An investigative report made public today fully exonerates former Altadena Library District (ALD) Director Mindy Kittay of all legal wrongdoing – and gives the public an unprecedented look into just how bad things really became at Altadena’s cherished, but deeply troubled, public library.
By Rene Amy
By agreeing to release otherwise-privileged internal records included in the report, the newly-elected board has allowed an unprecedented look into just how bad things really were. The hubris of the old board is stunning.*
Ms. Kittay made the report (click to view) and its accompanying appendices (click to view) public after receiving it from the ALD and quickly reviewing it and redacting names of ALD staff members for privacy reasons. The report was provided to Ms. Kittay only after repeated threats of legal action by her to force compliance with the $550,000 settlement agreement entered into by the current and former ALD board. Attorneys from Best, Best & Kreiger (BB&K) representing the ALD had initially refused to provide Ms. Kittay with a copy of two reports as specifically called for in the agreement. The ALD board, in a special meeting on February 12, voted to overrule BB&K, and provide Ms. Kittay with the full report as required by the agreement, and to release it subject only to similar redactions and any legal objection from Ms. Kittay.
As she did at her last job, Mindy did not tolerate clearly-illegal activity, and, once again, as the Mendocino County Grand Jury found years ago, Mindy absolutely did the right thing in calling it out.
The report made public by Ms. Kittay today was commissioned by the ALD, according to its author, Pasadena-based attorney Carl Botterud.
Curiously, public records show that Mr. Botterud billed ALD $10,000 in December for his work, then revised his billing with a “negative adjustment” of one dollar, bringing the total billing below the $10,000 threshold for board approval and public scrutiny. Mr. Botterud was paid the day after he submitted the revised bill in January. A message left at Mr. Botterrud’s office seeking comment was not immediately returned.
It would be a colossal waste of taxpayer’s money, but for the fact that, as part of a misdirected effort to tar Mindy Kittay, it completely and formally exonerates her.Altadena Library Legal Billing
Four of the five accusations made against Ms. Kittay were rejected out-of-hand by Mr. Botterud; the only thing he found to be “more likely than not” was that Ms. Kittay, through an after-the-fact filing by her attorney, had disregarded attorney-client privilege about the ALD’s board’s earlier violation of the Brown Act – a point now rendered moot by the ALD board’s decision to release all of those documents.
While nothing will silence irrational haters, this report serves to further document just how bad the behavior of the Library board had become, and the extraordinary efforts Mindy made to correct a bull-headed board that thought it was above the law.
The newly-elected ALD board has admitted many illegal acts, and I hope that it will now return to focusing on providing the library’s constituents with excellent service – rather than exorbitant legal expenses.
*Rene Amy received a copy of the report from Ms. Kittay due to his earlier public records act request.
Longtime community activist Rene Amy lives in Altadena.
The Guest Opinion section reflects the opinions of the responsible contributor(s)/writer(s) only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of ColoradoBoulevard.net. ColoradoBoulevard.net does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. ColoradoBoulevard.net accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (with no obligation) to delete comments and postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.
We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)