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Former principal, Reynolds School District reach civil compromise agreement

Gilbert will pay the district $17,216 between July 2013 and March 2014


by: OUTLOOK FILE PHOTO - GILBERT

Jeff Gilbert, the former principal of Reynolds High School whose contract was terminated June 20, 2012, will pay the Reynolds School District $17,216.03 by March 2014.

The Reynolds School Board voted unanimously at its Wednesday, June 12, business meeting to approve a civil compromise agreement between the district and Gilbert that states he will pay $2,000 per month to the district beginning in July, with a final payment of $1,216.03 next March.

The agreement comes after the district commissioned a private investigator, Susan Nisbet, to conduct an investigation over the course of 18 months into Gilbert’s potential misuse of public funds.

“The investigation revealed that over the course of his employment, Mr. Gilbert had misrepresented personal purchases and sought and obtained reimbursement for expenses he did not incur in the amount of $17,216.03,” Jennifer Ellis, director of human resources, told the school board.

Gilbert, however, sees the investigation and agreement differently.

"After living through an 18-month investigation costing my family over $100,000 in legal fees, we have made the painful decision to end my conflict with the Reynolds School District,” Gilbert wrote in an emailed Thursday afternoon.

“The district has vast resources and there seemed no end in sight to their pursuit of this issue, so I felt that a civil compromise was the only course of action to make this end. The time has come for it to be over for all parties. It was an honor for me to serve the students and community of Reynolds."

Chris Lundberg, an attorney with Haglund Kelley Jones & Wilder who had represented Gilbert, declined to comment.

“I no longer represent Mr. Gilbert in connection with this matter,” Lundberg said.

Gilbert was principal of Reynolds High School from 2008 until he was fired for alleged misuse of public funds, failure to maintain his administrator license and insubordination last year by former Superintendent Joyce Henstrand.

Gilbert had filed an appeal of his termination first with the school board and then with the state's Fair Dismissal Appeals Board, but the district asked for the appeal to be dismissed, and the appeals board granted that motion.

Under the agreement, Gilbert waives his right to file any appeal contesting his dismissal from the district and any suit or action against the district related to his employment.

The agreement said that on or about June 3, 2013, a deputy district attorney with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office told Gilbert's counsel his office was prepared to seek an indictment against him for theft based on the evidence developed in Nisbet's investigation.

If Gilbert and the school district were able to reach an agreement, the office would refrain from pursuing criminal charges against Gilbert.

According to Nisbet's report, Gilbert requested and received 18 separate reimbursements from student body funds for personal purchases between July 19, 2009, and Jan. 23, 2012.

It also states Gilbert sought and obtained reimbursement for expenses he did not incur for $5,454.85 and obtained double reimbursement for furniture bought from City Liquidators for $3,266.70.

In total, the report states that Gilbert fraudulently claimed 21 separate reimbursements that were either false, misleading or consisted of fraudulent invoices.

The report details the personal purchases as vehicle rentals; a memorial video for a family funeral; video arcade games; flat screen HDTVs; an entry table; a home theater system; wireless music speakers; jewelry; home office supplies and a printer; and household items.



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