Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
The long and painful firing of Stacy Fulgenzi has drawn to a close – for now.
The former Robertson High School volleyball coach earlier this month lost her appeal of a decision by Las Vegas City Schools officials to terminate her teaching position at the district, where she also taught physical education.
Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent L. Larryssa Archuleta placed Fulgenzi on administrative leave last October – just weeks before the state volleyball tournament the Cardinals eventually won – for failing to follow proper procedures for depositing money from a fundraiser for breast cancer victims. Archuleta’s decision was upheld by the school board in a 4-1 vote in February.
Fulgenzi appealed the decision, resulting in an independent arbitration process conducted via video conference, with attorney Peter Wirth, the state Senate majority leader, serving as the arbitrator.
The school district feels vindicated by the decision.
“A preponderance of the evidence was submitted and the district had just cause to discharge,” Archuleta wrote in a text message in response to the Journal’s request for comment. She said she had no further comment, citing it as a personnel matter, which is confidential.
Fulgenzi says the arbitrator’s decision came as a crushing blow.
“I just need to take a little time,” she told the Journal. “It’s really taken a toll.”
This, however, may not be the last legal route for Stacy Fulgenzi regarding her losing her job. She said she hasn’t ruled out filing a lawsuit against the district in the future. She said she believes her termination was retaliation for previous conflicts with Athletic Director Juan Carlos Fulgenzi, who happens to be her ex-brother-in-law, and Archuleta.
“That’s where I need to talk to another lawyer to see what can be done,” she said.
Stacy Fulgenzi feels she’s been wronged. She said district officials and their lawyers frequently said things that were untrue during the arbitration hearings.
For example, she said Juan Carlos Fulgenzi testified that he gave Stacy several disciplinary warnings related to her conduct during fundraisers. Stacy Fulgenzi claims that never happened and there’s only documentation of one reprimand.
“There’s no proof of any of that,” she said. “It didn’t make sense.”
Stacy Fulgenzi recently divorced her husband, Juan Carlos’ brother, and previously said it’s “up for speculation” if family matters were a factor in her dismissal.
Juan Carlos Fulgenzi did not return requests for comment.
That’s not the only matter of public concern. School district records obtained through a public records request show that the defending the coach’s firing has cost Las Vegas City Schools close to $130,000 in legal fees.
Without explaining the discrepancy, Archuleta told the Journal the total amount of money spent wasn’t close to being that high.