Russell Pearce's "Patriots" Prevaricate Their Carbuncles Off About Sequoia Schools Lawsuit

Pearce's smear of Lewis is one big bag of bull

Do self-described "patriots" have a problem with the truth? They do when they're working for state Senate President Russell Pearce.

This attack ad from the group "Patriots for Pearce," run by Jesse Hernandez, a staffer for Republican Arizona Congressman David Schweikert, picks up on the spin given by pro-Pearce lobbyist and blogger Greg Patterson regarding a lawsuit brought by a former employee of Children First Academy in Tempe against CFA's owner, Sequoia Charter School, Inc.

It's important to note that Lewis, who was the principal of CFA (a former Thomas J. Pappas School for homeless children) and is still an assistant superintendent for Sequoia, is not a defendant in the wrongful termination lawsuit brought by a former fundraiser and assistant principal for the school, Diane Fernichio.

Fernichio, an at-will employee, was terminated July 23, 2010. According to Sequoia's Superintendent Ron Neil, it was he who made the decision to eliminate Fernichio's position for budget reasons, not Lewis. 

In any case, Fernichio alleges that one of the reasons she was fired is that she objected to "the gift by Jerry Lewis of certain donated items to a recently employed teacher/friend of Mr. Lewis which was to be used at a garage sale for her personal use."

Though the complaint does not go into detail about this incident, the unnamed teacher mentioned is kindergarten instructor Heather Glass. Two summers ago, Glass was planning a yard sale to help finance her future adoption of a child from Ethiopia.

Glass explained to me that there were two boxes of used clothing and an old entertainment center that had been donated to CFA, which were on their way to a thrift store. Apparently, the school sometimes receives donations it can't use, and these usually end up being donated to another charity.

Lewis allowed Glass to take the items for the yard sale, but she and her husband didn't end up selling the stuff.

"We had too many things donated to us," she said. "We looked through the boxes and they were things we didn't think we could sell, so we ended up taking these boxes and a few other things that were donated to us to Deseret Industries."

FYI: Deseret Industries is a non-profit, Goodwill-type chain of thrift stores sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

The entertainment center, a piece of furniture used to hold a TV set, wasn't sold at the yard sale either. So Glass and her spouse returned it to the school, and it was eventually taken off the school's hands by a family of one of the kids there.

Glass concedes that $1,000 was made from the yard sale. But the money raised came from various items donated by members of her family and her community. She said she and her husband, and another couple looking to adopt, ran the yard sale and shared in the proceeds.

Superintendent Neil told me that one of the problems the school has in regards to donations is that much of what they get in donated goods is unusable for its purposes.

"What people don't understand is when they spread this kind of poison, they think they're maybe hurting Jerry," he explained. "But they're really hurting the children. Because even though we do get a lot of stuff that's not so good, we do get a lot of stuff for those kids that's very useful and we're very grateful for them."

Neil is worried that because of this teapot tempest, whipped up by irresponsible bloggers and political operatives, people might be less likely to give items to Children First.

"I would say that before we yell fire in a theater, people have some due diligence to do," he offered.

But people like Patterson and Hernandez are not interested in due diligence. They know that their best shot is to put the prevarication out there. Debunking the bunk takes a second. Meanwhile, the smear gets repeated over and over again, morphing each time, like some sinister version of the kids game "telephone."

For the record, I did attempt to talk to Fernichio, who is now director of development at Concordia Charter School. She referred me to her lawyer Leo Condos. 

Condos said he was unaware of the entertainment center, but admitted that Glass was the teacher in question, and that the incident did involve used clothing. He said Lewis should have had board approval before allowing Glass to take the clothing. 

"Private individuals are not allowed to benefit from a non-profit," he stated. "You could lose your non-profit exemption [by doing so]."

But if Glass gave the stuff to Deseret, what's the big deal?

"She can give it to anybody she wants," he responded. "But it is improper for a not-for-profit to give non-profit stuff to private individuals unless it's a donation to them."

I get the point, but these 'taters still seem pretty tiny. As for whether not this was the reason Fernichio was fired is another question.

Sequoia's counsel Debora Verdier argues in her reply that Fernichio did not have a "fully executed, valid contract," as it was not signed by Superintendent Neil. And indeed, the contract supplied to the court by Condos is blank where Neil's signature should be. 

Below this, it states that, "After signature by the Superintendent, the Employee will receive an official copy back."

Verdier further argues that even if the contract had been valid, it contains a provision stating that, "School or Employee may terminate this agreement and the employment of Employee at any time without cause upon fourteen calendar days notice."

