I-Team: Ex-school administrator's fine furnishings raise questions

LAS VEGAS -- Questions are being raised about whether there were warnings signs that went un-heeded about possible mis-use of public money by former school administrator Priscilla Rocha.

Grand jury testimony says Rocha's offices were lavishly appointed with expensive furniture and Persian rugs.

Rocha's own supervisor was shocked by the opulence when she visited Rocha's office the day before police served search warrants there.

Last Monday, school workers loaded trucks with furniture and equipment from the former offices of the Adult English Language Acquisition Services program. That program was run by Rocha who was indicted last month in an alleged scheme to steal or misuse nearly $300,000 in public money. 

Grand jury testimony suggests Rocha's offices were luxuriously appointed. Assistant school superintendent Tammy Malich testified about her first visit to Rocha's offices which happened the day before police executed search warrants there. Malich described furnishings that stunned her with their opulence.

"It looks to me like Ethan Allen type furniture. I've never seen furniture like that in an office, any type of office I've been in," Malich told the grand jury. "Persian rugs, vases, pottery, artifacts, Kachina dolls, waterfalls, a fire place. I was shocked."

"Anytime we are taking resources away from students and families, it distresses me completely. We can't allow this. We are so strapped for resources as it is that we can't let anybody take anything out of a student's hands," said CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky when Rocha was indicted.

Rocha's supposedly lavish accommodations were not mentioned in the indictment and the I-Team has been trying unsuccessfully to get video of these furnishings for nearly a month. Originally the school district told us we could not tour the AELAS facilities because they contained evidence in the police and internal investigations. But police said, after the charges were filed, they didn't need further access to Rocha's offices.

The school district contends the high-end furniture is evidence but has not explained how taking pictures of it might compromise an investigation. Despite several requests over the past two weeks, the district has also declined to arrange an interview with the superintendent about the lavish furnishings.

The I-Team wants to know how furniture -- as luxurious as described -- could go unnoticed by district supervisors until the day before the police raid. Malich had only been Rocha's boss a few months when she saw the extravagance and immediately informed her supervisor. Grand jury testimony suggests the fine furnishings may have been there as long as three years.


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