School Board Investigators Haven't Visited Address on Claim

Education UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

School Board Investigators Haven't Visited Address on Suspicious Claim

Investigators have not talked to the residents of a home whose address is on the suspicious $250,000 claim a school board member is accused of writing. The probe was supposed to last a month but has carried on much longer.

Sixty-nine days into what was supposed to be a 30-day probe of two incidents involving school board president Marne Foster, it appears investigators haven’t yet checked out some basic information.

On Sept. 29, San Diego Unified’s board of trustees approved a motion to hire an independent investigator to look into two allegations involving Foster: that she failed to follow proper rules on a fundraiser she held to benefit her sons, and that she was secretly behind a legal claim seeking $250,000 from the district.

The latter issue stemmed from a 2014 legal complaint submitted in the name of John Marsh, the father of Foster’s son, seeking $250,000 from the district. The complaint said that an unflattering college evaluation of the son, then a student at the School of Creative and Performing Arts, was “willfully damaging” and caused trauma to the family. The district dismissed the complaint with no payment.

In September, Marsh told us that Foster actually wrote the claim. He said Foster was providing him with a place to live at the time, and when she asked him to sign a blank complaint form, he obliged.

A warning at the bottom of the complaint form says that filing a false complaint is a criminal offense.

Two months into the investigation over the claim, investigators have apparently not visited the address listed at the top of the claim form.

According to the county assessor’s office, the house at the address in Emerald Hills belongs to the King family, and is secured by a living trust. Currently Charles Kahalifa King, Foster’s uncle, lives at the address.

Kahalifa and his son Adrien came to the door when we visited.

“John Marsh doesn’t live here,” said King. “John Marsh has never lived here.”

King said it’s a mystery to him why his address was listed on the form. He said neither Marsh nor Foster lives there, or has mail sent to the house.

King said nobody from the school district has contacted him to ask why his address was listed on the complaint.

Superior Court records indicate there’s been family tension over who should care for George King, the family’s ailing patriarch. That might explain some of the drama Kahalifa mentioned.

Foster did not return a request for comment.

Pamela Naughton, whose firm was hired by San Diego Unified to look into allegations against Foster, said she can’t comment on the investigation.

The investigation does not include the most explosive accusation against Foster: that she pressured Superintendent Cindy Marten to remove Mitzi Lizarraga, the principal of the School of Creative and Performing Arts, for personal reasons.

A district spokesperson said earlier this week there is still nothing definitive about when the investigation will be completed.

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