Newly unsealed documents show that San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten knew that then-trustee Marne Foster planned to submit a $250,000 legal claim against the district.

In an interview with an investigator from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Marten said that sometime after Foster discovered that an unflattering college evaluation letter had been written on her son’s behalf, she informed Marten she planned to submit a legal claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, against the district. That claim sought $250,000.

A claim was eventually submitted to the school district – but it was signed by John Marsh, the father of Foster’s son, not Foster. Foster told the Union-Tribune in August 2014 she had nothing to do with the claim.

According to the documents, Marten did not discourage Foster from submitting a claim, but said, “That’s weird you are going to file a claim against the school.”


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Marten said Foster then told her to “do the right thing, you can make this happen.”

Marten felt Foster was pressuring her to approve a settlement and pay for her son’s college tuition, the documents show.

Foster Warrant Marten Claim

The conversation with Marten is just one piece of a lengthy search warrant unsealed Thursday by a Superior Court judge. The documents were unsealed at the request of media outlets including NBC 7, the Union-Tribune and 10News.

Marten also told the investigator that she was aware of Foster’s plans to hold a private fundraiser to benefit her sons. Marten was the one who suggested that Foster use gofundme.com to raise funds, according to the documents. She told Foster that the “website would likely take care of the accounting and collection of taxes,” documents show.

Foster Warrant Marten GoFundMe

The fundraiser and the legal claim filed with the district were the two incidents that led the school board to open an internal investigation, according to the warrant.

The search warrant documents also show that John Marsh, the father of Foster’s son, told investigators the same thing he told Voice of San Diego: Foster pressured him to sign his name on a blank claim form and Foster filled out the rest, then submitted it in his name.

After Marsh spoke with me, he contacted the district attorney’s office to tell them his story. Soon after Voice of San Diego published Marsh’s account, Foster asked him to call me and recant what he told me, the documents show.

Foster’s mother also pressured Marsh to change his story, according to the documents. Marsh received a text message from Foster’s mother, Sandra Foster-King, urging him to call me: “Protect everyone and call that man immediately and recant ur words and tell the truth: u filed those papers.”

Foster pleaded guilty earlier this week to a misdemeanor charge of accepting illegal gifts as a public official, and resigned her position on the school board.

    This article relates to: Education, Must Reads, School Leadership

    Written by Mario Koran

    Mario asks questions and writes stories about San Diego schools. Reach him directly at 619.325.0531, or by email: mario@vosd.org.

    33 comments
    Jim Lovell
    Jim Lovell

    So, when does SCPA get their principal back?  It would seem that the plea agreement doesn't do anything to resolve how the lives of so many families have been changed by the arrogant choice of one woman in power.  These families now are deprived of an expert in arts education with no recourse.

    EducatedMom
    EducatedMom subscribermember

    I just read the unsealed affidavit.  Wow--I think I need a shower to wash the dirt off.  Anyone who thinks that this is a vindictive reporting piece should see what the DA uncovered.  Before judging, follow the link at the top of the article and read the documents for yourself. 

    rhylton
    rhylton subscriber

    @EducatedMom  It may just be that you do need a shower. No need to blame anything or anyone.

    EducatedMom
    EducatedMom subscribermember

    @rhylton @EducatedMom Have you actually read the affidavit?  You think all those folks--including the father of two of her children--are lying in depositions, that emails on servers have been manufactured, and that this is some giant conspiracy?  I wanted to believe that Marne was just caught up by some "from the heart" mistakes, but the facts reported in the affidavit indicate she made a series of bad choices, including some that demonstrated genuine abuse of power and fraud, not just a minor omission in reporting a donation.  

    rhylton
    rhylton subscriber

    @EducatedMom @rhylton She pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of receiving gifts in excess of the legal limit of $460; only that and nothing more.


    The affidavit and the remainder of the investigative file, that you and others have read, doubtless contributed to your comments and to the feeding frenzy. Since I have read many false sworn statements, I would place no great weight of credence or credibility in what it may contain, especially in view of the lightweight nature of the plea. I doubt that were I subject to the scrutiny that Foster endured, I would have emerged blameless. And, as  I have said on this page, this publication knows of worse malfeasance and misfeasance and has pursued it with far less fervour or not at all. I surmised that may have something to do with the power of those who would have been pursued; Foster, in comparison, had none.