To which, Condos retorts that Fernichio did not get her two weeks notice. However, he admits that though her termination was immediate, she continued to be paid for three weeks, though she was no longer working for the school.

Interestingly, the court has recently awarded some yet-to-be determined legal fees to Sequoia's lawyers because they were having a tough time getting responses from Condos. Condos claims this was due to staffing issues.

Needless to say, in the history of lawsuits, this ain't no Paper Chase-type stuff. The big picture: There's no evidence of Lewis "stealing" from anyone, and to suggest otherwise is an outright falsehood.

"I think the lawsuit is ridiculous," Glass said. "I've worked for Jerry for two years, and he is such a good principal and such a good person. If this is what they're finding out about him, it must mean they're worried."

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43 comments
Coni
Coni

What's up with the Cap'n Kirk haircut? Damn grrrrrrllllll!!

Someone Who Knows BETTER!
Someone Who Knows BETTER!

The woman "Diane" who is suing the schools stole a database of donors and has basically taken food out of the students a CFA's mouths... Also clothes off their backs! This is just pure ugly vindictiveness from a woman who was let go.. Wrongfully or not she is HURTING homeless children with her slander of the schools for homeless!

Someone who knows better
Someone who knows better

He is no longer the Principal at CFA... Just to correct some of your information....

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

Thanks for that. Duly noted. I had been informed he was still principal, but I see from CFA's Website this is incorrect and I have made the correction above.

Jason
Jason

Yup, and seeing Pearce wear it nauseates me.

Pearce isn't a real patriot. He's too dimwitted to even know the definition of the word.

Now, a REAL patriot is someone like Lewis. Anyone and everyone who is registered to vote in LD18 needs to vote Lewis on 11/8. 

Jason
Jason

A real patriot is someone like Lewis. Lewis has fought a clean fight all the way around, landing solid blows and knocking Pearce down.

Pearce is a false patriot. Pearce resorts to sleaze and corruption, including possibly committing a Class 5 felony for his role in the Cortes "campaign," to delusionally believe he will retain his Senate seat. Pearce needs to (1) stop using the term "patriot," because he is not one, has never been one, and will never be one, and (2) resign from the Senate and hang his head in disgrace and shame.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Sorry Jason, a sociopath like Pearce is incapable of feeling disgrace or shame. These feelings require that one possess a "Conscience." Something Pearce is missing.

P.S. I worked with many sociopaths on forensic psych units and Pearce meets the diagnostic criteria for this personality disorder.

Jason
Jason

I agree wholeheartedly.

When can we put Pearce in his straitjacket and and toss him in the mental institution?

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

"When you can't beat a man on the facts, you go after the person." - Russell Pearce, September 2011, LD-18 Republicans Meeting

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Actions, not symbols, define a patriot. He's just a big sack of horseshit in a flag shirt.

teknik1200
teknik1200

now lets see if the media also plays this up on cue from Pierce's propaganda team.

PDALewis
PDALewis

Lewis is the real sham candidate. A Union Puppet

Jason
Jason

You're a real sham. Do us all a favor and STFU. The posters on this forum have better things to do than to listen to you babble and hear your drivel about your hero and savior Pearce.

KKKPearce
KKKPearce

Your obsession with Randy Parraz is getting creepy. 

Reggie VV
Reggie VV

Gee, Lester, I mean PDA Lewis, trying to build something out of nothing is a real tribute to the Pearce family.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Sorry, Goober. Fantasyland is in Anaheim, California - not on this forum.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

LOL, Disney will hire this tea bagger in a heart beat for his very active imagination, whether or not this tea bagger can keep the job long enough to collect the second paycheck is another story.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

I can sympathize with what you are saying Shadeaux, but I think Mr. Lewis is a lot more intelligent and humane and will make a better legislator than Rus-SELL was on his best day, and the biggest advantage Mr. Lewis has is that he is not Rus-SELL Pearce, at this point I would vote for Charles Manson just to get rid of that PROVEN FAILURE they call pearce.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Sorry US, but in a district where only 40+ yr. old white MORmON males can be elected(according to this week's article in the Republic), replacing one white MORmON male conservative with another white MORmON male conservative does not give me reason to believe anything will change.

Jason
Jason

Lewis has help from my buddies in Boston. It's nice to know that even on the East Coast, people know how mentally sick and corrupt Pearce is.

Jason
Jason

I live in Mesa, in LD19, and I want Pearce out on his ass.

Lewis for LD18 senator.

Jason
Jason

You're a puppet, working for Pearce? No wonder you're so mentally sick.

Jason
Jason

You are a FAILURE, just like Pearce.  

