Sex harassment claim against ex-LAUSD chief settled for $200,000
This post has been amended.
The Los Angeles Unified School District on Wednesday announced the settlement of a sexual harassment claim against retired Supt. Ramon C. Cortines by a senior employee in the facilities division.
The claim alleges that Cortines made unwanted advances on Scot Graham, director of leasing and asset management, during a single encounter at Cortines' ranch in Kern County in July 2010.
Cortines, 79, regarded as one of the nation's most respected superintendents, retired from the district in April 2011. His successor, John Deasy, already had been named to the top position. There's no indication that the alleged incident hastened Cortines' retirement, which had been expected for some time.
Graham's attorney notified the district that he intended to file a claim of sexual harassment in March. The Board of Education voted 4-3 to approve a settlement Tuesday. Graham will receive $200,000 plus lifetime health benefits, estimated at a value of $250,000.
Graham, 56, played a key role in the school system's massive school construction program, but did not report directly to Cortines. As part of the settlement, Graham will leave his $150,000-a-year job with the school system.
Cortines, in a statement, admitted to bad judgment but said the encounter was consensual and that no harassment occurred.
Correction: A previous version of this post identified Graham as the director of leasing and assessment management. He was the director of leasing and asset management.
-- Howard Blume
Photo: Ramon Cortines in 2009. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times