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LAUSD settles sexual harassment claims against former superintendent Cortines: $200,000 plus benefits

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The Los Angeles Unified School District will pay a school district manager $200,000 in cash, along with lifetime benefits, to settle sexual harassment allegations against a former superintendent.

It started two summers ago when senior LAUSD facilities manager Scot Graham accepted an invitation from then-Superintendent Ramon Cortines to spend the weekend at Cortines’ Kern County ranch.

Graham says Cortines made inappropriate verbal and physical advances, but Cortines has since said that what happened was "consensual spontaneous adult behavior."

Two months ago, nearly a year after Cortines retired, Graham’s lawyer told the school district he planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit.

"The board concluded it was the best use of the district’s resources to resolve it early with probably less expense and less disruption to the district," said district lawyer Linda Savitt.

Graham agreed to retire at the end of the month. He’ll receive the $200,000 settlement from LAUSD’s general fund.

The three school board members who voted against the settlement said the district should have fought the allegations in court.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that a lawsuit was being settled; the claims were settled before a suit was filed. The story also previously said that Scot Graham was visiting Cortines with Graham's male partner, but the visit with the male partner happened previous to the alleged harassment visit.

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