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Orange County Register (California)

Former Capistrano Unified School District high school coaches Charles "Chi Chi" Biehn, Brent Melbon and Eric Patton were fired in February 2012 after an investigation into accusations that they participated in a kickback scheme from 1993 to 2008 involving Lapes Athletic Team Sales in Laguna Hills.

The scheme was discovered after the company went bankrupt in 2008. A district investigation concluded the coaches, also teachers, kept personal Lapes Athletic accounts enabling them to convert tens of thousands of dollars in school and booster club funds into personal credits.

A Register investigation found most of the taxpayer money appeared to have been spent on athletic programs, but the district concluded that thousands were spent on personal gear for the coaches, violating district policy.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office chose not to file charges against the coaches.

Melbon and Biehn are appealing their terminations; Patton has retired.


Administrative law Judge Vincent H. Nafarrete of the state Office of Administrative Hearings presided over a hearing to determine whether the district had cause to terminate Biehn's employment.

Biehn had been a history teacher, head football coach and athletic director. The hearing concluded April 4 and two commission members began deliberations April 7.


The commission members have 100 days to come to a decision, then the district board has 30 days to announce the finding.

A hearing on whether the district had cause to terminate Melbon's employment is set for June 2-11 at the district, 33122 Valle Road, San Juan Capistrano.

949-454-7373 or

May 16, 2014


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