LANCASTER — D’Vacor Entertainment Group, the Northern California-based entertainment firm hired to create personal websites for Antelope Valley Union High School District’s Board majority at taxpayer expense, withdrew its contract for services with the District less than five hours before Thursday’s governing Board meeting.
Rose Lyles, D’Vacor’s managing partner and senior graphic designer,sent an email to Board President Robert “Bob” Davis at 2:25 p.m. announcing her withdrawal of the contract for services.
Davis announced the contract had been withdrawn at Thursday’s meeting.
Lyles thanked Davis and the District for the opportunity to provide her “website/development services”
“However, after much consideration on the changes as well as additional amendments that have been added to the terms and conditions of my agreement by your counsel, I feel that my company is no longer a good fit for the District. Please accept this email as notice that I am withdrawing my contract for services effective now,” Lyles wrote.
A copy of the email was obtained by the Antelope Valley Press via a Public Records Act request.
Lyles did not return a telephone message or email inquiry seeking comment Friday prior to press time.
Davis, Board Vice President Victoria Ruffin, and Clerk Amanda Parrell approved D’Vacor’s open-ended contract at the Board’s Jan. 24 meeting.
Trustees Jill McGrady and John Rush voted no.
The estimated cost was $5,000 per website, plus $1,000 each for monthly maintenance. The contract also called for the District to pay Lyles’ travel expenses.
D’Vacor Entertainment Group created campaign materials for Ruffin, who was elected to the Board on Nov. 6 for a four-year term. The samples have since been removed from the company’s website.
Lyles and Ruffin are also listed as contacts for Diverse Communities in Action Movement, described on the entity’s website as “a group of people, working together to advance shared social and political ideals.”
The Board majority approved D’Vacor’s agreement before it could be properly vetted.
The Board was set to consider a revised agreement at the Feb. 28 meeting. The revisions were intended to protect the Board from liability in regard to spending public funds on personal websites.
Davis pulled the revised agreement from agenda at the start of the Feb. 28 meeting. He cited an unspecified “legal matter.”
According to John W. Harris, the $400-an-hour attorney hired by Davis, Ruffin, and Parrell, the contract did not need to be voted on again, Harris said at the meeting.
However, Bridget Cook,the District’s in-house counsel, said at the same meeting that the contract is void against public policy because the public cannot pay for personal websites for Board members.
“The Board cannot enter an illegal contract. You cannot enter a contract to purchase personal property, sir,” Cook said at the Feb. 28 meeting.
The D’Vacor contract was tabled for another date. But that date never came.
To share your opinion on this article or any other article, write a letter to the editor and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Letters to Editor, PO Box 4050, Palmdale CA 93590-4050.