Fresh from his victory in the Appellate Court after a yearlong battle, John Caldecott, ex-HR head at the N-MUSD, has filed a sworn statement with the Costa Mesa police department, the purpose of which is to “[report] a crime under the Education Code committed by Fred Navarro (Navarro), Superintendent of Newport Mesa Unified School District.”

Caldecott’s statement to the police is a follow-up to his new, official status as a whistleblower. The sworn statement also reads, “This is a sworn statement pursuant to EC [education code] 44114 (a) to report intentional criminal acts in violation of 44113 (a) and 44114 (b) by Fred Navarro (Navarro), Superintendent of Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD). John R. Caldecott (Caldecott), formerly the Executive Director, Human Resources (HR), made a series of complaints and reports under the protections of EC 44110-44114 that were within the scope and responsibility of his position as the head of HR. Navarro proceeded to use his position as Caldecott’s supervisor and Superintendent on multiple occasions to intimidate, threaten, coerce Caldecott to retaliate against Caldecott for reports of improper governmental activity. Navarro ultimately recommended Caldecott’s termination from employment. Prior to making Whistleblower reports Caldecott had an excellent work record and was a long term employee in HR. The written documentation of Navarro’s actions are contained in this sworn statement.”

One of the exhibits included in Caldecott’s sworn statement is EC 44113(a), which states, “An employee may not directly or indirectly use or attempt to use the official authority or influence of the employee for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding, or attempting to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or command any person for the purpose of interfering with the right of that person to disclose to an official agent matters within the scope of this article.”

There’s more – a lot more and I will be reporting the details later as I dissect the statement.

So what does it all mean? It means that Caldecott has formally declared that he was fired because he may have been planning to expose financial misdeeds, not because his performance was poor or for any other reason that may have been stated.

It means that the school board bet on the wrong horse, then doubled down when they chose to resist Caldecott’s records request.

It means that we may have Jeffrey Hubbard part II should the District Attorney get involved.

It means that taxpayers are going to be on the hook for more legal fees because despite the message sent to them by the Appellate Court, they’ll continue to dig in their heels and fight this thing.

It means that there is a test of integrity coming up for the board. The test will be which board member raises her hand (Walt Davenport won’t) and says, “Um, excuse me, but maybe we should start an independent investigation of these charges, starting with an interview with Caldecott.”

More to come.

Steve Smith

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