North County Times
September 26, 2006
FUHS board meeting
By: TOM PFINGSTEN - Staff
FALLBROOK ---- During a brief
regular meeting Monday night,
the Fallbrook Union High School
District Board of Education heard
20 minutes of heated public
comments on everything from
teacher morale to the upcoming
Nov. 7 general election...
Fallbrook High School
President Tim Oder accused
Anthony of running the
campaigns of Fran White and
Jim Hutcherson, who are
both seeking re-election for
the board in November.
"We have a tremendous problem
in the Fallbrook Union
Elementary School District ---- it
is people who have abused their
power and abused taxpayers'
money," said Oder.
Last week, Anthony denied any
involvement in the school board
campaign after being accused of
During the summer, he raised
questions about the three school
board candidates supported by
the teachers association ---- Bill
O'Connor, Mike Schulte and
Early in the election season,
he suggested that because
all three have spouses
employed by the district, they
may have conflicts of interest
that would prevent them from
serving on the board.
The allegations were quickly
refuted by the teachers
association, which pointed
out that current board
member Ed Puett's wife
works for the district.
...O'Connor also questioned
Anthony's statement last week
that he was authorized by the
board to look into the
allegations, refuting claims that
he inappropriately did so on his
"Did the board authorize the
superintendent to look into this
matter? Was this done in closed
session? A private meeting? Or
is it something the
superintendent has decided to
do on his own?" asked
O'Connor. "Did the two board
members that are running for
re-election vote on this issue?
When did this vote take place?"
After the meeting, Hutcherson
said that it wasn't necessarily
during a meeting that the board
asked Anthony to find out what
constitutes a conflict of interest
for a school board member with
a spouse employed by the
district: "It doesn't require a
meeting to direct him to get
in contact with the district's
...After the meeting, Hutcherson
declined to comment on most of
the issues brought up by the
teacher's association during
public comment, saying, "I don't
campaign during a board
He did, however, voice support
for Anthony, whose involvement
in the conflict of interest
investigation has sometimes
placed him in a bad light.
"He errs on the side of
supporting the district and
following the law," Hutcherson
said of the superintendent...
|By Maura Larkins
from SD Ed Rpt BLOG
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Anthony has been sent
packing from Fallbrook
Along with Ed Brand, Tom Anthony
exerted a lot of control over San
Diego County Office of Education.
Or would it be more correct to say
that through Ed Brand and Tom
Anthony, Diane Crosier of the
SDCOE-JPA exerted a lot of control
over school districts? Either way,
the personal advancement of
individuals in high places has taken
precedence over the well being of
students in San Diego County. The
system will stay the same as long as
Diane Crosier, her insurance
buddies and her unethical lawyers
call the shots.
Fallbrook has gotten rid of Tom
Anthony. But has the rest of the
county gotten rid of him?
North County Times
October 20, 2007
FUHSD to pursue costly
firing of superintendent
By: TOM PFINGSTEN - Staff Writer
$265K buyout would open door to
new top leader, officials say
FALLBROOK ---- Tom Anthony
may not be superintendent of the
Fallbrook Union High School
District for much longer, as the
school board pursues a plan to
pay upward of $265,000 to get rid
of him, officials said Friday.
The move comes after years of
tension with many of the district's
Bill O'Connor, president of the
school board, said that the board
voted 4-1 Monday to get legal
advice about how to end
Anthony's contract. Dennis Allen
cast the dissenting vote.
Anthony, 62, has been unpopular
among many teachers, who have
told the school board during its
meetings that they believe his
style of leadership had been
abrasive and intimidating...
When polled in March, 122 of the
district's 150 teachers answered
"Strongly disagree" to the
statement "I have confidence in
the leadership of the
When reached by phone Friday,
three of the four board members
who voted to pursue ousting
Anthony declined to comment on
whether poor performance on the
superintendent's part contributed
to the decision.
