A Santa Clarita Valley school board member already censured by his colleagues for inappropriate comments about Nazis was removed from the panel after a district probe showed he lives outside the district.
The Saugus Union School Board voted 4-1 on Tuesday night to kick out Stephen Winkler because they believe he violated a rule requiring board members to reside in the school district.
School board member Doug Bryce, in explaining the evidence gathered by a district investigator, said Winkler had claimed to live on the 27100 block of Rio Prado Drive in Valencia and showed mail for an address there last month.
But the investigation revealed that in 2012 and 2013 he sought civil restraining orders using an address in the 12600 block of Herrick Avenue in Sylmar, Bryce said. In addition, an investigator who conducted surveillance at the Rio Prado address never saw Winkler and those at the address did not know him.
When questioned, Winkler said he used the Sylmar address for storage and had not lived in that area for 30 years, Bryce said.
Winkler admitted at Tuesday night's meeting that when he was elected, the address he listed was a "leasing" office in Santa Clarita inside the district boundaries but insisted he lived at the Rio Prado address and had collected unemployment there.
He added, of the Sylmar address, "I go over there and I got books and movies over there and I like to drink. So it's a safe place to drink and pass out."
School board members, citing the evidence and the district's residence requirements, opted to vacate his seat on the board. Winkler could file a legal challenge to the decision.
Bryce said Winkler's residence became an issue after district officials tried to deliver a package to the Valencia home he claimed to live in, and those there said they did not know him.
The board Tuesday night did not directly address some of Winkler's alleged controversial prior statements. It had previously censured him for what they deemed inappropriate comments on social media related to Nazis and national socialism made by someone using Winkler's name.
Winkler on Tuesday reiterated, "I am not a Nazi. I don't sympathize with the Nazis or national socialism."
When the board censured him recently, Winkler denied he favorited several Nazi-themed videos on a YouTube account, saying someone had hijacked his account, and he tried to report it to authorities. He said he is Jewish.
But school board members and critics pointed out the similarities in wording to remarks he made about the school teachers union.
In approving the censure vote, his school board colleagues told him he needed to resign.
Saugus Union board member Rose Koscielny said it did not make sense that Winkler would allow someone to control an account in his name for years without taking any action.
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