The needler in the haystack.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Has Logan-Leach exposed BOE (=taxpayers) to liability?


BOE President Lisa Logan-Leach and member Renata Hernandez,
at right in photo of May 7 joint Council-BOE meeting.

[A power outage yesterday delayed this post.]

Have the actions of Plainfield Board of Ed president Lisa Logan-Leach around the abortive 'emergency' meeting of May 7th exposed the Board (read: taxpayers) to legal liability?

Maria Pellum has posted a large cache of emails between Logan-Leach and various parties obtained through OPRA requests. I find the sequence dealing with the May 7 'emergency' meeting of particular interest (see post here).

What can we learn from the emails and what questions do they raise?

Logan-Leach sent the text of the resolutions (a scan of the original handout is online here; the text of the resolutions is at the top of Maria's string of emails) to the Board office at 12:35 PM the day of the 'emergency' meeting.

  • Question: Who composed the text of the Resolutions (suspending Gallon and Kemp, appointing Ottman acting CSA, terminating Hunt, Hamlin and Ridley, and appointing Weiner Lesniak as Counsel?

  • Question: If the Resolutions were composed by Weiner Lesniak and Logan-Leach relied on that firm's advice rather than the contracted Board attorneys, did Logan-Leach expose the Board to liability in case of civil actions regarding any of the resolutions?

  • Question: Were the conditions for an emergency meeting met (under the criteria of the Open Public Meetings Act)?

  • Question: Was the Board going to be under the protection of 'acting on advice of counsel' if it met and took up the mysteriously-prepared resolutions?

  • Question: Why is the proposed switch of Board attorneys to Weiner Lesniak an emergent matter?
Logan-Leach asserts that the 'request and direction for [the meeting] come directly from the County Superintendent's office' and 'every aspect of this meeting is in full compliance as per the county and the commissioner's office'.

  • Question: Does this mean the County Superintendent was aware of, and approved, the inclusion of the hiring of Weiner Lesniak and the termination of Hunt, Hamlin and Ridley as Board attorneys?

  • Question: Does this mean that Commissioner Schundler was aware of, and approved, the inclusion of the hiring of Weiner Lesniak and the termination of Hunt, Hamlin and Ridley as Board attorneys?
The naked grab for the Board's business implied by Weiner Lesniak partner Mark A. Tabakin's (see profile here) emails to Logan-Leach raises the question of attorney ethics, in my opinion.

Do not lawyers have any code of ethics about soliciting business from parties who have an existing contract with another firm?

Even real estate professionals (of which I am one) have a Code of Ethics forbidding the solicitation of a client's business while they are under contract to another broker. With the penalty of a fine.

Do not lawyers rise to even this level of ethical accountability?

Are lawyers no better than used car salesmen?

No wonder Shakespeare held the opinion of them he did (see here).

Regardless of all that, the chief question concerning Plainfielders (and their pocketbooks) is whether Logan-Leach's actions will yet cost us dearly.

And that we may not know for some time.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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14 comments:

vickey said...

Oh I see, nobody had nothing to say, huh? Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should have something to say. The actions that Lisa Logan-Leach took were wrong. The board member's allowed it. This new board will have cost the district millions of dollars by the the end of the year in law suits. We know the lesinak firm prepared the resolution for Lisa Logan-Leach and there will be copies of the resolution to show the community.

olddoc said...

A plug for myself. I believe that my 8/25/10 blog questioned the ethics of the Board's Counsel in warning nay threatening, Board members from attending the meeting. I also raised the question of Logan-Leach and Tabakian of Weiner Lesniak involvement prior to the meeting.Since there was no meeting there probably is no grounds for suits.

Anonymous said...

Dan,

There should be questions ringing from the rooftops around this issue.

This shows that there was a conspiracy in play and Lisa Logan Leach WILL be left holding the criminal bag.

Sources say that there WILL be lawsuits coming soon. Hunt Hamlin and Ridley I'm sure will be taking action. Kemp has already showed her prowess by having her case in Plainfield overturned. Gallon in my opinion has been TOO quiet for him not to be keeping tabs on this missteps.

The BOE will probably pay dearly in the long run but the students will suffer the most.

Dan said...

Thanks, Doc. Sorry I didn't mention your post. I'm not sure about your conclusions, tho.

Tho I certainly am no lawyer, I wonder if making the resolutions (even though moot) public may be actionable, since names are named and no Rice notice(s) were given, which is acknowledged in the emails of both LLL and Tabakin.

And I also wonder if this 'getting the cart ahead of the horse' is the reason that the BOE and the attorneys are so tigh-lipped about Gallon's exact status.

Lastly, it is -- to me -- outrageous on the face of it that LLL appears to have been colluding with Weiner Lesniak (if not others also, perhaps the Assemblyman?) in the business of these resolutions.

LLL implies both Centuolo and the Commissioner's office supported the attorney change with her language that every single thing comports with what the County and State wanted. I wonder...

And whether or not it was legal, the sleaze factor was off the charts!

Anonymous said...

Dan

I did not see any evidence from the county and recently fired Commissioner.

Where's the beef?

The e-mail trail all land on LLL and MT. Even the Assemblyman's hands are not tied up in the string of e-mails.

I did not see a written response from Centulo even when LLL was seemingly pleading for dear life.

What a tangle web we weave.

olddoc said...

I reviewed the available min utes on line and could not find the list of various legal firms retained for various specific needs including the Board Counsel. If memory is right Hunt,Hamlin,and Ridley were awarded a specific contract perhaps for compensation cases. Where is the list located?

Dan said...

@ 12:44 PM and Doc --

You're better off asking Maria, she's putting all this together.

http://crescent-times.blogspot.com/

Her more recent post covers the problems she is having getting Centuolo information, but she is making an end run to the State which may work out.

As for the new attorneys, Hunt Ridley did get just one piece, can't remember which but it might be workman's comp.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately for you, your daily lap-dogs lap it all up.

There is nothing here. You are running wild on speculation.

Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...

Dan,

Re: the lawyers, you are right, Hunt, Hamlin, and Ridley were left as just the "worker's comp law firm". Pickett and Craig are now the General Counsel. I have asked couple of times over the last three months about the payment and compensation package for each of these law firms, I have been told by the BOE president that such an agreement will be announced when it is ready to be announced. The new law firms configuration was over two months ago.

I also find it interesting how intense some of your readers are trying to minimize the BOE issues. Hopefully they are right and we have nothing in our hands. Nothing would please me more.

Anonymous said...

Dan with the picture it looks like Mr Mapp is wearing some kind of goofy hat on his head Nice angle

Dan said...

@ 7:27 PM -- You're paying attention to the wrong stuff, just llike Gov. Christie's 'Race to the Top' grant team.

Anonymous said...

Maria,

I hope that no one is trying to minimize this issue. It seems as if not unethical, something criminal may have occurred with the actions of LLL and MT.

Let's see how much outrage comes out of this from the community. I would hope that since this has been made public thanks to you that some law enforcement agency is investigating. If not that would be a crime in itself.

Anonymous said...

Logan Leache has long sought the BOE president position. In no time she has successfully managed to place the board in serious legal troubles which will be costly to Plainfield taxpayers.

The board as a whole is going to have to reel her in if not have her removed. Her string of e-mails show that removal was a strong possibility.

With all of the talk of accountability lets see if the board starts with one its own.