Waste, Fraud, & Mismanagement

Author of Plagiarized Book Will Keep $1 Million in Tax Dollars From Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County

Despite the discovery that she plagiarized much of her writing, Jean McCorquodale will keep the $1 million given to her by Santa Clara County to write a book about the county’s history, the San Jose Mercury News reported March 13.

McCorquodale, a former county employee and the wife of former Santa Clara County Supervisor and state Senator Dan McCorquodale, was awarded a no-bid contract in 2018 to write a history of the county. The county said she was selected because of her “unique and unparalleled knowledge of the county’s history and leadership,” the Mercury News stated.

After McCorquodale turned in her 580-page manuscript – two years after her deadline – the Mercury News studied the writing and determined that approximately 20 percent was copied nearly word-for-word from Wikipedia and other sources.

The history project has been scrapped, but the $1 million payment will not be returned. County Counsel James Williams told the Mercury News that the only option for the county would be to file a contract dispute that could end up costing the county more than $1 million.

McCorquodale was a grant writer for the county. Since 2009, the county has paid her company more than $2.5 million.