand delivery of what we've paid for.

joepublic: bertha lopez called for the release of the vega report in one of the recent past meetings. the rest of the board sat there as if she was talking about their mothers in a bad way. brand did not appear to happy with her that she was asking about it publicly.

now, in all honesty mccann needs to answer for the fact that he refused to release it without a subpoena (as stated at one of the board meetings by one of the speakers).

when it is released, trust me, mccann will try and find someone to make it look like it was all his idea. no doubt we will probably have to listen to a speech about his tour of duty - lets see the new spin will probably be "you know, when i was over there serving my country, the village chiefs came to me and asked me how to start a democracy". sorry to bore you all with my comments about this guy, but he is simply a politician that 'should never have been".

new article out on ut regarding vega report - what a surprise brand and mccann using their bag of tricks. "ok ed, you look like the corrupt fool and i, the infamous john mccann, will attempt (once again) to snow the public by saying i am in favor of the vega report being released".

it is clearly obvious that brand and mccann have formed an alliance, never has a better match been made. and to think they did not have to even register on the new web site for corrupt politicians 'crooks.com' they found each other on their own. must have been that magnetic like pull.

just my opinion

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