ELAC Foundation dean dismissed, criminal investigation pending

By Juan Calvillo

Paul De La Cerda, former East Los Angeles College Dean, is under criminal investigation and the Los Angeles Community College District board dismissed him in March. 

Neither the LACCD or police have disclosed what the initial investigation uncovered. The ELAC Foundation’s funds are meant to help students at the college.

Operations Sergeant Arnold Kim said that the investigation is focused on an ELAC employee. 

“Official stance from the department is that entire case was handed over to the Fraud and Cyber Crimes division,” Kim said.

He said ELAC sheriffs do not have information on the investigation that is being conducted. There is currently a detective who is overseeing the case. The reason for the move was because the case needed a more specific detective to look into it. 

Kim said when a case goes beyond the scope of campus detectives, specialized units are called in. Then this unit looks into the case.

ELAC President Alberto Román said the investigation process is handled by the district, not ELAC. He said he could not make any comment on the investigation. Román said he could not get into any specifics about the investigation and that the college has no say in what happens next.

“I can speak in general. I can’t speak about Mr. De La Cerda, but usually in general, if there’s an investigation that takes place and the district finds and warrants necessary action, they will take the action necessary based upon the findings of the investigation. But it’s not a college decision to make. It’s a district process,” Román said.

De La Cerda continues to be paid during this investigation. The LACCD Board of Trustees voted unanimously on March 3 to no longer retain De La Cerda’s services.

Román said it is a standard process for academic administrators to continue to be paid after they are notified of their employment no longer continuing. Administrators have guaranteed employment through June 30.

“Any administrator, in general, that is given notice of non-continuance will be paid through the end of the academic year. In this case, it would be June 30,” Román said.

The position De La Cerda held at the ELAC Foundation is going to change to a classified director. The position would become a managerial position and would change for an academic position. 

Román said the position is currently being recruited for, with the interim executive director being Armond Aghakhania. Román said the administration is confident in moving forward with the foundation without any concerns.

The LACCD Board of Trustees has not given a statement on the matter. The LACCD Human Resources department has not issued a statement on the matter. De La Cerda did not answer requests for comment.

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