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Garland ISD Teacher Recruitment Investigation Underway

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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GARLAND (CBS 11 NEWS) – For the second time in a week a suburban Dallas school claims to have been betrayed by valued employees.  First it was a Plano security director pleading guilty to embezzlement; then Tuesday two longtime Garland ISD administrators were accused of misusing visa and foreign teacher recruitment procedures.

District officials say it went on for nearly a decade.  At a time when similarly sized Dallas schools were recruiting 17 to 23 foreign teachers annually, Garland had 642 applications for H1B visas — allowing foreigners with specialty occupations to work in the district.

Harry Jones, an attorney with the Littler Mendelson law firm, said, “Money was being made and privileges were being enjoyed by many people.” Littler Mendelson is leading the probe for the GISD.

The investigation alludes that former human resources director Victor Leos headed a scheme to lure foreigner teachers to Garland with promises of work and visas.

It is believed that Leos would fly to the Philippines, for example, all expenses paid.  A female math-teaching candidate might pay a recruiter $1,000 for an interview.  If Leos successfully recruited her, she paid the recruiter another $5,000. Once in North Texas, Leos’ stepson, Paul Reudiger, would rent her a house along with other foreign teachers.  And the Yu Law firm — where his stepdaughter Amy Reudiger worked as a billing clerk — would handle visa issues.

According to Jones, “The entire time that teacher is with Garland ISD, Mr. Leos holds complete power over her visa status.”

CBS 11 News went to the Yu Law Firm, but no one would discuss the accusations or Ms. Reudiger. There was no one at Victor Leos’ home when we tried to approach him.  And the house where the teachers paid rent has a permanent new tenant as of last August.

The district also believes its former superintendent, Dr. Gary Reeves, repeatedly ignored evidence of the plan though he didn’t benefit from it. Fourteen months ago he received an e-mail with specifics and still took no action, according to the district. Current superintendent, Dr. Bob Morrison, said, “I think personally your heart goes out to the teachers that were impacted, because the teachers we now have are outstanding teachers — many of them are department heads.”

The teachers also may have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in visa fees they didn’t owe. As far as those wrongfully collected funds, the district has promised to make them whole.  No one mentioned in the probe is still working in the GISD. All if the learned information has been turned over to the Texas Rangers and federal investigators.

According to GISD officials, there are now about 280 foreign teachers in the district now; of that number 80 have green cards.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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