Crime - Sacto 911

Twin Rivers trustee Quinn appears in court on felony charges

Twin Rivers Unified School District trustee Cortez Quinn appeared in court Tuesday on felony charges that he colluded with a test-center worker to falsify his paternity test, as well as accepted illegal loans and gifts from a district employee.

Quinn and co-defendant Andre Pearson did not enter a plea in Sacramento Superior Court.

Prosecutors asked to schedule a Feb. 25 settlement hearing “to see if there is potential to resolve the case,” according to Michael Blazina, a Sacramento County deputy district attorney.

Pearson, 36, a Comprehensive Medical Inc. employee who was responsible for collecting a DNA swab from Quinn, is accused of conspiring to falsify the trustee’s paternity test. Quinn, 46, used the test result in court to deny paternity, prosecutors said.

The county’s case against the men is based on DNA collected from a paper towel fished out of a wastebasket during a school board meeting in August. A criminal investigator followed Quinn into a public bathroom and waited for the trustee to wash his hands before collecting the evidence. Prosecutors allege that the paper towel evidence does not match the DNA used for Quinn’s paternity test.

Prosecutors also contend that Quinn illegally borrowed more than $50,000 and received $4,000 in gifts from Sherilene Chycoski, who filed a paternity suit against him.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission fined Quinn $14,000 in February for accepting the loans from Chycoski – at the time a school district employee – and not reporting them on financial disclosure forms. Quinn was required to file disclosure forms as an elected school board member and as district director for Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Blazina took possession of bank records that had been subpoenaed by the DA’s Office. He said the delay in proceedings will allow attorneys to look through the “voluminous materials” involved in the case.

Pearson made his first appearance with an attorney Tuesday. He and Quinn sat separately and showed little emotion in the courtroom. Neither man spoke during their proceeding.

Quinn was arrested Nov. 5 in the parking lot of Foothill High School after a Twin Rivers board meeting. He was released the next day on $25,000 bail. Pearson was arrested Nov. 6 and released on $15,000 bail.

If convicted, Quinn faces a maximum of 12 years imprisonment on 13 felony offenses and an additional six months in the county jail for each of three misdemeanors.

Quinn has served on the Twin Rivers board since 2007 and was board president 2012-13. He earns $750 a month as the representative of Area 5, which includes North Natomas and Robla. He was a longtime aide to Dickinson, both in the Legislature and at the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, before they parted ways in 2012 as Quinn faced an FPPC investigation.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee