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AG’s office assigns investigator to Winkler case

Posted: October 18, 2013 6:46 p.m.
Updated: October 18, 2013 6:46 p.m.
Stephen Winkler Stephen Winkler
Stephen Winkler

SANTA CLARITA - The state Attorney General’s office has assigned an investigator to the Saugus Union School District board’s decision to declare vacant the seat of former board member Stephen Winkler.

The California Attorney General’s office will review the district’s decision and rationale in vacating the seat, Saugus board president Judy Umeck said Friday.

Winkler’s seat was declared vacant in June after evidence surfaced that he may live in Sylmar, outside the boundaries of the Saugus district, and was therefore ineligible to hold the seat.

The board’s vote came after an investigation by the district that included a private investigator tailing Winkler to document his comings and goings.

Winkler’s departure occurred after a contentious public meeting at which more than 100 residents demanded he be removed or leave office due to social media postings in which he praised Nazis and advocated animal cruelty.

The evidence that surfaced in the district’s investigation into his residency status — including legal documents signed by Winkler listing his legal address as Herrick Avenue in Sylmar — proved that he was not eligible to hold his seat, board members said.

According to the California Education Code, elected board members must be residents of the school districts they represent to be eligible to serve on those districts’ boards.

The California Government Code contains similar provisions.

Reached by phone Friday, Winkler reiterated his claim that he lives at an address on Rio Prado Drive in Valencia, not in Sylmar, and that he has provided the Attorney General’s office with evidence — including mail addressed to him at the Rio Prado address — to substantiate that fact.

Winkler said he would serve out his term through 2015 if the district board’s decision is reversed, but added that he has no political ambition beyond that. Rather, he said, he will focus on “spreading the gospel.”

“I have to see what the Lord God has in his plans for me and leave it up to him,” Winkler said. “It’s not my will be done, it’s thy will be done.”

Since leaving the board, Winkler said he has been active in the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, which was founded by a pastor of the same name who is currently serving time after being convicted of taking minors across state lines for sex.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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