The Santa Clara County Board of Education will try to recover money loaned to Charles Weis, even if it means foreclosing on its former schools superintendent.
The board in closed session Wednesday directed its attorney to negotiate with Weis to get him to pay back the $915,000 loaned to him four years ago to purchase and remodel a downtown San Jose condominium. If negotiations fail, the board will pursue "all available legal remedies, including foreclosure," board President Joseph Di Salvo said.
After he retired June 30, Weis wrote the board saying he was relinquishing his interest in the luxury condo, whose value has dropped sharply from the $890,000 he paid in 2008. He wants the board to accept ownership of the property, which is on the 18th floor of the Axis building downtown.
Di Salvo said the 1,300-square-foot condo could now sell for about $675,000.
At the same meeting, which lasted nearly seven hours, the board agreed to renegotiate a housing loan to current Superintendent Xavier De La Torre. Di Salvo and trustee Julia Hover-Smoot, an attorney specializing in real estate, will negotiate with De La Torre.
When they were hired, both superintendents received offers of home loans up to $1 million. Weis paid zero interest on the first $500,000 and 3 percent on the remaining $415,000. De La Torre, who purchased a home in San Jose's Cambrian neighborhood in May, is being charged 2 percent interest on $500,000 and 3 percent on the remaining $460,000. Neither was required to make a down-payment, nor to make any payments until they move or leave their posts.
"We are all very hopeful he will agree to do something," Di Salvo said of De La Torre. None of the board members realized that Weis and De La Torre were not required to pay principal and interest, he said. "We were astonished to learn differently."
De La Torre declined to comment.
Di Salvo said he accepted responsibility for not asking the right questions of the attorneys who negotiated the contracts. Other area schools and cities have offered such low-interest loans to attract out-of-area prospects to top jobs.
Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775. Follow her at Twitter.com/noguchionk12.