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District Attorney Cites Impropriety on Secret Meeting Held by Cerritos Mayor-Pro Tem Chen

Controversial Cerritos Mayor Pro Tem Carol Chen coordinated private meeting with other elected officials to talk about upcoming ABC School Board Bond worth $235 Million,

Controversial Cerritos Mayor Pro Tem Carol Chen coordinated private meeting with other elected officials to talk about upcoming ABC School Board Bond worth $235 Million,

By Brian Hews

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey cited “potential impropriety” and as a result will not be formally prosecuting Cerritos Mayor Pro-Tem Carol Chen after Hews Media Group-Community Newspapers reported that the controversial local council member held a private meeting with other area elected officials to plot a secret strategy to defeat an upcoming $195 million general improvement bond by the ABC Unified School District.

HMG-CN confronted Chen and Cerritos City Councilman Bruce Barrows, as well as ABC School Board Members Lynda Johnson, and past city council member Grace Hu, past ABC School Board Members Cecy Groom and Dixie Primosch and at least two dozen others who attended the closed-door meeting before the July 4 holiday.

The meeting was held at Chen’s private real estate office located in Cerritos.

Long time Cerritos resident Jim McMahon filed the formal complaint against Chen with Lacey and the Public Integrity Unit on July 6.  The complaint was sent to the District Attorney’s Bureau of Fraud and Corruption Prosecutions Public Integrity Division.

Lacey and her office reviewed the circumstances of Chen’s meeting, and in her response to McMahon said “although the circumstances give the appearance of potential impropriety, we do not find that the meeting held by the Cerritos Mayor Pro-Tem (Carol Chen) and selected members of the ABCUSD (Yoo and Johnson) violated the Brown Act.

“While members of both the city council and the ABCUSD board attended the meeting, as far as can be determined, there was not a majority of either body present.  Therefore, the meeting was not held in violation of the Brown Act,” Lacey stated in her response to McMahon.

The Ralph M. Brown Act is also known as the California Open Meeting Law.  Violating the Brown Act has resulted in countless indictments and infractions given against elected officials during the past several decades.

Lacey said in her response that there was “no evidence that any serial communications actually occurred.” Bjorn Dodd, who is a Deputy District Attorney in the Public Integrity Division, also signed the response.




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10 Comments on "District Attorney Cites Impropriety on Secret Meeting Held by Cerritos Mayor-Pro Tem Chen"

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If all these people met in her private office and not having a “secret meeting” then what were they doing? Selling Tupperware? Discussing how they dearly enjoyed the campaign of Michael Dukakis? Ms. Chen selling Mary Kay? I promise you that in time, one of them will crack! Amongst thieves there is ALWAY a traitor. I also agree with the comments above. All political meetings should be made public and executed publicly. The City of Cerritos and the ABC school district are incahoots with each other… One example of how noble our beloved ABC school district is: Gahr High school… Read more »

Hopefully the irony of an individual, who has falsely held himself to be an attorney in the past, and now files a complaint of impropriety to the public integrity division of the district attorneys office is not lost on too many. I wonder if there’s a Cerritos ordinance regarding glass houses?


No surprise here. “potential impropriety” is not impropriety nor is it illegal under our open meeting laws. While you can certainly disagree with her holding such a meeting, it is not illegal.

M c M a h o n

1. the quality or condition of being improper.
2. inappropriateness; unsuitableness.
3. unseemliness; indecorousness; potential conflict of interest.
4. an erroneous or unsuitable expression or act.
5. an improper use of language.

M c M a h o n
This so called private meeting, was more or less a KKK rally, in order to investigate the Mello Roos School Bond. I am in favor of Proposition 13 and violently opposed to proposition 39 which is fish wrapping paper for this Mello Roos Bond. FYI: City already has 3 Mello Roos Bonds and poss more. This is not the first run with Carol Chen. When she was the Cerritos Planning commissioner, during a much heated debate over RV’s in the city of Cerritos, she was questioned over the Brown Act, and also the city attorney. Politics is supposed to be… Read more »

“More or less KKK meeting”- really… That’s an insult to the victims of the past committed by KKK. Your in favor of prop 13 ? You must not have a mortgage anymore or your mortgage to you is a low expense.
The animal issue eh I don’t know to much about that but you around right.
In my opinion cerritos has come along way to the old gang banning cow smelling it use to be.

M c M a h o n
In 1970’s, tax payers nationally revolted. A large contributor to Proposition 13 was the sentiment that older Californians should not be priced out of their homes through high taxes… The proposition has been called the “third rail” (meaning “untouchable subject”) of California politics, and it is not popular politically for lawmakers to attempt to change it. Mello Roos, Bonds, Propositions, Measures can all have significant tax consequences, which can force fixed incomes and retirees from their primary residences. Favin Riley, teamster union chair, can call the school bond a tax, but dont lie to the voters of ABCUSD, this is… Read more »