    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    @rhylton @EducatedMom rhylton, there is no doubt that you will defend Marne Foster to hell and back if possible . . . we get that! Kindly chill on the attacks on people voicing their dismay, sadness, anger, etc., at what they have read. We all have different ethical and moral compasses and yes, I agree with you that there are worse criminals than Marne Foster in political office . . . and that the high-powered binoculars were focused on Foster more so than her co-trustees and enablers . . . Bottom line every person that has been following what happened here, has been appalled, disappointed, angry, etc.

    Allow folks to express their feelings about this, however and whichever way they may . . . there is no feeding frenzy going on! There is no lynching of Marne Foster going on!

    High crimes have been exposed and MORE WILL BE EXPOSED in this matter!

    I would caution you to stop your highfalutin and disparaging comments to people (e.g., " It may just be that you do need a shower"), because you and other Foster defenders may end up getting her into more trouble eventually.

    For you to think that this is over and that all she got was the equivalent of a spit on the sidewalk, is extremely naïve.

    Low profile now for Foster and her defenders and let the citizenry vent all they want . . . it is their right to do so because they placed a lot of confidence in Foster and held her to high expectations!

    Is Michael Brunker at the YMCA not credible enough that he cut some YMCA ties with SDUSD over Foster's shenanigan???

    rhylton
    rhylton subscriber

    @Cornelius Ogunsalu @rhylton @EducatedMom I may be mistaken, but I have written not a single word in Foster's defense.  Rather than being cautioned, it is I who should caution you about your super-heated emotional denouncements that border on irrationality. My use of mockery is hardly an attack. Moreover; I like showers; I use them to relax and therefore now, for the reasons stated above, recommend them to you


    Highfallutin;  well done, sir. I will accept that, but I will object vigourously were you again to suggest that Foster is "a discredit to the Black community.".


    I shall sit corrected if you were to direct me to my words from hell or wherever, that are, as you put it,.defences of Foster. Mark you; plausible explanations and defences are different things.

    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    @rhylton I deal with people who don't see past my skin color [every single day] and have not succumbed to any ruse. I will stop right here with you on Foster, by saying this . . .  I truly wish Marne Foster the best.

    Regarding your last comments . . . smh!

    rhylton
    rhylton subscriber

    @Cornelius Ogunsalu @rhylton @EducatedMom It has nothing whatsoever to do with the so-called black community sir.  If she is a criminal (which she must be having plead guilty to the crime of accepting an improper gift) it is solely of her doing.


    If I told you once, I have told you a thousand times, this notion of a black community and credits/discredits to it has been used to justify abuses of black-skinned people. Be careful lest you provide ammunition to those who do not see beyond your skin-colour, just as some, surely, do not and  did not see beyond hers (Foster's.)


    I am personally appalled that you have succumbed to this ruse.


    Petulance in children is often alleviated by a nap. In adults, showers work sometimes. Take a shower sir.

    rhylton
    rhylton subscriber

    @Cornelius Ogunsalu @rhylton pusillanimity as expressed by " ... smh!" is often considered to be the same as cowardice. It is literally child spiritedness pusus=child animus= spirit. So please go take a nap.


    Sorry for being so dang highfalutin; it is a guttersnipe's affectation.

    rhylton
    rhylton subscriber

    @Cornelius Ogunsalu @rhylton You appear to have a full complement of compliments, sir, and very little else. Wazzock-cum-buffoon is a compliment or term of endearment, is it not?.


    I spent six (6) months working in Nigeria; 65 Opebi Road, Ikeja, and never came across it. Never heard it. It is something American, is it not? Remember that things posted on the internet are forever, You may not want to be forever associated with that gem.

    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    @rhylton @Cornelius Ogunsalu You have wandered too far away from the topic here! You have also forgotten that you threw the first salvo of [compliments] not only to me but to EducatedMom who, just like I was, was simply expressing her opinion to the article. You do not have a monopoly on insults and compliments!

    IF, and I say IF, you do have a grudge against VoSD regarding how they picked on Marne Foster, kindly take it up with the VoSD management, and stop taking it out on innocent readers expressing their diverse opinions. Also, stop giving out [negative] compliments to people you disagree with, that have NOT done you any wrong/s.

