EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso ISD’s Superintendent and a former school board president Dori Fenenbock are accused of conning investors out of five million dollars for an online school. Late Monday afternoon, KTSM spoke with an EPISD trustee who says these allegations should not reflect on the district.
“I know that a lot of people are going to see this as —a black eye on the district,” Franklin area trustee Freddy Klayel-Avalos said.
According to the lawsuit obtained by KTSM, Juan Cabrera and Dori Fenenbock approached a California charter school company in 2018 with plans to develop a for-profit virtual school called “E-School Texas.” The lawsuit alleges Cabrera and Fenenbock reached out to and engaged in, a fraudulent scheme to solicit and induce investors and convert cash investments to create to their own use.
Klayel-Avalos says Cabrera has been open about his connection to “E-School” but has said he is not part of the ownership. Cabrera also assured board members he has not received compensation.
The lawsuit also claims Cabrera promised to resign from his role as El Paso ISD Superintendent in order to secure the five million dollar investment in the school. Cabrera’s contract allows him to serve as an advisor in other areas of business as long as he doesn’t get paid for it.
“If I saw that he was using his position to willingly create and get compensated to a create a charter school that would compete with EPISD, that is clearly a conflict of interest,” said Klayel-Avalos.
In light of the allegations, Klayel-Avalos suggests there might need to be changes when it comes to the contracts of future Superintendents. He says he and other board members believe non-district ventures can be a distraction.
“All the trustees especially me and Daniel Call are going to be making sure the Superintendent is going to be focusing on our school district before anything else moving forward,” Klayel-Avalos explained.
Cabrera and Fenenbock have not responded to KTSM’s requests for comment. An El Paso ISD District spokesperson said the district has no comment on the lawsuit because it is a non-district matter.