School board member pleads guilty in corruption case

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A Sweetwater Union High School District board member indicted in a public corruption case pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony conspiracy charge and a misdemeanor count of accepting gifts above the state limit.

Pearl QuinonesPearl Quinones, 61, is scheduled to be sentenced April 28. As a result of her felony conviction, Quinones will have to give up her school board position, officials said.

South Bay Judge Ana Espana said she will consider reducing the felony conviction 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.

Construction company executive Henry Amigable pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for providing gifts to school board members to influence their votes. A number of other defendants — including former Sweetwater school board member Arlie Ricasa — have also pleaded guilty.

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