School execs awarded $3M in LA-area whistleblower lawsuit
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The ex-superintendent of California’s Montebello Unified School District and another former executive have been awarded more than $3 million in a lawsuit that claimed they were fired for exposing corruption.
City News Services reports that a jury on Monday awarded former superintendent Susanna Smith $2.7 million in damages. Former operations officer Cleve Pell was awarded $567,000.
Jurors also found two school board members acted with malice, oppression or fraud against Smith and Pell but they were only ordered to pay $1 each in punitive damages.
Smith and Pell alleged they were fired two years ago for alleging misconduct by district business officer Ruben Rojas, who’s since been fired.
The district says it believes Smith and Pell were lawfully fired as the district faced bankruptcy and says it’s considering an appeal.