    Not sure [why] you continue to reference "Nigeria," it has NOTHING to do with this article and . . . what's with the address? I am glad you had a wonderful experience there. I have not been in nearly 30 years because San Diego is home to me. I am an American! Simple!!

    So, I ask you politely, to stop all these attacks you continue to pitch with everyone you disagree with over Foster or some other topic.

    Say your piece . . . express whatever emotions you have about a particular article and move on.

    The terms are English words, with definitions in the English dictionaries . . . look them up!

    Have a nice day!

    Maybe, . . . and I say, maybe, we will get to meet one day and you can share your wonderful experiences travelling the world. If not, then I wish you the best!!!

    rhylton
    rhylton subscriber

    @Cornelius Ogunsalu @rhylton I threw no salvos and I have forgotten nothing. And no I would not like to meet you. There is something mercurial that troubles me. 


    I mentioned Nigeria and mentioned my being there, only to authenticate my comments and to indicate that I am somewhat familiar with its customs, culture and history.


    A man with a Nigerian background, and breeding, need not descend to gutter expressions to make his point. Adapt to America, but there is no need to adopt its baser behaviours or crassness or to exhibit them publicly. Your parents and countrymen would not be proud, and, for what its worth, you disappoint me.. 


    Though you are an American citizen, you are Nigerian, sir. Be proud of it and act accordingly; not like some Wazzock-cum-buffoon.

    rhylton
    rhylton subscriber

    @Cornelius Ogunsalu @rhylton friends you say, we may very well be relatives. I grew up on Anansi stories. AFAIK I may be equal parts Nigerian and Ghanaian.


    The first time I travelled to Nigeria, I sat in the departure lounge at Kennedy next to a Nigerian woman. She asked where I was from and where I was going. She said "so you are going home." Until then I had never thought in those terms. 

    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    @rhylton @Cornelius Ogunsalu LOL . . . and here I was thinking that you were trying to befriend me, by calling out my national origin (Nigeria) including the specific places I am originally from, i.e., Abeokuta, Ogun State and where I grew up, i.e., Ikeja (right opposite Opebi).

    Don't get it twisted, I am [very] proud of my national origin. But you don't see me digging into your origins. You know [zilch] about me for you to try and authenticate any commentary on me or my background and upbringing.

    You are doing to me, exactly the same thing you have accused VoSD of doing to Marne Foster. Calling me out because I am originally from Nigeria (national origin discrimination) as you accuse VoSD of discriminating against Marne Foster because she is black (color discrimination). And you call me mercurial??? No offense taken :) .

    Well then, Mr. rhylton, stay on topic . . . this article is about Marne Foster's resignation from the BOE and not about me. You are in good company when it comes to those two words of endearment I hooked you up with! ;)

    Check this out: http://www.msn.com/en-us/video/peopleandplaces/british-lawmaker-trump-a-buffoon/vp-BBoo2Xw

    See, those are Members of the British Parliament recently calling Trump, who is potentially the next POTUS, those names for his [unbelievable] bigotry.

    And I got to use those two words in [one] sentence . . . no wonder you did not hear them in Nigeria when you were living on Opebi St. in Ikeja! ROTFLMAO!!

    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    @rhylton @Cornelius Ogunsalu LOL . . . glad you see the "wise, funny, mischievous, and loveable folk hero Anansi the Spider," in me.

    But you already declared that you don't want to meet me. How for do?

    When you were living on Opebi St., you may have looked at the other side of the valley dividing Opebi from Abule Onigbagbo, and seen where my parents' house still is. Before that I lived in GRA, Ikeja and as a kid, I sat at my grandmother's feet at night to listen to folk tales in Onike, Yaba.

    I had many Ghanaian friends growing up that I acquired a taste for eating kenke and dried fish with the ground red pepper paste. So, as you can see, I am very proud of my background . . .

    But, we digress again . . .


    WHAT we seek now, are solutions to what has befallen and is befalling SDUSD! Who will replace Marne?

    Who are the next folks at SDUSD to fall out of the picture and how do we quickly start putting that house in order?

    I was once a teacher at SDUSD and loved and still love the district despite the egregious, unlawful and unconstitutional things I have been put through . . . things that most people would have never survived.

    So, we should all start focusing on moving forward to quickly remove the bad eggs from SDUSD and put competent people with the utmost integrity in place.

    And we should not forget to thank Mario and VoSD for allowing people the opportunity to experience honest and down-to-earth news reporting on issues that affect us all . . . including having heated dialogues like these . . .

