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Former Sweetwater Union District Board Member Is Scheduled to be Sentenced Today

Pearl Quinones pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy.

Pearl Quinones. Patch file photo.
Pearl Quinones. Patch file photo.

A former Sweetwater Union High School District board member who pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge in a public corruption case is scheduled to be sentenced today.

Pearl Quinones, 61, gave up her school board position as a result of the felony conviction and admitted to a misdemeanor count of accepting gifts above the state limit.

South Bay Judge Ana Espana said she will consider reducing the felony to a misdemeanor once Quinones has successfully completed probation, according to Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr.

Quinones was one of 15 people indicted in 2012 in a probe into a "pay for play" culture between contractors and officials from three school districts.

When the case was filed, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis alleged that for years, public officials regularly accepted what amounted to bribes -- trips, dinners and tickets -- in exchange for their votes on multimillion- dollar construction projects.

Several other defendants have entered guilty pleas in the case. The most recent were last week, when board President Jim Cartmill and trustee Bertha Lopez pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor accepting gifts charge. They're set for sentencing June 3 and June 9, respectively.

Among others to plead guilty in the case were former trustees Arlie Ricasa and Greg Sandoval, ex-Superintendent Jesus Gandara and a construction company executive, Henry Amigable, who admitted to a misdemeanor for providing gifts to school board members to influence their votes.

—City News Service

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