At the 2/14/17 Board meeting, Anjali Kausar experienced a melt-down from the community’s challenge to her reported conflicts of interest. Once she returned from pulling herself together, Ms. Kausar attempted to explain her reported conflicts of interest. Here’s a video segment of Anjali’s response:
At the end of the clip, Board member Liang Chao can be heard asking whether “Conflict of Interest” should be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. Ms. Chao made the suggestion because it was improper (and a violation of the Brown Act) for Anjali Kausar to speak about items not on the agenda. Ms. Kausar’s conflict of interest is indeed a topic of great public interest and concern and should be placed on the agenda for the next Board meeting.
Let’s take a closer look at the points made by Anjali Kausar in the video above:
1) 1:13 – Ms. Kausar said, “A couple of weeks ago I found out there are still board members around who think that we don’t have to share where we get our personal income from, which is what I was under the impression of back in 2009.”
Debunk: Hmm… this is 2017. Ms. Kausar didn’t report her income on annual disclosures submitted in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, or 2015. It was only in March 2016 that she reported her income from the Cupertino Chamer of Commerce and filed amendments in May 2016 to restate her income from the previous 5 years, including income from Intero Real Estate.
The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) provides a wealth of information, training, and support to public officials in helping them comply with their filing obligations (Form 700) under the Political Reform Act. Ms. Kausar says she didn’t think she had to report her income. From the FPPC’s instructions in the Form 700, it seems pretty clear:
Anjali Kausar is the CUSD Board President. Where is her sense of personal responsibility? What other board members are doing is irrelevant. Ms. Kausar is attempting to avoid accountability with a defense of “But, officer, other drivers are speeding too!”
2) 1:45 -Anjali Kausar said: “My Intero income didn’t show up for 2015 until I did the correction in May because I am an agent with Intero, but I am not very active. And I had forgotten that I had done a small transaction in 2015 that had to be reported and that’s why there was an amendment there.”
Debunk: Anjali Kausar failed to mention that all 6 amendments she filed for Years 2010-2015 included Intero Real Estate income. It wasn’t just one small transaction in 2015. Ms. Kausar acted as a buyer’s or seller’s agent in 18 real estate transactions from 2010-2016. See all Ms. Kausar’s transactions here. While the property at 984 La Palma Place in Milpitas is owned by Ms. Kausar, she doesn’t have to report its rental income because the address is outside the CUSD community.
3) 2:25 – Anjali Kausar said: “People say there’s a conflict of interest between the Chamber of Commerce and my role on the school board. We have already got clarification on that from our legal which we shared with everyone. It clearly states there is no conflict of interest on those two roles.”
Debunk: Indeed, the legal opinion by DWK and paid for by CUSD does state: “As to her employment with the Chamber, we conclude the Board President’s position does not violate the prohibition on incompatible offices or activities.”
DWK’s legal opinion is just that — an opinion. Attorneys lack judicial authority, and their opinion is not sufficient grounds for a legal defense according to statute and case law. Only the FPPC and District Attorney or Attorney General can determine whether Ms. Kausar’s economic interests are conflicts. [Please refer to Govt C §1097; People v Chacon (2007) 40 C4th 558, 570; People v Honig (1996) 48 CA4th 289, 347.]
4) 2:43 – Anjali Kausar said: “Going back to the FPPC claim and talking about Apple stock. If I remember right, we never, ever wrote an Apple contract as an individual action item. Every time we’ve voted for anything on Apple, it has always been under “consent” and part of the warrant list that we do.”
Debunk: To refresh Ms. Kausar’s memory, on September 8, 2015, CUSD Board approved the purchase of laptop computers from Apple, Inc. in the amount of $1,243,200 from the consent calendar. Anjali Kausar “seconded” the motion to approve the contract as shown here. On many occasions, Ms. Kausar has also approved Apple warrants in the millions of dollars. For example, on November 17, 2015, CUSD Board ratified warrants including a check to Apple, Inc. in the amount of $1,391,515.39. Anjali Kausar voted to approve the warrants as shown here.
Regardless, Ms. Kausar’s argument is meaningless. The Political Reform Act forbids any “participation” where there’s a conflict of interest, not just in the actual vote of an item on the agenda. “Government Code §1090 forbids financially interested public officials from any participation in the making of a contract, including preliminary discussions, negotiations, compromises, reasoning, planning, drawing of plans and specifications, and solicitations for bids and subsequent modifications to a contract and “follow-on” contracts. A disqualified official must not be present when the governmental decision on which he or she is disqualified is considered, and the official must not obtain or review any nonpublic information about the governmental decision, including participation during a closed session of the agency. (Govt C §87105)”
5) 4:22 – Anjali Kausar said when someone in the audience spoke out: “I’m sorry…I’m sorry…This is our meeting….We are not talking to you. You cannot…This is our meeting. You’re all here to witness a meeting between the Board and me. So, we are not taking any comments from the audience, and we will move on to the next item.”
Wow… It seems Anjali Kausar needs to be reminded that the public education of our children IS OUR business. And WE are the only reason that SHE is there. The sole purpose of our government is to serve the people. Elected officials are not to make decisions that are best for business or for themselves and their supporters. The best interests of the people must be a matter of first priority for democracy to succeed.
“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?” — Thomas Jefferson