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An attorney, Ashod Mooradian prosecutes California attorneys who commit violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, the State Bar Act or other laws and/or rules.
By Brian Hews
In a highly controversial move, at this week’s Planning Commission meeting, Ashod Mooradian, Montebello Major Jack Hadjinian’s appointed commissioner, “summoned” indicted former State Senator Ron Calderon to the meeting to advocate the opening of a liquor store immediately adjacent to Montebello Intermediate School, despite vocal parent concerns and numerous community objections.
This was the second attempt by Mooradian to approve the controversial liquor store located at 1400 West Whittier Boulevard and he called on an indicted former Senator to make his point.
Ron Calderon faces 24 charges including bribery, money laundering and tax fraud, which carry a maximum sentence of 400 years in prison.
It was exclusively revealed in the Montebello News that current Montebello City Council candidate Vanessa Delgado, who is endorsed by Hadjinian and Mooradian, bought her house from Ron’s Brother Tom Calderon.
Mooradian, who is running against U.S. Federal Prosecutor Charles Pell for Montebello City Treasurer, spoke as Chairman in favor of approving the liquor store, despite vociferous objections from the Montebello Unified School District and community members.
Community members spoke of the possible dangers associated with liquor stores in the community and especially so close to neighborhood schools.
One community member stated that the city should attempt to attract different types of businesses, since there are “already enough liquor stores in Montebello.”
But it was the appearance of Calderon at the meeting that surprised everyone, with Calderon speaking in favor of the liquor store.
In a long-winded speech that smacked of intimidation, Calderon demanded support for the approval of the application, testifying that “he knew the owner.”
Immediately after the speech, an emboldened Mooradian made a motion to approve the conditional use permit but was soundly rebuked, as none of the other three Commissioners – Commissioner Bagoian was absent – seconded the motion.
An obviously angry and stunned Mooradian insisted that the commissioners explain why “they did not support his action.”
Commissioner Daniel Gonzales expressed reservations with the proposed hours of operation from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Desperate for approval, Mooradian proceeded to change the hours of operation to 7 a.m. to midnight, and made a second motion to approve the permit.
Once again, the Hadjinian appointed commissioner was soundly rebuked by the other three commissioners.
The three seemed to become more and more annoyed and showed that they were not intimidated by the Mayor, his Chairman, or Calderon’s plea for the liquor store.
Commissioner Sergio Zazueta expressed concerns about the sale of alcohol near a school and park and noted that the nearby Superior and Walgreen’s sell alcohol.
Commissioners Gonzales and Cuevas agreed.
An obviously angry Mooradian spoke of “his disappointment with the Planning Commissioners of the City of Montebello,” and said that “denying this permit is not the right call.”
Mooradian insisted that “there is no moratorium on alcohol in our city,” and that “this is an arbitrary decision by the commission.”
Undaunted, Cuevas then made a motion to deny the application. Zazueta seconded the motion, and Gonzalez added his yes vote to deny the conditional use permit.
An indignant Mooradian stuck to his convictions and voted yes, with no regard to the MUSD or parents who were at the meeting.
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