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Mr. Parraz as well as most people want the corrupt, treasonous, felonious, racist,  and wife beater called Rus-SELL Pearce recalled from office, he however had nothing to do with recruiting Mr. Jerry Lewis, NO ONE directly associated with Citizens for a Better Arizona had anything to do with recruiting him or his on going campaign.  I am pleased to inform you that I on the other hand did donate $200 to CBA to help recall this asshole, and another $200 towards Mr. Lewis campaign to put the final nail in his coffin, my wife donated also, as well as most of my friends, so if you want to blame somebody for Rus-SELL not being to sleep at night worrying about his political career going down the toilet blame me and my friends, we not only helped CBA, we are also helping Mr. Lewis, and just because it pissed you off, I think I'm going to write another check, hell its a tax deduction anyway, LOL, help get rid of the asshole pearce, enjoy making the fucker miserable, pissing you off, and it's all tax deductible, what a great country! 

Gotta go now, I have another check to write on behalf of Mr. Lewis campaign.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

PDA Pretender, you are goofy. just plain goofy. You may recall that Randy Parraz, the 'union outsider' was arrested by MCSO long before the recall was ever even thought of. He was acquitted of ALL the charges, by the way, in case you have forgotten. Yes, he was a union organizer at one time. We all have jobs of one sort or another. It appears your job is printing campaign signs and spreading mush about our next state senator, Mr. Jerry Lewis.

Hey, you also forgot to mention the co-chair of Recall Pearce. A white, male Mormon lawyer who lives and works in the Phoenix area. Some outsider he is, huh?

You can add me to the outsider list too. I have actually contributed twice now to Recall Pearce and I live in Phoenix, but hey that makes me an Arizona resident, right? pearce is a STATE senator, yes? Do you get it yet? STATE senator.

No, we really aren't outsiders if we have an interest in what our STATE senate president is up to, regardless of where he lives and was elected from.

KKKPearce
KKKPearce

Did you at least give Olivia Cortes a reach around?  Squeal like a piggy, Western!!!

KKKPearce
KKKPearce

This cut and paste job has all the markings of Russell "Cut and Paste" Pearce himself.  Come up with an original thought, wifebeater. 

PDALewis
PDALewis

Dance for your Union puppet master! Dance Jerry, Dance!

bobg
bobg

The point of this post is what exactly? That Randy Parraz doesn't live in LD18? Unions are bad m-kay? Coherency fail.

ninelives.cassiecharityheart
ninelives.cassiecharityheart

 What's your big expose PDA Lewis???  Randy Parraz is the co-chairman of Citizens for a Better Arizona and we are still doing important work to make sure Russell Pearce is not re-elected.  We are doing this work completely separate from Jerry Lewis and his campaign.  So go and find some big conspiracy somewhere else....I'm sure Pearce has a bunch for you to jump onto.

Lewis will win
Lewis will win

NOTE TO PDALewis......The election is between Pearce and Lewis, not Parraz.  Since Lewis has nothing for you to smear or lie, you need to attack Parraz who isn't even running?

By the way, 90 percent of all donations to Pearce are from out of his district.  The real outsider here is Pearce.

PDALewis
PDALewis

well, when Unions bring in an outsider to run the Pearce recall, Unions run the Lewis effort to get on the ballot, and unions run the Lewis get out the vote effort, then Lewis is a Union puppet

Randy Parraz What do you all think about Olivia Cortes as a candidate? Is she for real? This is for everyone, but I would like LD 18 voters to please identify as such and share how you feel...since I am an "outsider."

Randy Parraz CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS: The ballots for the special recall election are being mailed out today and we need YOUR help this Saturday, 9:30AM - 2:00PM and Sunday, 3:00PM - 6:30PM to reach out to voters (628 N Center Street, Mesa). We are less than 4 weeks from voting Pearce out of office. Please call 602-284-9745, sign up today below or email us at info@citizensforabetteraz.org.

Randy Parraz Thank you to Vicki, Julie and Brenda for leading today's delegation to the County Recorders office. County Recorder Helen Purcell did come out eventually to speak to them and these LD 18 voters were able to get Ms. Purcell to say some rather alarming things. She did agree to 1) verbally inform voters at the polling place of Cortes' withdrawal and pass out a flyer; and 2) prominently post a notice with this information at each polling place. We are making progress each time. Stay tuned.

Randy Parraz Time for Pearce to go: Let's chase those Mail in Ballots!Randy Parraz TOMORROW'S ACTION...Please sign up today. We need your support to send Helen Purcell a clear message that we want her to inform voters that Olivia Cortes has withdrawn from the race.