Other than the discontent
expressed by many teachers, it
was unclear why the board would
spend upward of a quarter-million
dollars to get out of the three
years remaining on Anthony's
O'Connor, Marc Steffler and Mike
Schulte were all elected to the
board last year on a platform, that
some say included getting rid of
Allen also declined to comment on
the specifics of Anthony's
performance as superintendent,
but said that, overall, "He's done a
Anthony, who has retained legal
counsel for the buyout
negotiations, said Friday that he
was in a wait-and-see mode, now
that the board had initiated the
process of removing him from the
district's top office...
Anthony makes approximately
$177,000 a year, plus benefits,
and O'Connor said a buyout would
entail paying him 18 months' worth
of salary. There are three years
left on his contract, which was last
extended in October 2006. He was
hired to lead the district in July
Longtime Fallbrook High School
teacher Tim Oder was an
outspoken critic of the
superintendent as president of
the teachers association during
last year's contentious school
O'Connor stressed that the
decision to look into the
buyout through the San
Marcos law firm Fagen
Friedman & Fulfrost is only a
preliminary step toward firing
Tom Anthony, former superintendent
NORTH COUNTY TIMES
December 11, 2007
Fallbrook high school district
will pay superintendent
$320,000 - to leave
By: TOM PFINGSTEN
FALLBROOK -- Tom Anthony, the
embattled leader of the Fallbrook
Union High School District, will
resign as superintendent Jan. 11
under a $319,931 buyout
agreement that took effect
Tuesday, officials said.
The arrangement requires the
district to pay Anthony 18 months
of salary -- or $281,000 -- plus
health and other benefits through
June 2010. Those figures are
spelled out in Anthony's contract,
which would have ended then.
In addition to the salary and health
benefits, the buyout includes
$22,731 for 30 days of unused
vacation time, $9,000 for 18
months of automobile allowances,
and $7,200 for 18 months of
While no one contacted for this
story would discuss the reasons
behind Anthony's departure,
district teachers have complained
for years about what they call his
intimidating leadership style.
Anthony, who is 62, took over as
superintendent in 1997.
The school board approved the
agreement in a split vote during a
regular meeting Monday night, with
Trustees Bill O'Connor, Mike
Schulte and Marc Steffler
approving the buyout and Trustees
Lynn Colburn and Dennis Allen
The problems between the
teachers and Anthony reached a
head during last year's election,
when the teachers association
helped elect O'Connor, Schulte
and Steffler on a platform that
included getting rid of the
The friction extends as far back
as 2001, when then-technology
director Doug Newton was fired
after accessing the telephone
voicemail of several teachers
who were protesting salary
Newton later charged that
Anthony ordered him to gain
access to the district-owned
|San Diego Education Report
|San Diego Education Report
A True Tale of Two Cheaters: 30 Years Later
Pragmatic Mom Blog
August 19, 2013
[See another election story HERE.]
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.
When I went to college, my boyfriend informed me that I was provincial. From a
province. He was from Queens, New York, and commuted an hour each way to a
New York city magnet school. I protested that I was from a beach town. A suburban
beach town! But he was right. I was provincial and my local politics prove it.
Corruption is easy to pull off in a province.
The year is 1983. The month is June. Seniors are about to graduate but there is
one thing left for me to do: I have to run the All Student Body Elections.
This cast of characters at Los Alamitos High School 30 years ago:
Tom Anthony: Vice Principal and in charge of Student Council. He’s going to
University of Southern California (USC) at night to get his PhD in Education. He’s a
young, affable guy and everyone really likes him, myself included, at least until THE
Mia Wenjen: I’m the Student Representative to the School Board. Ddmittedly, it’s a
lame Student Council position, strictly for resume building. I may have even been
appointed. I really can’t remember. My job is to attend School Board meetings
which is harder than it sounds because it’s a snoozefest, and run the All Student
Body elections for the next year’s student council.
Mark Abrams: A few years my senior, Mark at the tender age of 18 or so was the
youngest person ever elected to the School Committee. He is a rising star in the
politico world and in a different class than me. We, for example, never exchange
words, even when we are sitting next to each other.
Phillip Swagel: I describe him as the smartest kid in my high class but my husband
would correct me to say that he’s one of the smartest people in the United States.
