Celebrated Los Angeles school food executive removed from job

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 06, 2015 4:46 AM

(Reuters) - A Los Angeles school food executive, who took salt and fat out of school meals and was praised by U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, has been removed from his job, officials said in a brief statement on Thursday.

David Binkle, Los Angeles Unified School District food services director, had been "temporarily reassigned" pending an investigation into a "confidential personnel matter", the district statement said.

The Los Angeles Times, citing a draft report from the inspector general's office, said that Binkle failed to report ownership interests in a food consulting firm, mismanaged the school system's $500,000 yearly marketing budget, and had not disclosed payments from suppliers to attend conferences.

Representatives for the district could not be reached to provide additional details.

Binkle could not be reached, but told the LA Times by email, "I have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide since my actions were approved and encouraged from senior district officials, general counsel or the ethics office."

"I am confident the truth and facts will show the allegations are unsubstantiated," he said.

Binkle was spotlighted by Michelle Obama's Let's Move youth health initiative last year for exceeding school nutrition standards in the country's second largest school system.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Louise Ireland)