Though I whole heartedly supported the renewal of Principal James Montesano, I as a resident did question the method in which the Board authorized the renewal of the three administrators' contracts. I also questioned Patricia Aquino Lozano's fitness for the position of Vice Principal based on morality. I addressed my concerns at Board of Education meetings, and through a letter.
Though the crux of this matter was the dissenting Board Trustees wanting to put an end to political hirings, the public turned the meetings into racially charged protests. Students attended the meetings with signs referencing their "Latino majority." The then-Mayor Jorge Meneses accused Trustee Martinez of a betrayal of her Latina heritage. Teacher Cori Carroll (spoke at a meeting, while turning to the crowds waving for cheer as if to incite a riot) accused the Board of creating racial tensions and making political decisions. I can only wonder if Carroll spoke with first-hand knowledge of politics. After all it is her father, Charles McAulliffe, who served as a campaign manager for, and was appointed as a councilman on, a Zisa/Hurwitz controlled council. But I digress.....
Despite her contract renewal, Aquino Lozano filed a lawsuit in Federal Court alleging that Board Trustee Carol Martinez retaliated against her for her political affiliation with the Zisa family. Aquino Lozano also alleged that Martinez, by using information that was improperly obtained from her employee file to petition to the State Board of Examiners, deprived her of her right to privacy.
US District Court Judge William Martini heard a motion to dismiss Aquino Lozano's case. He granted that motion and ruled in favor of Defendant Martinez. Martini noted that Aquino Lozano "failed to set forth sufficient facts" to support her claims that Martinez retaliated against her based on political affiliation, deprived her of her civil rights, or that she suffered any adverse employment action. Martini declined the right to rule over the State claims for a deprivation of civil rights or rights to privacy, he did however dismiss the case in it's entirety without prejudice.
In an itemized budget, Allied World Assurance Company projected a $200,825 cost for the defense of Carol Martinez in this action. Though the total cost thus far is not yet identified by The Scoop, the itemized budget shows that pretrial costs including a dispositive motion (which was granted) were projected to total $57,075. According to a Trustee of the Board, who declined to be identified, the Board was responsible for $10,000 of these costs.
Despite Judge Martini's noting a lack of evidence, Aquino Lozano refiled her case in State Court. The legal meter just continues to tick.
Trustee Martinez declined to comment as litigation is still pending, she did however say that it was sad that tax payer money was being wasted on unnecessary litigation. Aquino Lozano referred her attorney Louis Zayas for comment, a call to his office was unanswered and his mailbox was full.