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Hubbard sent suggestive e-mails during previous job

Exchanges between the Newport-Mesa schools chief and his former subordinate in Beverly Hills doesn't bother some on the school board.

January 12, 2011|By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com

Media reports about a series of e-mails laced with sexual innuendo between the superintendent of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and a former subordinate in his last position in Beverly Hills did not raise eyebrows among local school board members.

"I take it with a grain of salt," said Martha Fluor, a Newport-Mesa Board of Education member. "They are consenting adults."

Newport-Mesa Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard exchanged suggestive e-mails with a former employee in the Beverly Hills Unified School District, where Hubbard was schools chief prior to coming to Newport-Mesa. The pair, who are accused of felonies by Los Angeles County prosecutors, apparently used their school district e-mail accounts to trade messages.

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In e-mail excerpts first reported by the Orange County Register, records show that Hubbard and Karen Anne Christiansen, the former facilities director for the Beverly Hills Unified School District, bantered back and forth with one another flirtatiously with sexual undertones through official district channels.

According to the Register report, Hubbard and Christiansen traded the e-mails while he was superintendent of the Beverly Hills district, then after he had moved on to his new job as superintendent of Newport-Mesa schools.

Hubbard and Christiansen are charged in Los Angeles County with various felonies related to their employment with Beverly Hills.

Christiansen faces the more serious charges, including conflict of interest and misappropriation of funds that allegedly netted her $2.2 million. Prosecutors have accused Hubbard of two counts of misusing public funds by allegedly giving Christiansen an illegal $20,000 stipend and improperly increasing her monthly car allowance.

In December, when news about the charges against the superintendent broke, Hubbard told a Daily Pilot reporter that he had known Christiansen for three years but that they didn't have a relationship outside work.

On Wednesday he and his attorney did not return calls for comment. Hubbard also left Tuesday's school board meeting before a Pilot reporter had a chance to interview him.

In his e-mails dating back to as early as 2005, Hubbard's last year with Beverly Hills, he called Christiansen "sweetheart," "hottie" and said "I love you" and "I adore you," according to media reports.

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