Racketeering in OUSD?

I admit it: The more I learn about the Bryant & Brown law firm controversy, the more confused I become.

As I reported in today’s Trib, the Oakland school district filed a federal lawuit against the small Oakland law firm (pictured here), alleging racketeering, fraud, theft of public funds — you name it.

What I didn’t realize until recently was that Deb Cooksey — who led the Bryant & Brown investigation for OUSD until she resigned (her last day was Friday) — was once a close friend of Meredith Brown and Guy Bryant.

Bryant and Brown, who are suing the district and Cooksey for defamation, say Cooksey went after them from Day 1 because of a personal vendetta. They say the billing errors were an honest mistake, that the district is wasting its precious funds on a legal case that could have been resolved out of court.

So is Cooksey an axe-grinder or a whistleblower, or something in between? I don’t know. Maybe the United States District Court can figure that one out.

Top photo by Laura Oda/Oakland Tribune. Bottom (undated) photo, of Deb Cooksey (left) and Meredith Brown (center) in Spain, courtesy of Brown.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Equois

    Deb Cooksey is an evil, vindictive bully who’s legacy in OUSD is that she has been responsible for targeting staff and District employees for dismissal…by trumping up salacious, inflamatory and misleading charges…GOOD RIDDANCE (too bad the rest of the legal dept isn’t leaving with her, as they reflect the same mentality and incivility)!!!

    I’d lay odds that there’s more that a little bit of ax grinding going on here…..

    Then again…perhaps she wasn’t offered a big enough cut of the action herself…..EQ

  • Nextset

    This is all very interesting.

    When it’s over can you imagine the dollar cost to the district?

    Who selected these people to work for the district – all of them – and why?

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