Judge Favors OC Board of Education in Appointment Lawsuit

Judge Favors OC Board of Education in Appointment Lawsuit
"In God We Trust" hangs in the meeting area of the Orange County Board of Education in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Oct. 7, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Vanessa Serna

COSTA MESA, Calif.—After battling various lawsuits challenging his seat on the Orange County Board of Education, Tim Shaw kept his trustee position, after a judge denied a request for his removal on March 10.

The decision from Orange County Superior Court Judge Martha Gooding on late on the afternoon of March 8 denied local resident Michael Sean Wright’s request to prohibit Shaw from serving on the board in any capacity, according to the ruling.

Shortly after the release of the final decision on Wednesday, Shaw told The Epoch Times that he was relieved and believes the efforts to get him removed was a “political stunt” to lessen his chances of winning his District 4 seat that is up for grabs in June 2022.

The contentious debate comes after Shaw received a legal challenge in January 2021 that questioned his ability to serve simultaneously on the La Habra City Council and Orange County Board of Education. Shaw was forced to step down from his seat on the board in November 2021 before being reappointed by his peers in December 2021.

Wright argued in the failed challenge that Shaw was illegally reappointed to the board of education due to a state law that says, “the local board may not re-appoint to the office the person whose resignation caused the vacancy in the first place,” according to the lawsuit.

However, the board argued that this law didn’t apply to them and only considered a governing body, such as a city, county, or district—all of which the board doesn’t fall under—according to Shaw.

The effort to remove Shaw off the board months before the upcoming election may still proceed.

Shaw was served on March 2 with a quo warranto—a legal challenge questioning the ability for someone to hold a public office—by Wright’s lawyer, Lee Fink, at the beginning of the board of education meeting.

The challenge was filed to Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office, but Shaw said it won’t go far as the June election is quickly approaching.

“It’s a stretch,” Shaw said. “They just want to beat me.”

Meanwhile, Fink disagrees with the court ruling and believes that Shaw’s appointment continues to violate the law.

“We are considering all options to ensure that the public’s rights are vindicated,” Fink told The Epoch Times.