The Fontana Unified School District Board of Trustees voted to hire Dr. Leslie Boozer as superintendent effective Nov. 1, 2013. Based on a tip received from school district employees, this reporter requested expenses incurred by Boozer from the beginning of her employment with the district through the date of the request.
In the 24 months since Boozer began her employment with the district, a review of credit card expenses obtained through California Public Record Act requests shows she has taken at least 25 trips at taxpayer expense, amounting to thousands of dollars, not including at least four additional in-county and local excursions. There is one more trip, which is not listed below due to expenses being reimbursed by another entity, which brings the grand total to 30 trips in 24 months.
In a previous story, we reported:
Preliminary review of the documents received show a number of excessive and questionable expenditures by Superintendent Leslie Boozer. Boozer has traveled extensively around the country from coast to coast, racking up charges for limousine service, excessive baggage, and additional leg room.
At no point did we mention how much was spent nor did we suggest that the charges were limited to the three examples used. Boozer responded first with a memo issued from the school district claiming that the expenses in question totaled $234—her figure, not ours. Next, apparently acting on Boozer’s personal behalf and at taxpayer expense, attorney to the board of trustees, Mark Thompson, sent a cease and desist email demanding retraction and making the same ridiculous $234 claim. Apparently, Thompson thought he could intimidate enough to stop the scrutiny.
You have exercised incredible journalistic irresponsibility and it must be remedied immediately. You cannot rely on a ‘tip’ and then publish unsubstantiated allegations of excessive or questionable expenditures by a school district employee, particularly when you have knowledge the three expenditures in question totaled only $234. It is obvious your accusations were malicious.
The problem with all of this, of course, is that we received close to 100 pages of documentation and $234 is the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous $25 excess baggage charges, not two as Boozer suggested. The list of “beverage” charges is extensive, with no explanation of whether they are allowable beverages or not, i.e., alcohol.
Expenses are not the only issue with all of the travel. There is the issue of Boozer being absent from the district so frequently, especially since this is her first superintendent job, and based on a contract provision we will discuss in the next story, she did not have the experience to handle a district the size of Fontana.
As of this writing, the district provided credit card statements and justifications from Nov. 1, 2013 through Aug. 17, 2015. However, the district has not complied with a request for the September documents.
Below is a list of trips taken by Boozer during this period with a total cost for each. However, it should be noted that in many instances it appears the records are incomplete, such as missing conference fees, possibly suggesting the district used other means to pay for the expenses. This is a practice that is often employed by government officials to hide the true cost of travel and other expenses.
- Dec. 5-7, 2013 – San Diego, CA — $236.95 (No lodging or transportation charges were reported.)
- Jan. 28-31, 2014 – Monterey, CA — $2050.73
- Feb. 27, 2014 – Sacramento, CA — $494.33
- Apr. 24-25, 2014 – San Diego, CA —$287.78 (Most meals missing.)
- May 5-6, 2014 – Arlington VA —$1303.63
- July 11-13, 2014 – Chicago, IL — $956.73
- July 24-25, 2014 – Celebration, FL. — $1439.72
- Sept. 14-15, 2014 – Washington, DC — $991.10
- Sept. 16-19, 2014 – Nashville, TN — $627.91 (No lodging expenses reported.)
- Sept. 25-28, 2014 – Rockville, MD — $781.70
- Oct. 9-10, 2014 – Millbrea, CA — $762.54 (No lodging expenses reported.)
- Oct. 10-12, 2014 – Seattle, WA — $828.27
- Oct. 19-20, 2014 – Columbia, NY — $1810.51
- Dec. 13-16, 2014 – San Francisco — $2019.82
- Jan. 27-30, 2015 – Monterey, CA — $1139.60
- Feb. 25, 2015 – San Diego, Ca — $329.23
- Feb. 28 – Mar. 3, 2015 – Sacramento, CA — $516.04 (No lodging reported.)
- Mar. 22-25, 2015 – Chatsworth, CA — $478.44 (Only lodging reported.)
- Apr. 22-25, 2015 – San Diego, CA — $72 (Only parking reported.)
- May 22, 2015 – San Diego, CA — $215.69
- July 8, 2015 – Chicago, IL — $1027.52
- July 20, 2015 – San Jose, CA — $83.32 (Only shuttle and Starbucks reported. No airfare, lodging or meals reported.)
- Sept. 23-25, 2015 – San Jose, CA — $349 (Airfare for two. Have not been able to obtain additional records.)
- Oct. 11-15, 2015 – Nashville, TN — $423.40 (Airfare only. Have not been able to obtain additional records.)
- Oct. 15-18, 2015 – Washington — $254 (Airfare only. Have not been able to obtain additional records.)
Additional records for Boozer, along with what she calls her “cabinet,” are being requested in an attempt to fill in some of the blanks. If you would like to view the expense records received so far, click here and here. The story will be updated as new information is received.