Felony charges hit LA school board president: Whistle blower tells all

The president of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education and his cousin were charged Wednesday with more than two dozen criminal counts for allegedly reimbursing nearly $25,000 to donors he listed on a campaign finance form.

Refugio “Ref” Rodriguez — who became president of the school board this summer — was charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to commit assumed name contribution, perjury and procuring and offering a false or forged instrument, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Rodriguez, 46, is also charged with 25 misdemeanor counts of assumed name contribution.

His cousin, Elizabeth Tinajero Melendrez, 45, was charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit assumed name contribution and 25 misdemeanor counts of assumed name contribution.

Both defendants appeared in court in downtown Los Angeles, but their arraignment was postponed until Oct. 24.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Ser told the court that Rodriguez “breached the public trust.” She said the alleged violations were brought to the attention of prosecutors by a “whistleblower” whom she did not name.

Rodriguez and Melendrez stood with their attorneys as Superior Court Judge Deborah Brazil rejected a prosecution request for bail and allowed the defendants to remain free on their own recognizance. Brazil did order that their passports be surrendered at their next court appearance in October. Click here to read more: https://mynewsla.com/crime/2017/09/13/felony-charges-hit-la-school-board-president-whistle-blower-tells-all/