Randy Parraz ‎34 more days to go! It is time to all of us to make the commitment and sacrifice now to remove Pearce from office. The Cortes scandal has been exposed. Pearce has proven to be too extreme for Arizona. We need you to attend this Saturday's meeting at our office. Sign up today and repost this for your family and friends. Let's do this together!

Randy Parraz Office Needs Update: Thank you all for your donations over the past week. We now have plenty of water and others have helped us meet our computer needs. WE STILL NEED THE FOLLOWING ITEMS: 1 magic jack, 3 laptops with intel processors and wireless capability and 4 regular phones. This will help us prepare for our final push which starts next weekend. Please email me at rap7power@gmail.com if you can provide any of these items. Thank you!

Randy Parraz REMINDER: See you all tomorrow morning at 9:30AM at our office in Mesa - 628 N Center Street. We need volunteers to make calls and knock on doors. Given what we learned yesterday during the Olivia Cortes/Pearce/TEA Party hearing, we all need to stand up against such abuses of our electoral system. Please join us...39 more days until Nov. 8th...13 more days until ballots start arriving in the mail!

Randy Parraz Thank you to Rosie, Sara, Bob, Carolyn, April, John, Lilia, Barb, Fred and others who came in today to make calls and knock on doors. We have made considerable progress this past week speaking to our supporters. See you all tomorrow...Pearce's days are numbered!

Randy Parraz We are moving into our final phase of this campaign. We need your support to get our message out to over 10,000 voters who signed the recall petition. Our work is NOT done. Please donate $25 today and ask your friends and family to do the same. Thanks for your support!

Randy Parraz I hope many of you are setting time aside this week to help make calls, walk or raise additional funds. We will be back at it this afternoon at 5:00PM, 628 N Center Street. For our weekend warriors see you on Saturday from 9:30AM-1:00PM and Sunday from 3:30PM-7:00PM.Randy Parraz Urgent call for volunteers: We need volunteers to help us complete a special assignment. Please come by our office at 5:00PM. We will work until 8:00PM. We have work inside and outside of the office. 628 N Center Street, Mesa. See you there!

Randy Parraz FYI - I have removed some posts that have been one or two steps removed from the mission of this group "Recall Pearce." I apologize if this upsets any of you but from this point forward this is about recruiting volunteers to do the work of talking to voters, attending special actions and coordinating events with the press. We know the signs are coming back. We know there are other conferences, elections and events taking place in the Phoenix area. I will do my best to be fair, but I am committed to making this page all about the work that needs to happen to Recall Pearce. I hope you all understand and will join me in recruiting more volunteers for this weekend and every other weekend until the election on November 8th.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Russell Pearce and the Rule of Law just don't go together.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Remember Samuel Johnson's definition of patriotism. The Pearce cabal is nothing more than a sleazy bag of scoundrels wrapped up in a soiled American flag.

Oblivious Cortex
Oblivious Cortex

I'm just left wondering who writes Jerry Lewis's paycheck.  Sequoia is connected to Choice Education & Development Corp. is connected to Edkey Inc.  All three are nonprofits but don't show Lewis as a highly-paid officer or employee.  But Edkey Inc. sends a lot of cash to Edkey Management, Inc., a for-profit subsidiary which it owns. 

There's a lot of money in charter schools, thanks to successful lobbying by that industry of legislators like Pearce and his ilk.  Both candidates in this race tout "school choice."  My choice is to require transparency so we know where our tax money is spent.

Leonardclark
Leonardclark

Dennis is right, they don't let the truth ever get in the way !

Tyler Montague
Tyler Montague

They have no shame. Pearce needs to go. This is the worst attempt ever to smear a great man. I wish all politicians would get caught in schemes to donate castoff items to adopt orphans from Ethiopia. What a world this would be.

Anon
Anon

Here we go again. There are no words to describe Pearce and his cronies. Hypocrites, NOT Patriots is who they are. Taking advantage of the ignorant masses of Arizona should be criminal.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

What is really criminal is the seemingly never ending ignorance of the "masses of Arizona." These dim bulbs elect and re-elect miscreants like Pearce, Brewer and Rpiehole in election after election and then they can't figure out why the rest of the country sees Arizona as "America's Outhouse."

Dennis Gilman
Dennis Gilman

 They can't fight facts with facts so this is what they do.

Wanumba
Wanumba

I'm sure Shane Wikfors has a part in this.  He is a nasty little creep, always willing to lie for Pearce

Nordine Crub
Nordine Crub

Wanumba - Why would you say something on the New Times Blog and be Shane's BFF on Sonoran Alliance?  

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