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NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

DALLAS -- For the past month, News 8 has been telling you about the allegations by former Dallas ISD Communications Chief Rebecca Rodriguez that superintendent Mike Miles improperly intervened in the awarding of a parent services contract, before the district's top investigator accused him of trying to kill the investigation.

The investigation into Miles alleged misconduct was assigned to former U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins last month after Miles allegedly tried to interfere with his own internal investigators. Coggins was paid $100,000 to continue the investigation and report back to trustees by Thursday night.

Now, new evidence suggests that the investigation has expanded and may be continued.

News 8 has confirmed that the investigation has expanded to include the activities of LULAC District 3 Director Rene Martinez and Communications Consultant Lisa LeMaster, whom Miles had hired for her public relations expertise.

Neither has been accused of any wrong-doing.

While it's unclear why LeMaster is involved, Martinez confirms he is being questioned, in part, about dozens and dozens of e-mails between Martinez and district officials in which he appears to provide substantial input into the day-to-day operations of the district.

In one e-mail to then Communications Chief Rebecca Rodriguez, Martinez said, "you presently have a very fragmented parent engagement strategy. Your Area Office staff is not proactive, they are reactive."

In another e-mail to Rodriguez and Consultant Lisa LeMaster, Martinez offers political advice in dealing with Trustee Bernadette Nutall and education activist Joyce Foreman. "We cannot allow Nutall and Foreman to win the day on these issues," he wrote.

Martinez said he has talked to investigators and that he is not their focus. He also offers no apologies for his involvement on behalf of Hispanic children district-wide.

"I'm going to be involved, Martinez said. I'm either going to be involved behind the scenes, in front of the scenes, with the teachers, with parents, because LULAC's constituency is with parents and kids. So I'm not ashamed of my involvement."

Martinez said investigators questioned him about his relationship with Lisa LeMaster and about her relationship with the district.

LeMaster declined to comment about whether she has been questioned by investigators.

Coggins will be briefing Board members on the status of his investigation in closed session Thursday night.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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