Two weeks after a former Los Angeles Unified School District employee blew the whistle on his former employer in how it handled civil lawsuits involving the Miramonte Elementary School sex abuse scandal, the district's general counsel defended his actions in an exclusive interview with NBC4.
David Holmquist, the general counsel for the LAUSD, which handles legal services for teachers, supervisors and administrators in the district, said the district needed a firm with experience in such cases and the capacity to handle such a large volume of cases.
Greg Breed, a former chief risk officer for the school district, claims in a lawsuit that the district fired him when he questioned the reasons private law firms -- the Sedgwick and Andrade law firms -- at a rate of about $460 an hour, more than twice the amount of LAUSD attorneys already on retainer.
Some 63 cases have been settled so far.
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Each plaintiff received $470,000, meaning the district has paid out about $30 million, and there are still some 60 cases unresolved.
Holmquist said the settlements were good for the district, the taxpayers, the community and the students.
He said the district made the right decision.
Breed, meanwhile, insists he was fired for being a whistleblower, although the district claims he only raised a fuss after he was told his contract wouldn't be renewed.
Breed's attorney, Arnold Peter of the Peter Law Group in Beverly Hills, said his client would drop his $10 million claim if the district would come clean and give him his job back.
The accusations stem from the investigation involving former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, charged with 23 counts of lewd acts on 23 children age 7 to 10. He pleaded no-contest to the charges in November 2013.
Charges were dropped against Miramonte teacher Martin Springer.