Two suits against school chief



Washoe schools superintendent Pedro Martinez is facing trial in a lawsuit for allegedly interfering with school district contracts and targeting one business in particular.

The suit was filed last year but never came to light during the dispute over Martinez being put on paid leave. It was reported last week for the first time by KOLO reporter Terri Russell.

Also last week, former Washoe County School District police chief Mike Mieras finally went to court over his June 27 firing by Martinez, suing both the superintendent and the school district.

The 2013 lawsuit involves seven architectural firms with school district contracts to upgrade school locks and other jobs. In September 2012, shortly after he became superintendent, according to the suit, Martinez contacted each firm and told them to halt “their contractual relationship with plaintiff.”

In the court filing, contractor Elkhorn Consulting said there was no reason or authority for “for Martinez to interfere” and that his order cost Elkhorn more than $100,000 and damaged it with future business contracts. The suit also says Martinez “intended to do harm” to Elkhorn. The school district's attorney tried to get the suit dismissed but failed, and it is expected to go to trial in February.

In the Mieras lawsuit, Martinez is accused of a retaliatory firing, claiming that over a two-year period, Mieras reported a number of allegedly improper actions by Martinez, the school district counsel, and internal auditor involving violations of policy and criminal probes and was fired as a result.

The suit says Martinez fired Mieras just short of 20 years in his pension plan.