LAUSD Board President and Cousin Charged With Campaign Fraud

By City News Service

Ref Rodriguez, president of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, was charged today with conspiracy, perjury and other counts for allegedly reimbursing nearly $25,000 to donors he listed on a campaign finance form in 2014.

LAUSD President Ref Rodriguez

LAUSD President Ref Rodriguez

He and his cousin, Elizabeth Tinajero Melendrez, who was also charged in the case, are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in downtown Los Angeles.

Rodriguez — who became president of the school board this summer — will be 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, is charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit assumed name contribution and 25 misdemeanor counts of assumed name contribution.

Prosecutors allege Rodriguez raised more than $50,000 during the first campaign reporting period that ended in December 2014 and that 25 donors  — most of whom were family members and friends — were allegedly paid back $24,250 by Rodriguez and Melendrez.

The donors’ names had been listed on a campaign finance report that was allegedly signed by Rodriguez under the penalty of perjury and submitted to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, which received a whistleblower complaint in March 2015 about Rodriguez’s fund-raising activities, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Rodriguez and Melendrez were charged following an additional investigation by the District Attorney’s Office.

David Holmquist, attorney for the LAUSD, said the district is aware of the criminal charges.

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September 13, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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