Alum Rock School Board Trustee Andrés Quintero Accuses Colleague Khanh Tran of Slander

Khanh Tran’s war of words has prompted one of his colleagues on the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District board to threaten legal action.

In an email to constituents of the district, which is currently the subject of a District Attorney investigation into financial mismanagement, Tran accused board Vice President Andrés Quintero of failing to disclose a conflict of interest involving HarBro Emergency Services, a company hired by the district to repair fire damage at Mathson Middle School. Specifically, Tran claimed that Quintero’s brother works for HarBro and that nepotism factored into the district’s decision to work with the company.

Quintero called the assertion slanderous.

“I don’t know why the hell he would think that,” Quintero told San Jose Inside on Thursday. “He manufactured it. I even checked in with my brothers to see if there’s some link that I don’t know about. There’s nothing—no one in my family works for them.”

In a post Wednesday night, Quintero wrote:

“In light of the recent San Jose Inside article wherein Alum Rock Board Member Khanh Tran is quoted, in order to set the record straight, I want to make it abundantly clear that my family has no connection, personal or business, with the company that is referenced in said article. If Mr. Tran continues to make slanderous statements against my family and I, I will be forced to take legal action.”

In fact, Quintero told San Jose Inside, when an audit pointed out problems with the HarBro contract, including cost overruns and failure to ratify contracts, he was the first one to ask prosecutors to investigate.

“How would I reconcile that if I had any connections?” he said.

When asked what led him to accuse Quintero of nepotism, Tran told San Jose Inside that he heard his information “through sources,” but declined to elaborate.

The real concern, Quintero said, is Tran’s assiduous defense of Del Terra Group, a company hired to managed $265 million in bond construction for Alum Rock Union. Despite a state audit that pointed out poor internal controls that put dealings with Del Terra at risk of fraud, Tran has insisted that there’s no need to terminate or even revise the district’s contract with the corporation. He also called Quintero “overly emotional” for expressing concerns about the audit findings.

Though Quintero once had a collegial relationship with Tran and even supported his bid to unseat Rep. Ro Khanna (D-San Jose) in the 17th Congressional District, he has since rescinded his endorsement.

“I verbally told him that because of his behavior ... I can’t support him,” Quintero said.

Quintero said the so-called Alum Rock Three—a bloc consisting of trustees Tran, Esau Ruiz Herrera and Dolores Marquez-Frausto—have defended Del Terra at a tremendous cost to the public.

Because of the three board member’s refusal to hew to recommendations from state auditors, the district had to relinquish its fiscal independence to the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Meanwhile, concerns about potential insolvency led both S&P and Moody’s to downgrade the district’s credit rating, which means taxpayers will have to pay higher interest rates on future bond debt.

“We’re going into junk status because of their behavior,” Quintero said. “The stakes are fairly high, and these folks don’t really give a damn. [Tran] calls me emotional, but if I have to be emotional because of how this affects the taxpayers, then yeah, maybe I am. I know it sounds hokey, but it’s ultimately costing us, the people, the taxpayers.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

6 Comments

  1. When an elected official accuses anyone of slander, it’s usually grandstanding. I think this is different. Khanh Tran manufactured facts to damage Quintero’s reputation. I took Tran at his word when I read your previous article, and wondered how Quintero was able to get away with what sounded like a blatant conflict of interest. If I had only seen the first article, I would still think that was true.

    Seems like a lot of dirty attacks on Quintero. Scheduling a meeting he couldn’t attend and then launching a cloak-and-dagger power-play at said meeting, now blatant lying to hurt his reputation. He is being treated very unfairly.

  2. Both clowns are connected to felon George Shirakawa Jr. You know, the guy who stole money from Santa Clara County as a County Supervisor? Khan has his ‘endorsement’ and Andres Quintero worked a number of years as one of his Senior Policy Aides as Shirakawa stealing from SCC as a County Supervisor. Birds of a Feather sure Flock together!

  3. Things ran much smoother in NY when the Irish ran Tammany Hall, I thought that was the point of a one party system!
    So glad I’m leaving this nut house.

  4. Since Andres Quintero also took campaign contributions from Del Terra, I am not sure if I could say I feel bad for him. All the ARUSD trustees are at worst corrupt and at best unqualified for their positions. I am afraid the taint of this board will keep away any decent qualified individuals who are truly concerned about its kids and their education.

  5. I think all the negative things being said about Andres are just distractions from the real issue. I know Andres and from the beginning he has been fighting for Alum Rock. See previous Mercury News Articles. San Jose Inside needs to focus on why the Santa Clara County Board of Education is not taking steps to stop this corruption of power. Again I will ask that Darcie Green who represents this District be contacted as to what the County School Board can do. We know the D.A. is involved and perhaps instead of trying to stir the pot someone should try and find out what steps can be taken to freeze all future trustees meetings. Do not allow them use of any school building and block all access to any school memos etc. Enough is enough and at the end of the day the students are better off without the trustees until this mess can be cleaned up.

Leave a Reply