CITY OF NEWBURGH - The Newburgh school district paid more than $30,000 to two investigators who looked into allegations of sexual harassment against Superintendent Roberto Padilla.
The investigations occurred after two women who were formerly employed by the district alleged Padilla sexually harassed them at a work-related conference last summer.
Padilla has denied wrongdoing.
The school district said in a statement attached to Padilla's settlement agreement that the results of the investigations were "inconclusive." Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler has empaneled a grand jury to look into the circumstances surrounding the settlement.
Both investigators hired by the school board, Louis Patack and Melinda Gordon, were brought on at a rate of $250 an hour.
Patack, the first investigator hired on Aug. 13, was paid $25,250 in all for his services, according to documents received by the Times Herald-Record on Jan. 26 through a Freedom of Information Law request.
He was paid for slightly more than 80 hours of work that included phone calls, emails, preparing for interviews, attending the Aug. 20 school board meeting, legal research and writing a final report, according to an invoice from Patack dated Oct. 3
He spent 50.5 hours, amounting to $12,625, preparing the report about his findings.
Patack's 26-page report received through a FOIL request is heavily redacted and provides little insight into is alleged to have occurred and the investigator's conclusions.
Melinda Gordon was brought on for another investigation on Sept. 14. She was paid a total of $10,250 for her work that included interviewing witnesses, the complainant, the "target" of the complaint, and writing a final report.
Like Patack, Gordon spent most of her time – 31 hours – preparing the report on her findings. By itself, the report cost the district $7,750.
The public version of her 17-page report has also been heavily redacted by the school district.
A school board member earlier this month attempted to have the board release full versions of both reports, with only names redacted, but most of his colleagues voted against it.
This article originally appeared on Times Herald-Record: Newburgh schools paid $30,000 for investigations into Padilla in 2021