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>Emails obtained through Freedom of Information Act indicate Norwalk Mayor Kelley, Norwalk Chamber Executive Director Vivian Hansen, Chamber President Joe Derthick, and others played a role in failed deal.
Downey Patriot publisher Jennifer DeKay-Givens, who, under questionable filing papers, went to court to obtain legal adjudication in the city of Norwalk in March of this year, had the adjudication struck down by the same judge in Los Angeles County Superior Court; the Motion to Vacate the adjudication was filed by Publisher Brian Hews and the Los Cerritos Community News.
Using a law firm based out of Camarillo, Ms. DeKay-Givens filed her notice to publish Norwalk legal advertising under Government Code Section 6000 which reads: A “newspaper of general circulation… which has a bona fide subscription list of paying subscribers, and has been established, printed and published at regular intervals in…the city where published… for at least one year…and publishing news about the city for three years”
The filing notice (found at the end of this article) is signed by Ms. DeKay-Givens under penalty of perjury.
The newspaper DeKay-Givens used to secure the adjudication was the Norwalk Business Call (NBC), a paper that was “owned” by the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber and DeKay Givens entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement where DeKay Given “bought” the paper from the Chamber.
When asked about the NBC and the deal cut between DeKay Givens and the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director Vivian Hansen refused to comment; Derthick did not return phone calls.
With the help of Norwalk Mayor Cheri Kelly, Norwalk Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vivian Hansen and then President Joe Derthick, DeKay Givens bought the NBC name. In an another unusual move, the Chamber allowed DeKay Givens to use their office as the official publishing office of the NBC.
DeKay Givens’ claim that it was printed in Norwalk, and that it was established and published for over one year was a complete fabrication, and the Chamber of Commerce was a partner in that fabrication, we have several emails that say this is a “new” newspaper, how can it be established for one year if they said it was a new newspaper?,” said Hews.
“We have emails (end of this article) that clearly show the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Kelley (along with others), pushed very hard to get DeKay-Givens to publish the NBC”, said Hews.
When LCCN learned of the filing, Hews was ready to challenge in court but was told by DeKay-Givens’ attorney that it was too late to object. “I called DeKay-Givens’ attorney four days before the hearing, gave him evidence, but he said you are too late to object, so I did not go”, said Hews.
Since no objection was heard, and with the judge trusting that DeKay-Givens’ filing statement was true, the judge awarded the lucrative adjudication to her.
Immediately after, DeKay-Givens sent letters to all legal posting companies and to the city of Norwalk. When a newspaper has the city legal adjudication they must publish notices with that paper. “DeKay-Givens probably saw an increase in revenue of $1,000 to $2,000 per week after the ruling”, said Hews. “I had to file the Motion to Vacate, if she would fabricate papers about the NBC publishing status, who knows what else she would have tried”.
In an apparent acknowledgement of her fabrication, DeKay Givens sent out the following the day before the August 15 Motion to Vacate hearing:
“I must inform you the Norwalk Business Call, will, until further notice, will no longer be able to print your legal notices. Brian Hews, publisher of the Los Cerritos Community/Norwalk Community News/Hews Media Group filed a Motion to Vacate Judgment Adjudicating Norwalk Business Call as a Newspaper of General Circulation. The legal notices that are currently publishing will run their course, and will conclude on August 25, 2012.
“DeKay Givens knew she filed fabricated papers. The day before the hearing she sent out a letter acknowledging she was going to lose the hearing, and that it was my fault”, said Hews. “If she knew then, she must have known when she initially filed the papers.”
LCCN has also been told by a source that, along with Mayor Kelly, Councilmen Marcel Rodarte and Leonard Shryock were behind the rise of the NBC. “We were told by this very credible source that they met to discuss the publication and how best to assure its’ success”, said Hews. “ The source also told us that our front page coverage of the crimes in Norwalk, along with several other investigative articles-the Cerritos College Board of Trustees cash-in-lieu fiasco and the Hawaiian Gardens Barry Bruce/Cathy Nevejas scandal angered “high-level” people, so they decided to bring the NBC into Norwalk.”
LCCN contacted current Norwalk Chamber of Commerce President Lynda Fisher but she would not comment. “she was actually extremely rude about our line of questioning, told us to (expletive deleted) and hung up the phone”, said Hews.
LCCN also sent questions via email to all Norwalk Council members: Mayor Kelly, Rodarte, Shryock, Mendez, and Vice-Mayor Vernola, with Vernola the only councilmember to respond. “Given the evidence, I think this is wrong and should be looked into”, said Vice-Mayor Vernola.
“We use a system that enables us to see if the recipient opened the email and every councilmember did, so they cannot say they did not read our questions”, said Hews. “It is very interesting the others did not respond.”
Asked what next steps he will take Hews responded, “ my attorneys and I are looking at all options as it relates to DeKay-Givens and the city. There was a clear intent by all involved to financially injure and hurt the reputation of my newspaper”.
The “conformed” copy of the Motion to Vacate can be found at www.loscerritosnews.net.
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