City Hall officials said Thursday they were aware of a 2015 gender discrimination lawsuit involving incoming Chancellor Richard Carranza before tapping him for the job, but said they believed the allegations were false and did not affect their decision to hire him.
The allegations, first reported and splashed across the cover of the New York Daily News, took place while Carranza ran the San Francisco Unified School District.
The suit was filed by a district employee who said she was denied a leadership role during Carranza’s tenure because of her gender and charged he retaliated against her for confronting him about flirting with a woman during a work conference. The case was settled for an undisclosed sum.
A City Hall spokeswoman said city officials discussed the allegations with Carranza before his hiring and determined they were false. She did not offer more details about how the city determined the claims were not true, or answer other questions about the vetting process.
“The allegations were completely false,” City Hall spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie wrote in a statement, noting he was not a named defendant in the lawsuit and wasn’t involved in the settlement.
The plaintiff, Veronica Chavez, worked for the district when Carranza was named superintendent in 2012. In the suit, Chavez claims Carranza began implementing changes that caused a large turnover of staff that resulted “in the replacement of qualified female employees with a predominately male” team. Chavez, according to the suit, was “outspoken” about her feelings.
Chavez went on to create a new office to lead professional learning and leadership development, and expected that she was in-line to serve as its leader. She claims things changed after she confronted Carranza about what she described as “flirtatious” behavior with a woman at an education conference in Los Angeles.
Instead of being appointed to the post, Chavez was made to apply for the position, the lawsuit says. She says she suffered a concussion in a car accident just before her interview, which affected her performance. Ultimately, the position was given to another woman.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first chancellor pick, Miami-Dade County Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, faced scrutiny for emails that suggested he had a romantic relationship with a Miami Herald reporter covering the district. In that case, the scandal was widely covered and City Hall officials said it didn’t prevent them from offering him the job.
A spokesperson for Carranza did not immediately respond to a request for comment.