Superintendent With Outrageous Salary Charged With Corruption

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — A former school board superintendent who made more than $600,000 in a year has been charged with a dozen counts of corruption.

The charges were filed Wednesday against 57-year-old Jose Fernandez, who drew the massive compensation package despite overseeing just a handful of schools in the Centinela Valley Union High School District.

In 2013, Fernandez’s wages for purposes of the retirement plan totaled more than $750,000, nearly $500,000 more than the next highest paid employee, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Three years after his firing, Fernandez was charged with six counts of conflict of interest, three of misappropriation of public funds, two of grand theft and one of embezzlement.

Prosecutors say he manipulated the school board and its policies to dramatically increase his pay, and unlawfully created supplemental retirement programs to benefit himself. Fernandez was fired from the district in 2014.

He was arrested Wednesday and is being held on $495,000 bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, but prosecutors announced his arraignment would be pushed back 24 hours.

The Daily Breeze, the local newspaper in the district, won a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for uncovering Fernandez’s earnings and methods.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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