Schoolhouse Beat

Conviction of former consultant to Beverly Hills school district is reversed

A California appeals court has reversed the conflict-of-interest conviction of a a former Beverly Hills Unified School District consultant. The Newport Beach CoronadelMar Patch reports that a three-justice panel found that Karen A. Christiansen -- a former Beverly Hills District facilities director who worked as a consultant and was no longer an employee under a contract that was signed in 2006 -- was "not a member, officer or employee of the relevant public body" and that a section of the state's government code on conflict of interest does not apply to her. Christiansen had been sentenced in 2012 to four years and four months in state prison, and has been free on bail while her appeal was pending. The appellate court's order also vacated a restitution order of about $3.5 million. Christiansen was charged in December 2010 along with former Beverly Hills Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard, who was convicted in January 2012 of two felony counts for authorizing the payment of public funds to Christiansen without the school board's approval. Hubbard's appeal is pending.

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