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Guilty Plea From Sweetwater School Official In Public Corruption Case

CHULA VISTA — A Sweetwater Union High School District board member indicted in a public corruption case pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of accepting gifts above state limits and will resign from the board.

Arlie Ricasa, 49, becomes the first elected official from the Sweetwater district to plead guilty and lose her seat on the school board.

Ricasa — who is not expected to receive any jail time — was charged last year along with SUHSD Superintendent Jesus Gandara, fellow trustee Pearl Quinones and former school board member Greg Sandoval.

The four, along with a number of other defendants from the San Ysidro School District and Southwestern Community College District, were subsequently indicted by a county grand jury on conspiracy and other counts.

When the case was filed, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis alleged that for years, public officials regularly accepted what amounted to bribes — trips, dinners and tickets — in exchange for their votes on multimillion-dollar construction projects.

Construction company executive Henry Amigable pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor for providing gifts to school board members to influence their votes. A number of other defendants have also pleaded guilty.

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