NEWS RELEASE   FROM:
Jeffrey F. Rosen, District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON:
John Chase, Deputy District Attorney
Public Integrity Unit
(408)792-2595   For release on February 18, 2011     LUTHER BURBANK SCHOOL DISTRICT TRUSTEE PLEADS NO CONTEST TO THREE MISDEMEANORS IN CONFLICT OF INTEREST CASE   On February 17, 2011, 42-year-old Antonio Perez of San Jose entered no contest pleas in Santa Clara County Superior Court to three misdemeanor charges for violating conflict of interest laws during his tenure as a school board trustee for the Luther Burbank School District in San Jose. In the interest of justice and as part of the negotiated disposition, the District Attorney’s Office asked the Court to dismiss one additional misdemeanor and five felony conflict of interest charges at the sentencing hearing, which is scheduled to take place on April 14. The misdemeanor charges are punishable by up to six months in the county jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, the convictions carry a four-year ban on holding public office.   The conflict of interest laws referenced in the criminal complaint against Mr. Perez prohibit government officials from (1) having a financial interest in a public contract or (2) participating in an official decision in which the official has a financial interest. During his eight years as a school board trustee, Mr. Perez, who is a woodworker by trade, voted to award contracts to Blach Construction Company, which had three times hired Mr. Perez for woodworking services on projects unrelated to the Luther Burbank School District. Although Mr. Perez did not stand to benefit directly from the school construction contracts, the law provides that his prior income from Blach Construction Company gave him a prohibited financial interest in the decisions to award the contracts.   The convictions in this case are the culmination of an eighteen month criminal investigation that began when the 2008-2009 civil grand jury released its report on the Luther Burbank School District Board of Trustees. In that report, the grand jury noted Mr. Perez’ conflict of interest violations among several other findings and recommendations concerning the school board’s practices and policies. These convictions should serve to warn public officials to be mindful of conflict of interest laws when conducting public affairs and to err on the side of caution whenever a possibility of a financial interest in an official decision arises.   ###​

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