    Any who . . . AFAIK we may truly "very well be relatives." LOL!!!

    Anniej
    Anniej subscriber

    Perhaps someone should request copies of Board members and Superintendents 700 forms - yes, they are available to the public. And IF they have been amended, well, the date of any amendments might prove to be enlightening.

    francesca
    francesca subscriber

    Since Cindy Marten released email, from many of her high ranking employees, scapegoating them for what only she had the power to do...(fire the SCPA principal, for example)...why??

    Why haven't we seen any of Cindy Marten's e-mail on this subject or any subject?

    Is that available through public record request?

    Too expensive? 

    I'll give a few dollars to a gofundme page to see that.

    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    I just read the Marne Foster warrant and was happy to see that at least one high profile member of the Southeast San Diego community [advised] Marne Foster to step down and resign once he figured out that Foster was behind the $250,000 claim. I am sure there were other people who similarly advised her to resign from the SDUSD Board of Education.

    Now that the public has access to this document, it is [time] for some other trustees and key SDUSD personnel to consider tendering their resignations because what has been revealed in the warrant indicates a systemic problem of key individuals at SDUSD, who are in it for personal gain . . . any which way they can get it. With all the millions of dollars in Prop. funding, it appears that some of our trustees have dollar signs in their eyes.

    Like I said, now that Foster is out, the high-powered binoculars are now focused on Barrera, Evans and Beiser. Who is next to tender his resignation from the SDUSD BOE?

    Mr. B, the ball is in your court!

    rhylton
    rhylton subscriber

    @Cornelius Ogunsalu It seems possible that a.) She believed her son was harmed (anyone know?); b.) She did not want her name to appear on the claim due to her position on the school board; c.) She made some bad choices on disclosure and tactics.


    More than a few people, myself included, seem to believe that her skin-colour was a propellant in and contributed to the doggedness of her pursuit (by this publication) and the decision to prosecute; I prefer to use persecute, especially since she pled guilty to the functional equivalent of spitting on the sidewalk; i.e. accepting a gift above the amount permitted by law.


    Happy to see no "discredit to the black community comments."

    francesca
    francesca subscriber

    For Kathy and others interested in seeing the original documents, go to:

    districtdeeds.wordpress.com

    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    @francesca That is where I found it . . . no wonder Engle was mum for a while . . . LOL! The blog also played an important role here and is playing an important role in making people at SDUSD accountable.

    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    Just as I suspected, the other members of the Board at that time (i.e., when Scott Barnett was still trustee) KNEW that the $250,000 claim was [written] by Foster.

    Foster will not go down quietly . . . she will sing a different song eventually, and expose some of the inside dealings of the Board. I believe that Beiser, Barrera and Evans should also resign quietly because they participated in deceiving the public by covering up for Foster.

    That way a brand new and untainted school board will reconvene and remove all the bad tastes in our mouths.

    Seriously, Barrera . . . everything is copacetic at SDUSD??????

    Justin h
    Justin h subscriber

    I find Marne Foster and Cindy Marten's relationship to be really confusing. Did they like each other? Work well together? Was their animosity about the suit?

    SherryS
    SherryS subscriber

    I understand why you would want to go to the source documents and read them for yourself. But I don't understand how --or why-- you would accuse someone of cherry picking if you have not seen the available information.

    SherryS
    SherryS subscriber

    The difference between Mario's reporting and your comment is that Mario's statements are based on facts and supported by evidence. You may not believe the evidence and you SHOULD look at the evidence, but it's supported. Just the kind of writing my daughter is learning to do in 4th grade. Your comment on the other hand is a bald assertion of improper behavior which on its face admits you have absolutely no evidence or facts to support it. My daugher's San Diego Unified 4th grade teacher would not accept that as 4th grade level work.

    David
    David subscriber

    Its sounding like Cindy Martin new about and stayed mostly silent about the suit against SDUSD? 

    Dennis
    Dennis subscriber

    @David Endorsed? Sounds like incredulous wonderment from the story presented. 

    Dennis
    Dennis subscriber

    @David I definitely think Cindy Marten would have handled this very differently if she new the real, Mom before board member, Marne Foster at the time. IMO, maybe she trusted Marne's judgment to much in the beginning of the SCPA debacle without seeing any red flags?