FBI raids LAUSD offices for iPad project records

FBI agents on Monday afternoon descended on Los Angeles Unified School District offices and removed 20 boxes of documents related to contracts for former Supt. John Deasy's $1.3 billion iPad project. From the LA Times story:

The FBI visit surprised school officials, according to L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines...

The iPads-for-all project was a signature initiative of his predecessor, John Deasy, who resigned under pressure in October. Deasy readily acknowledged that the project was an expensive draw from bond funds. But he said there was no other way to pay for what he called a civil rights imperative — to provide low-income students equal access to technology in the nation's second-largest school system.


Deasy suspended purchases under the contract after disclosures that he and his top deputy had especially close ties to executives of Apple, maker of the iPad, and Pearson, the company providing the curriculum on the devices.

He said the suspension was related to changes in the technology marketplace and not to the disclosures. He has denied any wrongdoing. And an internal report that examined the technology effort showed major problems with the process and the implementation. An internal LAUSD investigation is continuing. But the search Monday is the first sign that the FBI is looking into the issue.

On KPCC's Air Talk, Loyola Law School professor and former federal prosecutor Laurie Levenson said the seizure of documents signals the FBI is early in its investigation.

She said there are many potential crimes that could explain why the FBI is launching a probe, including schemes to defraud, conflict of interest, public corruption, securities violations, and obstruction of justice.

“We don’t know any of these things,” Leveson said, but she said it makes sense to her that the FBI would get involved. But she added: “We should be careful not to say we know there is a crime here. We know the FBI is very much concerned."

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