Santa Clara Unified Trustee Christopher Stampolis apparently hasn’t complied with the school district’s demand that he disclose the nature of his consulting activities for the Laborers International Union, Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coalition; which paid him $5,000 a month from 2012 through Oct. 2015, according to U.S. Dept. of Labor records (www.dol.gov/olms).
A hearing is scheduled in Santa Clara Superior Court on Apr. 26 at 9 a.m. SCUSD is asking for “further response and request for production of documents” and for sanctions against Stampolis.
Last August, with the discussion of a Project Labor Agreement – on the board agenda, SCUSD officials asked public law specialist Sherman Wong for a legal opinion on Stampolis’ possible conflict of interest as a result of his consulting income.
Stampolis’ response to the request that he disclose the nature of his consulting agreement was to challenge the conduct of the meeting; call Wong a “liar,” incompetent, self-interested, hostile, politically motivated, and engaged in a conspiracy with SCUSDC Superintendent Stan Rose; and urge audience members to demand Rose’s resignation.
The records show that last August, while Stampolis was denying that he would receive tangible benefit from a PLA, the Organizing Coalition was paying him $5,000 on the first of every month.
By his own admission, Stampolis was employed by the union during the time he served on the West Valley Mission Community College District board; and participated in that board’s vote in Nov. 2012 to enter into a PLA for Measure C bond construction projects. Stampolis voted against the motion. He did not disclose his financial interests on the public record at the time, although he alleged at the August meeting this was “widely known.”
Stampolis’ ties with the Laborers union go back years.
He represented the union at a 2009 Dublin, Calif. City Council meeting to discuss that city’s labor guidelines. In 2010 Stampolis was listed on Zoominfo.com as Political Director and Director, Government Relations for Laborers Local 304 in Hayward.
In 2013, he attended an Alum Rock School District board meeting withLaborers Local 270 Business Manager Enrique Arguello to present a stop payment order against a plumbing contractor. The same year, minutes from the Aug. 1, 2013 County Democratic Central Committee meeting record Stampolis stating that “Laborers local 270 can provide grant money for [local Democratic] clubs,” and that “prevailing wage for chartered cities is a big issue.”
Public officials who intentionally fail to disclose conflicts of interest can be fined, imprisoned and barred from holding public office.
Girlfriend’s Residence Under Scrutiny
Stampolis is also part of another schools-related investigation. This one involves his girlfriend,Imperial County, Calif. school board member, Annette Gonzalez-Buttner.
The Imperial County District Attorney is investigating whether Gonzalez-Buttner’s legal residence is Santa Clara instead of Calexico, which she represents. Her children are enrolled in Santa Clara Unified schools, as school yearbooks show. To enroll children in school, parents must show proof they reside in the school district.
SCUSD officials declined to comment on whether an investigation is being conducted here. California law is vague on whether or not elected school officials must reside in the district – only that they be registered to vote there when elected. Gonzalez-Buttner is not registered to vote in Santa Clara County.
The Desert Review broke the story at the end of February, after receiving email about the allegation – circulating since last spring – from the husband of Peterson Middle School Principal Susan Harris. Harrisobtained a permanent restraining order against Stampolis in 2014 following the trustee’s threatening behavior when she tried to talk to him about his habitual lateness picking up his child.
Stampolis and Gonzalez-Buttner acknowledged to the Desert Review they’re romantically involved and that Gonzalez-Buttner”spends time in Santa Clara” at Stampolis’ apartment. But she insisted that didn’t preclude serving on the Imperial County board and claimingCalexico as her primary residence.She told the Desert Review they’ve known each other since they worked together in the San Jose Catholic Diocese’s youth ministry 25 years ago.
At an Oct. 2014 Imperial County board meetingshe made a losing motionto let trustees attend meetings by telephone. Minutes show that her attendance is regular.
Gonzalez-Buttner’s response to reporter Gary Redfern’s questions about her residency was to attack the Harrises; saying she wasn’t “going to accept rightwing white folks telling me, a brown Mexican-American woman, to hush up and know my place. Someone has to step up and speak truth to oppression.”
She further said the Harrises were white Republicans”with no plan to prioritize fixing … underachievement, nor Peterson’s consistent refusal to provide a daily after-school homework center.” The Harrises are registered Democrats, and Greg Harris doesn’t work for SCUSD.
Stampolis hastried several times to get the school district or city to provide after-school day care at Peterson (which is in Sunnyvale). Last month he applied for a mid-term appointment to a vacant Santa Clara City Council seat, noting that one priority would be after school care.
Stampolis is estranged from his wife, Santa Clara County School Board Trustee Anna Song. He served her with divorce papers shortly before Mothers Day, 2014. A few months later Stampolis claimed that Song assaulted him and had her arrested. A family court judge tossed out Stampolis’ claims; denying his requests for sole custody of their children and a restraining order against Song.