KGUN 9 On Your SideNews


Campaign Donations: Call for TUSD investigation

Kristel Foster is returning donation
Posted at 11:02 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 14:27:07-04
A Tucson Unified school board member called for the district attorney to investigate sizable campaign contributions to two board members.
Michael Hicks made the request at Tuesday night's school board meeting.
This comes after KGUN exclusively reported donations totaling $10,000 dollars went to two board members, Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez, seeking re-election.
Kristel Foster told KGUN9, she's now returning the donation.
Two donations  of $5,000 dollars each went to Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez.
Michael Hicks asked District attorney Todd Jaeger to investigate the donation.
"I would like to ask our attorney to review -- to do an investigation - to provide that information back to this board. I would like to get some type of opinion from our attorney whether or not it was legal or not," said Hicks.
Cam Juarez also made a request asking the investigation be extended to all five board members.
"If there's going to be an internal investigation I'd like to make sure the information arises about previous elections. This recent one where one of our board members received funds from a listed vendor. As well as any other investigations. I don't think there was any real issue and I think everything was followed to the teeth."
The campaign donor Carly Brooks is listed on the Pima County Elections website as a housewife and the sole donor. She's married to Robert Brooks, an executive of Educational Services Incorporated (ESI, a company TUSD uses to outsource its substitute teachers.
In June, ESI received a 21 million dollar contract from the TUSD board in a 3-2 vote. Both Foster and Juarez voted for the contract.
We heard from Carly and Robert Brooks' attorney Robert Stewart who said "the campaign contribution checks prominently display the name of Robert Brooks Carly Brooks."
Stewart went on to say "any suggestion or statement that Mr. Brooks attempted to conceal his identity as the originator of these campaign contributions is false." 
After our initial report, Kristel Foster decided to return the donation.

She told KGUN9, "when I received this contribution, I was not aware that the donor is married to an individual who works for a company that does business with TUSD.  Now that this issue has been brought to my attention, I am returning this individual's donation. It is the right thing to do. As a public servant who volunteers my time as a TUSD board member serving children and improving education in our community, I am grateful that this issue has been brought to my attention so I can address it appropriately. Openness, transparency and honesty are values that I hold dear."

While Foster decided to return the $5,000 donation, Cam Juarez told KGUN9 he needed to check out what we've reported and decide whether he's going to keep her contribution or return the funds to her. He said he doesn't know Robert Brooks nor did he know Mrs. Brooks was married to him. We'll keep you posted on any developments.