DA files criminal complaint against Fragozo

DA files criminal complaint against Fragozo
Escondido Union School District Trustee Jose Fragozo, left, at the Vista Superior Court last month where a judge upheld a temporary restraining order. This week, Fragozo was charged with nine felonies relating to his residency status. File photo by Steve Puterski

ESCONDIDO — The curious case against Jose Fragozo just took another turn.

The district attorney of San Diego County will file a criminal complaint against the embattled Escondido Union School District board of trustee charging him with misrepresenting his domicile for purposes of being elected to the EUSD board.

According to a press release from Nina Deerfield, a media representative for Fragozo, he will be arraigned Thursday.

Fragozo denies any criminal wrongdoing and will defend himself in court against these “false” charges, the release stated.

According to the criminal complaint, Fragozo is charged with 13 felonies and if convicted, faces up to more than nine years in prison.

The charges date back to 2012 and accuse the trustee of four counts of perjury by declaration and filing a false instrument, three counts of voting when not entitled and one count each of false voter registration and filing a false nomination paper.

The county’s District Attorney public affairs officer declined comment and said the prosecutor will answer questions Thursday.

This marks the second legal battle involving Fragozo, as a Superior Court judge upheld a temporary restraining order last month, which was filed by EUSD Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra and three other district administrators.

Fragozo is scheduled to reappear in court later this month for a final ruling on the case, which he stands accused of threatening the administrators among other allegations.

Fragozo has called upon the district to stop wasting public resources on frivolous, unfounded judicial actions against him and instead, spend money and time improving the district’s consistently abysmal academic scores.

Recent reports show that only 31 percent of Escondido elementary students are proficient in English and only 24 percent proficient in math. In a statement released on Jan. 20, Fragozo said, “The EUSD board majority is wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to date on judicial actions against me, even mailing libelous letters to 20,000 parents and staff. Our schools are severely underperforming and failing our English learners. Our infrastructure is broken; there are 491 portable buildings, some more than 20 years old as well as electrical/plumbing/safety issues that plague our students and their parents. The community is outraged by this attempt to distract parents from these severe problems facing the district.”

Fragozo is barred from entering any district facility, attending meetings only by phone from his home. His residency was called into question several weeks ago, launching the investigation on whether his district residence conforms to state law.

Before election to the school board, Fragozo was president of the EUSD Parent Advisory Committee and served on the EUSD Independent Citizens Oversight Committee regarding bond expenditures.

In 2012, Fragozo was elected to the board, with more than 61 percent of the vote. He is the only Latino serving on the board. His election platform urged a renewed curriculum, one that could help English learners succeed and a reconstruction of the district’s aging infrastructure.

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