Wake school board member Goldman in legal dispute

tgoldsmith@newsobserver.com khui@newsobserver.comSeptember 30, 2011 

— Debra Goldman, a key vote on the Wake County school board, is engaged in a heated legal battle with her husband, with accusations of bad behavior on both sides.

The dispute has unfolded this month in three Wake County court filings.

On Sept. 19, Steven Goldman filed a complaint accusing his wife of "secreting and diverting" money from the couple's joint accounts, causing them to fall into negative balances.

As a result, the couple's resources have been devastated by overdrafts, late fees and the like, he claimed.

In addition, he asked for joint custody of the couple's two minor children and that the couple's "divisible" assets be separated.

A week after his complaint, Debra Goldman, 48, asked a district court judge for a domestic-violence order of protection, charging that her husband made "demeaning, degrading, accusatory" outbursts, kept a loaded gun in their Cary house and hit their minor children.

"I'm so scared of him, my hair is falling out," she wrote in a court document. She was awarded an order of protection that expires Monday.

On Thursday, Steven Goldman, 49, filed a response that denied her accusations. He then made new charges against her. He claims that Debra Goldman caused him emotional distress by telling him that she had committed multiple acts of adultery and intended to commit more.

The filing also says she has tried to estrange the couple's children from him by telling them that "'Daddy took all the money,' and that the family has no money available for food because of (his) acts."

Debra Goldman declined to comment Thursday.

A key vote

Goldman and her board colleagues set policy for the nation's 18th-largest school district and control an operating budget of more than $1 billion.

Goldman was elected in 2009 and has emerged as a deciding vote over the past two years, breaking with the five-member Republican majority on some votes as the board struggled with a historic remake of the 146,000-student system.

Goldman's actions, such as voting with Democrats to kill work on a GOP board-developed student assignment plan, have caused the other Republican board members to say they need to win another seat in next month's elections to accomplish their agenda.

They also chose not to re-elect her in June to her position as board vice chairwoman. Her initial refusal to back her eventual successor, John Tedesco, led to 56 rounds of voting.

Goldsmith: 919-829-8929

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