School official convicted of conflict of interest

LOS ANGELES - A former Beverly Hills Unified School District official was convicted Monday of conflict of interest and taking more than $1.3 million through a building management contract she steered to herself.Karen Anne Christiansen, 53, was convicted of four counts of conflict of interest with an excessive taking allegation of more than $1.3 million found true. Christiansen was immediately remanded into custody by Judge Stephen Marcus, who also increased her bail to $400,000. Christiansen faces eight years in prison when sentenced Jan. 5. Christiansen - the former facilities director who was hired in 2004 at an annual salary of $113,000 - encouraged the school district to borrow money for a building campaign while planning to steer the management contract to herself. Her company, Strategic Concepts, ultimately received the contract and began drawing more than $200,000 a month until she was fired. Christiansen also negotiated contracts with an energy firm, Johnson Controls, to do work for the district while simultaneously negotiating contracts with her own company and Johnson Controls.

********** Published: November 24, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 32