SAN ANTONIO - Records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders confirm that a Northside Independent School District employee used her position to run a for-profit club diving team before being told by the district to disassociate herself from it.
Kristin Libardoni, an aquatics coordinator based at the district's swimming and diving complex off Loop 1604, used her NISD email account for several months in 2016 to quote prices and forward travel arrangements for the South Texas United Diving Academy, according to email records.
The emails were sent at various times of day, often on weekdays during regular business hours.
District policy in place at the time the emails were sent required employees to disclose any situation that created a potential conflict of interest, including personal financial interests.
See a history of the South Texas United Diving Academy below.
The club, commonly referred to as STUDA, was formed in 2014 and listed Kristin Libardoni's then-husband, Mark Libardoni, as its governing person and organizer, according to secretary of state records.
Mark Libardoni abandoned an assumed name certificate for the company in January 2016, months after the couple filed for divorce in Bexar County, records confirm.
Mark Libardoni did not respond to requests seeking comment for this story.
In March 2016, Kristin Libardoni was listed as a manager for a limited liability company formed as Union Avenue Athletics, LLC.
Two weeks later, an assumed name certificate was obtained in Bexar County for Union Avenue Athletics, LLC to conduct business as South Texas United Diving Academy.
On the form, the box next to "limited liability company" was checked, and the box next to "non-profit corporation" was left blank.
The documents listed Kandace Trebor-MacConnell, a woman living in Las Vegas, Nevada, as the company's owner.
A background check reveals Trebor-MacConnell is related to Kristin Libardoni.
Trebor-MacConnell did not respond to calls and emails requesting comment for this story.
"I've heard stories where teachers get in trouble for trying to sell T-shirts to their kids and here you are using a $15 million facility," said Nina Salinas, administrator for another club diving team called Hellene Clavadistas.
Salinas, whose sons used to be members of STUDA, said she reported Kristin Libardoni to NISD administration in 2016, after finding out, while forming her own diving team, that clubs had to be nonprofit in order to use NISD facilities.
STUDA's website repeatedly referred to itself as a "not-for-profit LLC" and a "not-for-profit organization," contradicting information that was publicly on file for the company.
Additionally, NISD's website states that facilities cannot be rented for "commercial, profit-making activities."
NISD officials refused our interview request for this story.
In an August 2016 meeting between Hellene Clavadistas representatives and NISD executive athletic director Stan Laing, Laing acknowledged issues with Kristin Libardoni's involvement with STUDA.
"STUDA, and at that time I didn't know that was the name of it - when we found out that Kristin's, I guess, husband at the time, we said, 'We can't do that,' you know, type deal,'" Laing was heard saying during the meeting.
An audio recording of Laing's comments was provided to the Defenders for this story.
NISD spokesman Barry Perez said the recording was made "without the knowledge of all of the parties involved."
Despite the comment from Laing, state records show STUDA did not change hands for another four months, until an assumed name certificate was filed by 2Serve It, LLC to begin conducting business as South Texas United Diving Academy.
A month later, in January 2017, paperwork was filed to create the South Texas Diving Academy Club as a nonprofit association.
Kristin Schulze, STUDA's current director of operations, talked to the Defenders off camera and said she could not speak to how the club was run before she took over.
Union Avenue Athletics, LLC terminated its existence in late December 2017, according to state records.
Perez released the following written statement in response to the allegations against Kristin Libardoni:
The allegation referenced was presented to us in 2016 and prompted a thorough investigation by our Human Resources department. While we consider this to be a personnel matter and will honor necessary privacy requirements, we can confirm that the allegation was investigated and addressed.
The investigation found no violations of law on the part of any employee. The dive club in question was given a deadline to file appropriate paperwork as a not-for-profit organization with the district in order to allow students involved with this club continued use (of) Northside facilities. The club met the deadline and the district staff member associated with this club relinquished themselves from involvement with the club.
Northside ISD strives to have quality swimming and diving programs to meet the many different skill levels of our students. On occasion, when space permits, outside entities are allowed to use the facilities as long as they do not impede on any of Northside's many programs currently offered to the community of Northside as well as the San Antonio area.
Salinas said members of Hellene Clavadistas, many of whom are young children, have been subjected to retaliation including temporarily not being allowed to use hot showers under the diving well at the Loop 1604 location.
She also said a reduction in pool time means divers get around five minutes to practice a dive before having to perform it in a meet.
Salinas attributes these actions to Libardoni's continued role with NISD aquatics.
Salinas said that when Kristin Libardoni first learned that she intended to form a second club diving team for NISD students in 2016, Libardoni said, "Good luck getting the pool."
Salinas said the district at first denied her request to use the Loop 1604 complex and the older George Block Aquatics Center, before eventually carving out time at both locations.
Kristin Libardoni declined our request for an interview and said via email that she has not been affiliated with STUDA since the fall of 2016.
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