With a PhD in Economics from Harvard, he was the Senate Confirmed Economist
under Paulson who engineered the Investment Banking bailouts: AIG, Bear Stears,
Lehman Brothers and the rest. Each blow up ruined his weekend. In high school,
he was the only kid with a computer and, naturally, a wiz at programming.
John Orr: He was class of 1983 with me and on Student Council. Was he the
treasurer? I can’t remember. His father is the Dean of USC’s School of Education
where, you might have noticed, Vice Principal Tom Anthony is enrolled.
Shelley Sandusky: She’s the class of 1984 — one year younger — and John Orr’s
girlfriend. They are both in band and drama club. She is running for ASB President
and is a nice and smart person but not a “popular.”
Rich Morgan : He is the football quarterback who is also nice and smart. He’s
running for ASB President as well. He’s popular as football star players tend to be
who are also nice, smart and good looking.
I’m pretty burnt out of high school. I’m off to college back east and ready to blow
this popsicle stand. It seems so confining. So many rules. So little freedom. But I
need to run the elections as my final duty for my Student Council position. I wrangle
Phill Swagel into writing a program for me that will count the scantron ballots which
total around 1700.
The election process is fairly straight forward. Call for nominees. A round of
speeches and then the voting and count the ballots. A scanner with Phill’s program
makes quick work of it. Phill and I are done in less than an hour. We tally the
winners, rubber band the ballots, and bring it to Mr. Tom Anthony who will
announce the winners over the loudspeaker the next morning.
Only the next day, I can’t believe my ears. The ASB President winner is Rich (I can’t
remember his last name) who won by a landslide. Only Mr. Anthony is announcing
that it’s Shelley Sandusky.
Furious, I race to his office to confront him. I’m told by his secretary that I am not
allowed to scream at him. I don’t care. I accuse him of cheating. That he’s just a
loser shop teacher trying to social climb his way to Principal. That he can’t stop me
from going to college. He claims that he did a recount that night and my tally was
“Liar!” I said. “There’s no way you did a hand tally. That would take hours. I am the
only one with the computer program. There’s no way you spent hours counting
I demand a recount. I get the ballots, find Phill and we’re off to the library for a
recount using his program to rescan the ballots. Now it gets weird.
We are missing several hundred ballots (350?) but the winners of all the other
offices — VP, Secretary, Treasurer, and rest of the offices — remain the same. Did
Mr. Anthony throw out 350 ballots? If so, why didn’t the winners of the other offices
change? Some of those positions were in close contention. Much closer than ASB
President. Did he fill out replacement ballots with Shelley’s name keeping the other
offices the same but ran out of time or motivation to complete the full number? He
probably did not realize I had a total ballot count by way of the program. We could
not figure out definitively what had happened. And where did those missing ballots
go? I searched the waste basket but it wasn’t in his office. Maybe he took them
I track down Rich, the real winner. I tell him that he really won. By a landslide. By 4:
1 margins. He shrugs. I tell him to get his parents involved. He won’t. I don’t know
why. Perhaps it is too humiliating to fight for the office. Maybe it isn’t worth the fuss
to him. Would it make a difference for college? I don’t know. All the smart kids at my
high school want to go to Stanford and only a small handful – 4 at the most — get
accepted from our high school.
I’m tired. Tired of high school. It’s not my battle. I did my part and tried to run an
honest election but it’s clear to me that this is truly what democracy is: corrupt.
Those with power manipulate the results. India is like this and so many other
countries that have “democracies.” I’m a jaded teenage. I’ve been reading too
much Ayn Rand and Catcher in the Rye. I am sickened but there’s nothing I can do.
Why did Mr. Anthony do this? Is it for dinner invitations at the Orr house? Is his PhD
dissertation defense in jeopardy? (He’s a nice guy, but truly not that smart.) Does
he think he is doing right by letting Drama Nerd win over Popular Athlete? This is
1983, after all. Decades before High School Musical!
About five years ago, curiosity got the best of me and I called my old high school
under an assumed name to find out what happened to Tom Anthony. Posing as
“Helen Lee”, I chatted up his secretary. [An assumed name was necessary because
I am persona non grata after my little incident.] She gushed about him saying that
he was so successful, moving up from Principal to Superintertent in the San Juan
Capistrano School District, about 30 miles south.
