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School district proposes new investigation into former trustee’s residency

By Bob Conrad

Former Washoe County School Board Trustee Jacqueline Calvert’s residency could get a second investigation. The board will consider at tomorrow’s meeting to “possibly take action to use the Gunderson Law Firm to complete the investigation and conduct … legal research.”

The school district’s legal counsel already hired Gunderson to investigate the issue. The firm determined Calvert moved from her district as early as 2019 and continued to serve as trustee until she resigned Sept. 14.

The Gunderson Law firm report. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno.
The Gunderson Law firm report. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno.

Critics blasted the school board for not investigating her residency earlier. They alleged district officials knew about her address prior to her resignation. The investigation determined that was true.

Trustee Jeff Church criticized the Gunderson report, particularly for not including Calvert as part of the investigation. Church asked Gunderson attorney John Funk if he interviewed Calvert as part of the investigation. Funk said he did not.

“I find that troubling, extremely troubling,” Church said. “I’m appalled that Calvert was not interviewed.”

Funk said he refrained from interviewing her because he “did not think it appropriate to put her in a position to ask her to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights. My retention was more narrow than that.”

He said he was hired to investigate when Calvert moved and who knew about it. Trustee Beth Smith said there was “a lot of confusion” surrounding the report and the meeting.

The agenda item for tomorrow’s meeting suggests a new investigation will be more thorough, to potentially include “pertinent interviews” and “information and questions not included in the original investigation.”

School District spokesperson Megan Downs said the first investigation had a limited scope.

“The Trustees had a lengthy conversation at the Oct 25 meeting on this topic, and that conversation resulted in further follow up questions, ” she said. The new investigation “could also possibly include an independent legal matters related to serving as a trustee, including votes cast, compensation and paid benefits such as health insurance, when it is determined that a Trustee does not live in the district in which they are elected to serve.”

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