This photo shows Juneau School District Board of Education candidates listed on a City and Borough of Juneau municipal election ballot. A review of court records by the Juneau Empire found candidates Ibn Bailey and Thomas Buzard have had protective orders sought against them. The order against Buzard was not granted. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

This photo shows Juneau School District Board of Education candidates listed on a City and Borough of Juneau municipal election ballot. A review of court records by the Juneau Empire found candidates Ibn Bailey and Thomas Buzard have had protective orders sought against them. The order against Buzard was not granted. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Record review shows legal woes for school board hopefuls

Candidates respond to the record.

This story contains wording updates.

Two school board candidates — Ibn Bailey and Thomas Buzard have faced protective orders and other court actions, according to court documents obtained by the Juneau Empire.

According to court records reviewed by the Empire, in 2019, Bailey received three protective orders, one of which involved a principal at a local elementary school. He was banned from going near the school where the principal worked or having contact with the principal. The Empire is not reporting the name of the principal, who in court filings said she was repeatedly contacted in ways that made her feel uncomfortable.

An additional, long-term order was subsequently issued, extending the ban. Neither order is currently in effect.

Another short-term order, issued in 2019, prevented Bailey from visiting local office buildings and the Alaska Club in the Mendenhall Valley. It ordered him to stay away from several women who worked together in an office. It did not become a long-term protective order and is no longer in effect.

The Empire is not reporting the names of those women.

[Bailey to seek school board seat]

School episode

In a recent interview with the Empire, Bailey said the incident that led to the school ban started in late January of 2019 and that he regrets the incidents.

He said that he was helping his nephew, whose father was experiencing homelessness and medical issues during that time. As part of that, he was meeting his nephew at school for breakfast regularly.

He said he had concerns about his nephew’s well-being, and he was struggling to get the proper forms in place that would allow the school to share information about his nephew freely.

On Jan. 31, 2019, Bailey went to the principal’s office and asked to speak with her. Bailey said he wanted to apologize for an incident four years earlier when his son was a student. Bailey said the apology was part of his efforts to “make amends” as part of a sobriety journey.

According to Bailey and court records, this initial meeting lasted “a few minutes.” It ended with an apology for the prior incident.

On Feb. 1, 2019, Bailey followed up with an email that included a quote or poem that the two had discussed, according to court records. The principal thanked him for sending it and said she would share it with her staff.

Bailey continued to send emails—some of them included questions about his nephew. However, many of them had personal stories, compliments, and requests to continue the relationship outside of the advocacy he was performing for his nephew. He provided his cell phone number. In total, Bailey sent five emails between Feb. 1 and Feb. 5, 2019, according to court records.

In the court filing, the principal said the emails made her uncomfortable and she reached out to school officials to discuss a response.

On Feb. 7, 2019, Bailey saw the principal again to ask about getting information about his nephew. After that meeting, the principal sent a note to Bailey to clarify that he could eat breakfast with his nephew but that his brother-in-law had not consented to school officials sharing more information about the child. She asked that Bailey leave school grounds when the child left breakfast and went to class.

On Feb. 8, 2019, the principal sent an email to Bailey expressing her expectation that he would stop emailing her.

Beginning later that day, Bailey sent multiple emails over several hours and into the next day, which the Empire reviewed.

[Candidate seeks open school board seat]

The series of messages include personal information about his marriage and statements of romantic interest.

A Feb. 9, 2019, email reads: “Would I stop writing to you because you aren’t allowed to share information about my nephew with me? No I would not.”

He goes on to detail the connection he feels to her and to share personal stories.

According to the court records, on Feb. 11, 2019, the principal filed the request for a protective order, and a judge issued the ex parte order.

Later that month, the order was extended for six months.

When the order expired on Aug. 19, 2019, the principal requested another long-term order after Bailey sent flowers to her workplace with a card that said “sorry” in Japanese along with the same poem that started the episode in January. A judge granted the order.

Bailey said he sent the flowers after seeing the woman near his car and thought her appearance was an attempt to apologize. He said he reached out to her in that belief.

Additional protective order

In April 2019, a local woman requested an ex parte and long-term order requesting a ban on contact with Bailey. A judge granted the short-term order. However, a judge denied the long-term petition due to insufficient evidence that the petitioner was a victim of stalking.

According to the court filings, the petitioner said that Bailey had “made increasingly frequent and unwanted contact with me and showed up to my workplace uninvited on multiple occasions. He has expressed knowing details of my life that I have never shared with him directly, including the location of my job.”

The request explains that Bailey had contacted her via Facebook messenger in 2018 and had messaged her several times and that he had watched her perform in local shows and had shown up in places she was visiting.

Bailey said the complaint stemmed from a book about the history of African Americans and Native Americans that he had loaned the petitioner and his efforts to retrieve it.

When the order was filed, Bailey said he reached out to an attorney who said that once a protective order is in place, it’s not uncommon for an additional order to be issued by another party.

“My attorney said that once you have one, it’s easier to catch another,” he said.

Bailey responds

In a recent interview, Bailey said the episodes are difficult and painful to recall. In a follow-up email, Bailey said he had nothing more to add about the romantic overtures.

“This experience has been a learning experience,” he said. “I’m trying to look beyond the personal into the broader.”

He said he understands that domestic violence and sexual assault are critical issues in Alaska.

He said he holds no ill will and thinks that the experience will help him be a better school board member.

“The experience has provided insight into some of the obstacles families face when attempting to help family members,” he said. “It’s been a long journey. I can make sure I can represent children who can’t advocate for themselves. Families are not always at their best when they interact with the school,” he said.

He also said that he believes his race was a factor in the decision and that the judge in the case was an “activist magistrate.”

He said the families of Alaska Natives and people of color often end up in the court system through school interactions and that this experience will help him advocate for children and families experiencing a crisis.

Buzard court findings

In January 2004, a former coworker of Buzard’s applied for an ex-parte order and a long-term order. A judge dissolved the ex parte order and it did not proceed to become a long-term order.

In the filing, the complainant said that Buzard, who had recently fired him, was retaliating against him because he had reported that Buzard dumped junk cars illegally throughout the Borough.

The petitioner said that Buzard passed him near the Fred Meyer intersection with his hand in the window to simulate a gun. According to the complaint, later that day, when the petitioner returned to his new workplace, Buzard‘s truck was there, and another co-worker reported seeing Buzard driving around the worksite.

In a phone interview Monday, Buzard denied that account.

He said that when using his cellphone in the car, he holds his index finger up in a fixed position and that he did not know that the complainant was in a nearby vehicle. In addition, he said he did not know where the complainant worked and had not gone to his place of business to seek him out.

In a statement to the Empire last week, Buzard said he was following company policy at the time and the person who filed the complaint was a “loose cannon.”

In addition to the protective order request, Buzard’s record shows a judgment for $21,000, paid to a couple who said they agreed to rent a property from Buzard, paid rent and other expenses in advance, but that Buzard did not deliver the property, as agreed.

Buzard did not comment on this judgment.

In addition, court records show several tax liens and foreclosures filed against Buzard in Petersburg. Buzard did not comment on these actions directly.

However, he did say he was running a large property management company at the time, and in that role, he was often named in legal proceedings related to his work.

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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