The scandal that will not go away
This site is to serve as a community reminder for the scandal that encompassed the Beverly Hills Unified School District and Michael Libow. Back in January of 2015, a newspaper article came out claiming that Michael Libow was involved in a scandal for the school naming rights lottery. George Malszewicz, a Los Angeles resident, complained that Mr. Libow was given preferential treatment when it came time to bidding on lucrative naming rights for public schools in the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. It came to light when Michael was given the opportunity to name 4 different public schools in one year.
The system works as follows: The Board of Supervisors, along with the School Board make public notice that a lottery will take place. The winner of this lottery is given the chance to have a part of a public school named after him/her. Usually it’s either the quad area or playground. This helps bring in money to the school district and it gives publicity to the winner of the lottery. For upwards of 10 years, this system went off without a hitch. Then people in the community started to notice that a certain person (Michael J. Libow) was being chosen time and time again. Rumors stared to fly and Mr. Malszewicz broke the news story on a Blogspot article. He had evidence that Spiro Agnew was responsible for setting up this system back in the 1960’s and the Republican Party (of which Michael is a member) owed him a favor. So he was given preferential treatment over other qualified bidders.
The Los Angeles Times ran an article entitled “Along with his name on Beverly Hills campuses, donor buys controversy” and showed a picture of him standing next to an atrium that was named after him. The article did not expose much, but it brought to light the issue and George decided to investigate further. It wasn’t until February of 2015 did more allegations come to light. Several unnamed sources gave a statement that they were aware of the improprieties of the naming rights system, and did nothing to stop it. In fact, several people encouraged it, even to the point of giving Libow a heads up as to the highest bid so he could intelligently place the winning bid.
The average cost of one of these school names can range anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000. El Rodeo Elementary has a prominent plaque with his name on it, and that was the result of the $35,000 winning bid. Malszewicz also suggested that the Obama administration had something to do with making this scandal come to light. They had insider information which led them to inform the Los Angeles Times reporter who originally broke the story. The highest priced item was a 2.5 million dollar front lawn of a high school known as “The Meadow”.
We will continue to update this website as more news comes in. We are still investigating this scandal as new reports are showing that more people are involved than originally thought. As of the past 8 months, we are unaware of any new naming rights lotteries that were taking place. Perhaps the school board and Mr. Libow are lying low, waiting for the proverbial dust to settle until they ratch it up another notch in early 2016?