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California State Auditor’s Team Questions Montebello Mayor and Council Members

BY BRIAN HEWS

Hews Media Group-Community News has learned that members of the California State Auditor’s team descended on Montebello City Hall this past week questioning City Council, City Staff, several community activists and residents in an effort to gather information on the City deemed “high risk” by the state.

Government Code section 8546.10 permits the California State Auditor to utilize an audit program for the purpose of identifying, auditing, and issuing reports on cities that the State Auditor identifies as being at high risk for the potential of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that the audit, which was ordered a few weeks ago on a 13-0 Joint Legislative Audit Committee vote, could last up to five months and and could eventually end up with criminal charges being filed.

“They are very serious,” said long-time Montebello City Councilman Bill Molinari, “they questioned me for over an hour.”

The serious questioning of Montebello’s finances started in 2016, after City Treasurer Charlie Pell exposed the waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of public funds.

 

Montebello Treasurer Slams Council and City Officials for Waste, Fraud, and Misuse of Public Funds

 

Months later Pell “resigned” from his elected position.

The audit has been postponed several times since January 2018 due to intense “stop the audit” efforts led by Mayor Vanessa Delgado, Mayor pro tem Jack Hadjinian, and Councilman Art Barajas who traveled, on taxpayer expense, to Sacramento to plead their questionable case.

The three spoke to the audit committee indicating “the City was cleaning up its’ act,” and that “cash was coming in, and the right personnel are in place.”

But in May, several residents traveled to Sacramento with over one hundred letters from other residents, to refute Delgado, Hadjinian, and Barajas’ story.

It was their testimony that finally convinced the committee to deem the city high risk and order the audit.

“We all know why they don’t want the books looked at,” said Montebello Councilman Bill Molinari “because there are a lot of issues that would raise serious questions.”

The audit team of four questioned Delgado and others about issues first reported by HMG-CN.

The first issue they questioned was the “Garfield Financial claim.” The City was on solid legal ground, and documents showed Garfield owed the City $600,000.

 

Montebello Mayor Jack Hadjinian’s Questionable Vote Gives His Friend’s Father Millions

 

Yet the council, led by Hadjininan, voted to give Garfield another $1 million.

The auditor’s also questioned the attempted sale of the Montebello Water Company to San Gabriel Valley Water Company which was clouded in controversy and questionable legislative maneuvers.

The team is also looking at the sham JCS Construction deal that was exclusively reported by HMG-CN in 2016.

 

HMG-CN EXCLUSIVE: City of Montebello Handed Out $500,000 in No-Bid Contracts While Fabricating Competing Bids From Sham Companies

 

The investigation found that the City paid almost $500,000 from 2013 to 2016 to JCS, a one-man obscure construction company, using sole source no-bid contracts – while fabricating documents using sham companies with false names and addresses and suspended state contractor’s licenses – so JCS could win the lucrative jobs.

The revelation led to City Manager Francesca Tucker Schulyer’s eventual departure.

The audit team is also looking at the approval of Hilton Homes2Suite construction contracts between KPRS, the general contractor; Brad Perrin, the project manager; and the City.

Ties between KPRS, Delgado, and Perrin were also included in the questioning.

Years ago, KPRS worked with Primestor on a South Gate project shopping center called Azalea. At the time, Delgado was an executive with Primestor and worked closely with KPRS on the Azalea project.

With KPRS at the helm, Delgado’s brother was reportedly given a $50,000 no-bid contract related to the Hilton Homes2Suite project.

Finally, sources are telling HMG-CN that KPRS and Perrin exaggerated their hotel building experience to secure the lucrative Hilton Homes2Suite construction contract, claiming they were highly experienced in building hotels when it was actually only 5% of overall projects for KPRS and none for Perrin.

Meanwhile, the Hilton Homes2Suite project is five months behind schedule, costing the City precious revenues.

According to the contract, fines started at $1,000 per day in January, increasing to $3,000 per day on Feb. 15.

KPRS and Perrin are blaming rain and soil contamination for the delay but will not return phone calls when asked to elaborate.

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Ernest of Oz
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Ernest of Oz

GREAT NEWS for the community of Montebello!
Mr. Molinari was not the only council member being honest, council woman Vivian Romero has withstood her ground on several issues she disagrees with as well.
I’m glad to see the citizens of Montebello are seeing what Delgado is all about

Al Chou
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Al Chou

Finally some good news for the residents, against this out of control Council. The only Honest person up there is Mr. Molinari, who continually is attacked for standing alone for us.

Lynn Fuentes
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Lynn Fuentes

Thank you Mr. Hews for always exposing these Crooks in Montebello. Delgado lost concerning nearly $2 million dollars of Charter School, Chevron Oil & Pot money was wasted to buy her that Senate seat.

Tony the Tiger
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Tony the Tiger

And to think Delgado ALMOST stole a State Senate seat. Can you imagine the embarrassment our community would have endured had Vanessa got elected and then was indicted for fraud, perjury and corruption ala Ron & Tom Calderon???

My prediction…. a lunch time gig at the Holiday in Santa Fe Springs grinding to “Pour Some Sugar On It”🤸‍♂️💃💋! I’ll be there just to throw pennies at her flat ass!

Guest
Guest
Guest

wow, getting pretty personal there…much of an axe to grind? Did she rebuke your advances??

Tony the Tiger
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Tony the Tiger

From all that i’ve Heard….she hasn’t rebuked many advances let alone mine. I take it you haven’t gotten your shot yet? Don’t worry, you ain’t missing much Pal.