One of south Orange County’s leading school administrators may leave his post
to head a San Diego County school district, officials said Monday.
Thomas R. Anthony, Capistrano Unified’s associate superintendent of secondary
schools, is one of two candidates being considered for the superintendent position
at Grossmont Union High School District, a suburban school system in eastern San
Diego County. LA Times
If selected, Anthony will leave 37,000-student Capistrano Unified for a district of
22,000 high school students, one of the largest secondary school districts in the
Anthony, 51, has spent the past 11 years at Capistrano Unified as a district
administrator and principal at Capistrano Valley High School.
“I would be sad, really sad” to leave Orange County if given the San Diego job,
Anthony said. “I’ve developed a lot of great friendships with administrators,
teachers and students here.”
I have a brief fantasy of faxing my story over to the local newspaper.
Superintendents are sometimes elected positions. But I am busy raising three kids
and though usually good for holding a grudge, it seemed a extreme, even for me.
Now I realized that it’s been 30 years so it’s time for the true story to be heard. Tom
Anthony must be retired by now, and it seems that the lesson here is that cheating
does pay off. Or does it?
I did a recent google search and found this doozy.
Superintendent Tom Anthony has been sent packing from Fallbrook, December 13,
Along with Ed Brand, Tom Anthony exerted a lot of control over San Diego County
Office of Education. Or would it be more correct to say that through Ed Brand and
Tom Anthony, Diane Crosier of the SDCOE-JPA exerted a lot of control over school
districts? Either way, the personal advancement of individuals in high places has
taken precedence over the well being of students in San Diego County.
Fallbrook has gotten rid of Tom Anthony. But has the rest of the county gotten rid
and this …
FALLBROOK — Tom Anthony, the embattled leader of the Fallbrook Union High
School District, will resign as superintendent Jan. 11, 2007 under a $319,931
buyout agreement that took effect Tuesday, officials said.
The arrangement requires the district to pay Anthony 18 months of salary — or
$281,000 — plus health and other benefits through June 2010. Those figures are
spelled out in Anthony’s contract, which would have ended then.
While no one contacted for this story would discuss the reasons behind Anthony’s
departure, district teachers have complained for years about what they call his
intimidating leadership style.
When polled in March, 122 of the district’s 150 teachers answered ”Strongly
disagree” to the statement “I have confidence in the leadership of the
Anthony, who is 62, took over as superintendent in 1997.
The friction extends as far back as 2001, when then-technology director Doug
Newton was fired after accessing the
telephone voicemail of several teachers who were protesting salary issues.
Newton later charged that Anthony ordered him to gain access to the district-owned
Fallbrook High School Teacher’s Association President Tim Oder accused Anthony
of running the campaigns of Fran White and Jim Hutcherson, who are both seeking
re-election for the board in November.
“We have a tremendous problem in the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District
—- it is people who have abused their power and abused taxpayers’ money,” said
Oh, Tom Anthony. You are the same person when I was in high school! The more
things change, the more they stay the same. You are still up to your old tricks! It
seems election fraud is your speciality!
Thomas Anthony, retired in 2009 as superintendent of the Fallbrook Union High
School District, San Diego, receives $173,812 or 89 percent of his salary.
[Rudy Castruita, retired in 2006 as superintendent to the San Diego County Office
of Education, receives $281,034 or 107 percent of his salary. Rudy was the
principal of my high school during this same period.]
Castruita receives the region’s top educator pension of $281,034 a year, or 107
percent of his final salary. That pay in retirement exceeds U.S. Education Secretary
Arne Duncan’s 2009 base salary of $196,700. Castruita, a 1992 state
superintendent of the year, did not return several calls. San Diego Education
After a little more Googling, I found out what happened to Tom Anthony…
The Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District will have a new superintendent
starting in June, 2011.
The school board voted last week to hire Michael Reid to replace Interim
Superintendent Thomas Anthony at the end of the school year, according to the
district. Anthony is a retired administrator from San Diego and was brought in to act
as interim superintendent after former Superintendent Douglas Oliveira left for a
coaching position at College of the Redwoods.
