Siegrid "Ziggy" Robeson, who was fired as Twin Rivers Unified's deputy superintendent, is seeking $3.9 million from the school district for what she says was a campaign of retaliation that included a fabricated drunken driving report.
Robeson, whose duties included supervision of the beleaguered Twin Rivers Police Department, filed a tort claim - a precursor to a lawsuit - with the district in January.
The school board has yet to consider the claim, said school board member John Dexter. If it doesn't pay the claim by June, Robeson will file a lawsuit, said her attorney, Jill Telfer.
"There is more to the case, so she can bring it on," Dexter said. "... It's not much of a suit, to be honest."
The Twin Rivers Police Department has faced allegations of misconduct including police brutality, false arrest and towing an excessive number of cars for profit.
Robeson alleges that district officials tried to make her a scapegoat for the Police Department's troubles and fabricated a driving-under-the-influence citation to discredit her.
There is no record of any criminal case against Robeson in Sacramento County courts, according to research by The Bee.
Robeson's claim for restitution is for emotional distress, loss of reputation, future wage loss and reimbursement for medical and legal bills. It names the school district, attorney Timothy Cary, current school board and board members in 2010 as defendants, as well as former Superintendent Frank Porter.
Grant Joint Union High School District and three other school districts merged to become Twin Rivers Unified in 2008.
Robeson alleges that district leaders began efforts to discredit her after she questioned the amount of money being spent on legal fees to "retaliate" against former Grant Joint Union High School board members. Robeson worked at the Rio Linda Union School District before the merger.
Timothy M. Cary and Associates - the district's law firm at the time - was "profiting immensely" from the lawsuits against the former Grant school board members, the claim states. A call to Timothy Cary from The Bee was not returned.
Robeson said she was interrogated for 16 hours during investigations of the Twin Rivers Police Department by the Sacramento Police Department and internal staff. The former administrator said she felt threatened and intimidated during the interrogations and that her right of due process was violated.
Twin Rivers Unified administrators said they do not comment on pending litigation.
Robeson says she was wrongfully terminated in July, about three months after being put on paid administrative leave while the district investigated her role in the Twin Rivers police misconduct.
The board opted to buy out the final 18 months of her contract for $260,000 and to terminate her employment the day after she appeared before trustees to complain about being made a scapegoat. Telfer said no reason was given for the termination.
Robeson made $174,000 a year as deputy superintendent, plus auxiliary benefits such as an $800-a-month car allowance.
A month before being put on leave, Robeson received a glowing evaluation. In an 11-page compilation of her achievements, Porter called Robeson "a talented, innovative and trusted leader." He says, "Ziggy's diplomatic, steady and courageous leadership during these first four years of the new Twin Rivers Unified School District cannot be overstated."
A 2012 grand jury report that found corruption in the district and its Police Department called on the school board to consider replacing Robeson and four other administrators, including Porter, who retired in June.
Telfer said Robeson had been in the process of taking a new job as a superintendent at another school district about the time Twin Rivers put her on administrative leave. The job offer was rescinded after officials at the other district became aware of the troubles at Twin Rivers.
"She has really been diligent trying to find work, and it has really destroyed her reputation," Telfer told The Bee.
Robeson had been with the district since it formed in 2008. She was an assistant superintendent until 2010, when she was promoted to deputy superintendent.
Board member Dexter said this is just one of a large number of legal actions against the district.
"It's another lawsuit that comes up and you have to deal with it," he said. "... I have my personal opinion, but there are seven of us (on the school board), and as a body we have to decide what to do."
Call The Bee's Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Read her Report Card blog at http://blogs.sacbee.com/report-card/.