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LCCN Requests Documents From Norwalk Chamber Relating to Downey Patriot Deal

 

By Brian Hews

 

Los Cerritos Community News publisher Brian Hews has requested all documents from the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce surrounding the covert Purchase and Sale Agreement signed between the Chamber and Downey Patriot publisher Jennifer DeKay- Givens, along with all Board of Director meeting minutes and the check register from January 2011 to the present.

 

LCCN has learned that the city of Norwalk is currently giving $3,000 each month to the Chamber and recently obtained checks from the city confirming this. Under Government Code section 54592, the Chamber is considered to be a “local agency” because the city of Norwalk is funding some of the Chamber’s activities.

 

“Since the Chamber is a local agency, it is subject to the Freedom of Information Act (Gov’t Code Sec. 6252),” said LCCN Publisher Brian Hews on Monday in a statement.

 

As documented in this newspaper, there were several secret meetings culminating in DeKay-Givens “buying” the newspaper from the Chamber; she then filed false documents to obtain a lucrative “legal adjudication” for the new newspaper. LCCN sued and won the case to have her false legal adjudication vacated.

 

“The Chamber, Mayor Cherri Kelly, the Chamber Executive Board and Executive Director Vivian Hansen were all involved in this deal, so I would like to see some of the documents behind it”, said Hews.

 

Even without the legal advertising, DeKay-Givens continues to publish the newspaper and Kelly sends her a “Mayor’s Column” once per month, which is always run on the front page.

 

Kelly is a candidate for reelection in the upcoming Norwalk City Council election that will be held in March 2013.

 

The column has raised eyebrows in Norwalk.  Said one longtime Norwalk resident, “if DeKay-Givens was found guilty of filing false documents why is the Mayor supporting her and the paper with a Mayor’s Column?”

 

“She has never sent one to us. We would gladly run it as we do with other city Mayors’ letters,” said Hews.  “It is witness to the disdain Mayor Kelly has for this newspaper, and is the reason she helped bring another newspaper into Norwalk”.

 

“This is very similar to the failed Norwalk Tribune brought into Norwalk years ago by a group of investors,” said Hews.

 

Residents remember the newspaper starting just months before the city elections and the newspaper endorsing newcomer Cheri Kelly who “came out of nowhere”. The newspaper blasted her opponents and Kelly went on to win the election.
That similarity has raised questions about how DeKay-Givens is funding the newspaper. “She has virtually no advertising, so how is she paying for the newspaper? Given my experience, I know the monthly cost of the paper is well over $12,000, she either has money to burn or someone else is funding the newspaper”, said Hews.

 

LCCN has made a public records request to the city of Norwalk asking for checks written to DeKay-Givens and her company none, as of yet, have been found.

 

“If someone else is giving money to fund her newspaper operations, you have to question the editorial & advertising control of the newspaper. If the Chamber is giving DeKay Givens money, that is misuse of public funds, that is why I am asking for the records.

 

Many think that, similar to the Norwalk Tribune, full-page color ads from Mayor Kelly’s re-election campaign will be published in the paper sometime in January “just like the Norwalk Tribune”.

 

In the interest of full transparency, Hews is optimistic that the Chamber will comply with his request. “There are some great people and businesses involved with the Chamber, they know me and the newspaper, and how we helped the Chamber grow. Hopefully they will compel the Chamber executives to turn over the documents”.

 

Just in case, Hews has lawyers ready if the NCC does not comply. “LCCN has a very good PIA attorney. She won the argument against the city of Pico Rivera when they withheld documents, she is ready to go if needed,” said Hews.

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