So that is cheater 1. What do you think? Despite being thrown out, he seems to
have fared pretty well. Cheating agrees with him.
Cheater 2 is that promising politco Mark Alan Abrams. He became a real estate
broker in the Los Angeles Beverly Hills area where he conducted a series of
mortgage frauds affecting Lehman Brothers that went down like this:
Buy the cheapest house in a nice area. For the sake of illusrtation, we’ll call this
Do nothing to the house.
Sell it for an inflated price (We’ll call this $1,000,000) to a buyer you are in
Have the house appraised by a crooked appraiser for $1,000,000.
When the bank runs a computer appraisal, it will check out as the homes in that
area are in the $1,000,000 range.
Have the new owner take a second mortgage on the house. Default on the
mortages. Take the money, split it among yourselves and run.
Do this over and over again.
For a long time, Mark and his partner in crime lived high on the hog, Bernie Madoff
style. When it came to a head, his partner tried to escape to Mexico but was
captured and extradited. Mark is now serving a 6 1/2 year sentence in jail.
Mark Alan Abrams, 49, of downtown Los Angeles, was sentenced by United States
District Judge Dean D. Pregerson. In addition to the prison term, Judge Pregerson
ordered Abrams to pay more than $41 million in restitution to two federally insured
Abrams and Fitzgerald ran a wide-ranging and sophisticated scheme that obtained
inflated mortgage loans on homes in some of California’s most expensive
neighborhoods, including Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Malibu, Carmel, Mill
Valley, Pebble Beach, and La Jolla. Members of the conspiracy—real estate
brokers, appraisers, and mortgage bankers, who all shared in the profits from the
fraudulent sales—sent false documentation, including bogus purchase contracts
and appraisals, to the victim banks to deceive them into funding mortgage loans
that were hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the homes actually cost.
Lehman Brothers Bank alone was deceived into funding more than 80 such inflated
loans from 2000 into 2003, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in losses.
February 15, 2005 | From Times Staff Reports
A week after the city Ethics Commission levied a record $270,000 fine against
developer Mark Alan Abrams for laundering political contributions, the panel’s
executive director accused six former Abrams associates Monday of participating in
Mark Abrams isn’t making any friends either by the comments from this post:
I owe this guy a SERIOUS beat-down from when he used my friend’s dad’s name
and literally almost ruined him. My friend’s dad had a severe heart attack because
Mark Abrams defrauded him and my friends family back in 1989-1990. My friend’s
dad trusted Mark and he drove my friend’s dad to almost ruins health wise. Listen
up chump, if I ever find you Mark, I will, with my own bare hands rip your throat out
and piss in your neck. Comment by Mark Abrams Hater — April 4, 2007 @ 6:31 pm
Hey Mark, remember the white BMW you “sold” me? Remember me making
payments to you that you never paid the lien holder to the car? Remember
disappearing on me and sending my credit to the toilet because of this and the
BMW you “sold” me was repossessed? I swear if I find you or if I find out where you
are jailed, I will make sure the rest of your life is miserable. If I do find you before
you go to jail, I will stuff every bill you left me with up your ass. You will pay for what
you did to me and my family. I GUARANTEE that, you crooked ass loser. Comment
by Mark Abrams Hater — April 5, 2007 @ 3:45 pm
I would guess that he is getting some serious beat downs in jail but maybe that
doesn’t happen in white collar jail?
You remember that my friend Phillip Swagel was in charge of figuring out what to do
when the sub-prime mortgage economic meltdown happened. How strange that a
kid from our high school had a role in this. Phill ultimately decided not to bail out
The world is small and everyone is connected. And it seems that character flaws
that seem small continue on their path of destruction, leaving many, many victims
in its wake.
As for Shelly Sandusky, she got into Stanford. Would she have been admitted had
she not been ASB President? Who knows? Would Rich have gotten that coveted
spot if he had claimed his rightful position thus demonstrating Leadership which all
top colleges love to see? I think he ended up at U.C.L.A.
