*On March 9, 2018, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Office of Inspector General (OIG) Deputy Inspector General, Investigations Frank Cabibi was forced to resign in lieu of termination. The reason for Frank Cabibi’s sudden, teary-eyed, departure is a closely guarded LAUSD secret. In the era of hashtag #MeToo and based on my personal working relationship with Cabibi; I understand why his firing must not be known.
In 2015, while employed as a senior investigator assigned to the OIG Investigations unit, I filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment with Cheryl Broussard Supervising EEO Investigator Office of General Counsel (OGC) Equal Opportunity Section, against Frank Cabibi.
My complaint went ignored by [then] superintendent Ramon Cortines, Deputy Superintendent Michelle King, General Counsel David Holmquist and the Board of Education: Steven Zimmer, Monica Garcia, Dr. George McKenna III, Dr. Ref Rodriguez, Scott Schmerelson, Dr. Richard Vladovic a violation of the District’s whistle blower policy.
After filing the March 2015 discrimination/harassment complaint; an unrelenting retaliation campaign followed. The three very powerful men in charge at the OIG, Investigations Unit whom I affectionately refer to as “the unholy trinity”: Inspector General (IG) Kenneth (Ken) Bramlett, Deputy Inspector General Frank Cabibi and Supervisory Investigator Jorge Urquijo led the way.
In October 2015, I sought refuge from the retaliation and met with Cortines and Michelle King; requesting whistle blower protection and an immediate investigation.
In January 2016, I was subjected to the combined weight and might of the OIG & LAUSD.
Since the District’s powerful administrators could not quiet me I was sent home and an LAPD-style task force was convened.
The “Dorsey Task Force” members consisted of approximately thirty (30) employees from the OIG, OGC, Student Safety Investigation Team (SSIT) and Staff Relations under the command of the first black woman to lead the Los Angeles Unified School District, Superintendent Michelle King.
LAUSD General Counsel David Holmquist, dispatched a battery of attorneys; Lynn Ibarra, Lorri Gosset and Kathleen Collins. Apparently, Superintendent Michelle King thought it more important to investigate me, for previously undocumented district policy violations, rather than relegate one staffer to investigate my complaint of retaliation and malfeasance.
Be clear; complaining comes with consequences. This is not an anomaly nor unique to me.
- In December 2014, LAUSD awarded Archie Roundtree $3.3 million dollars in a whistle blower law suit which involved retaliation.
- In October 2015, the LAUSD was slapped with a $1 billion dollar lawsuit to end “teacher jail”.
- In July 2017, Saif Hussain filed a lawsuit against the LAUSD claiming he had been fired for reporting harassment.
In February 2016, I again contacted [then] superintendent Michelle King requesting her assistance by way of an investigation. The very next day, OGC attorney Lynn Ibarra emailed me directing me, ‘not to contact Michelle King, she is aware of your concerns and the District is working toward a resolution.”
Let’s walk through the resolution, shall we?
- March 1, 2016, LAUSD served a sustained Notice of Unsatisfactory Service (NOUS); I was not interviewed;denied due process.
- April 2016, Melinda LeDuff Menefee, Staff Relations Manager, sent a veiled threat by way of a settlement offer demanding that I resign and stop blogging about the District; with a promise that declining the offer would result in more discipline.I declined.
- On April 8, 2016, OGC Atty Lynn Ibarra notified IG Ken Bramlett & Deputy IG Frank Cabibi that more discipline was coming; “time is of the essence.”
- May 9, 2016, the promise was kept; I was served a second NOUS and directed to a hearing to be chaired by Vivian Ekchian, who was a deputy superintendent.
- On June 9, 2016, Ekchian, during my hearing told my attorney to hurry up, she “had a graduation to attend.” A communication, given to me during discovery, from OGC Attorney Kathleen Collins to IG Kenneth Bramlett stated,“skelly provides opportunity to be heard”. (So, you’re not even gonna pretend to be fair?)
- On June 10, 2016, IG Ken Bramlett sent Ekchian a copy of my “Whistle Blower” blog(s) in which I complained about LAUSD retaliation with the caption, “for your reading pleasure”. Was Bramlett trying to sway Eckhian’s decision?
- June 13, 2016, Vivian Ekchian issued a letter of agreement with OIG, OGC, Staff Relations recommending my termination.
- June 14, 2016 the Board of Education along with [then] Superintendent Michelle King adopted Ekchian’s recommendation
- June 15, 2016 I was fired.
Power – absolute power is not gender specific. I believe the path to 333 S. Beaudry is littered with the bodies of mistreated LAUSD employees. Evidence of road kill. The remains of those who had the temerity to complain. A warning sign to others who might
Cheryl Dorsey is a retired LAPD sergeant, speaker, and much sought after police expert on important issues making national headlines. She is the author of Black and Blue, Creation of A Social Advocate; an autobiography that pulls the covers of the LAPD and provides an unfiltered look into the department’s internal processes. Visit Cheryl’s website www.sgtcheryldorsey.com Subscribe to “Sgt Dorsey Speaks” podcast follow on Twitter @sgtcheryldorsey