We’ll never know. Like many kids at top schools who wonder how the heck they got
in, she should know that she caught a break. But it’s not so much how you got in,
as what you do with it. Shelly is currently an attorney at The Habeas Corpus
Resource Center (HCRC), located in San Francisco, which represents indigent men
and women under sentence of death in California. The HCRC’s mission is to
provide timely, high-quality legal representation for indigent petitioners in death
penalty habeas corpus proceedings before the Supreme Court of California and
the federal courts.
As for my provincial high school, I have to say that things are pretty exciting in the
sleepy town of Los Alamitos where my high school is. We may be country
bumpkins, but we aren’t boring!
Los Alamitos High School Swim Team 1981
Los Alamitos High School Swim Team, 1981. I’m the far right in the front row.
p.s. My thanks to Stacy Pollard Zuanich and Andy Morrissey for their help on
Facebook recalling the names of the cast. Is it Rich Hernandez who was denied his
ASB Presidentship? Also thank you to Rhonda Schwandt for the swim team photo.
p.p.s. Final thank you to Shelley Sandusky for identifying Rich Morgan as the
person who really was elected ASB President and for weighing in.
It would be unlikely that then-vice-principal Tom Anthony would have committed
election fraud without the blessing of his principal, Rudy Castruita. He would have
feared being fired when Mr. Castruita found out about it. In fact, it is Rudy
Castruita that has the stronger ties with USC: Castruita was given a job at USC
after retiring as superintendent of SDCOE. SDCOE spent hundreds of thousands
of dollars covering up illegal actions in schools.
ACLU sues Fallbrook
High School over free
By Bruce Lieberman
November 11, 2008
The American Civil
Liberties Union has sued
the Fallbrook Union High
School District, charging
that Fallbrook High's
principal violated the free
speech of students when
he censored two articles,
axed the newspaper's
faculty advisor position, cut
the journalism class and
killed publication of the
From U-T archives
Pulled editorial sparks
protest (Aug. 7, 2008)
The ACLU filed the lawsuit
in San Diego County
Superior Court on Monday
afternoon, the organization
The lawsuit is demanding
that the high school district
restore the journalism class
and reinstate its advisor,
Dave Evans. The ACLU is
also asking for a court
order prohibiting school or
district officials from
censoring future publication
of the articles killed last
One of the articles,
scheduled for publication
last November, suggested
that former district Supt.
Tom Anthony had hesitated
to open Fallbrook High as
an evacuation center
during the October 2007
The second article,
scheduled for publication
last May, was an editorial
that had criticized the Bush
administration's support for
teaching abstinence in the
The district's attorney, Dan
Shinoff, has said that
Fallbrook High principal
Rod King was concerned
that the first article
inaccuracies. As for the
second piece on
abstinence, King was
concerned that its tone and
language suggested that it
was likely written by an
adult and not a student as
claimed, Shinoff said. The
student whose byline
appeared on the
unpublished editorial has
insisted that she alone
wrote the piece.
Shinoff has said further that
the district's decision to
cancel the journalism
program predated much of
the controversies over the
Tomahawk and was due
entirely to state budget cuts.
In a statement announcing
the lawsuit, David Blair-Loy,
legal director for ACLU of
San Diego and Imperial
Counties, said Fallbrook
school officials should
“move swiftly to restore the
“The principal had no right
to censor the article or the
editorial, and he unfairly
penalized all students by
canceling the journalism
class in retaliation against
Evans for blowing the
whistle on his illegal
conduct,” Blair-Loy said.
New protections for student
journalists and their faculty
advisors were signed into
law in late September.
Senate Bill 1370, authored
by state Sen. Leland Yee,
D-San Francisco, protects
high school and college
teachers and other
employees from retaliation
by administrators who are
upset by student speech.
The bill officially becomes
law on Jan. 1.
There have been several
instances in California –
including San Francisco,
Los Angeles, Claremont,
Fremont, Novato, Oxnard,
Rialto, Garden Grove,
Redding and Fallbrook – in
which faculty advisors have
been reassigned or
dismissed because of the
content of their student's