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‘Bodyguard’ of John Soria Identified as Husband of Montebello Unified Board Vice President Marisol Madrigal Uribe

Commerce Mayor John Soria

Wednesday, June 26,2019

BY BRIAN HEWS

This past Monday, Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community News first reported that Commerce Mayor John Soria, a former Thai Kickboxing instructor, had hired a city-paid bodyguard because he “he feared for his life,” the fear related to the fight that occurred May 18 during the Contract Cities Convention at the Renaissance Hotel in Indian Wells.

 

Commerce Mayor John Soria Uses Taxpayer Funds to Hire Unidentified Personal Full-Time ‘Bodyguard’  

 

 

Contrary to many witnesses who have interviewed with detectives, Soria later wrote in a statement “he was the victim” in the fight and not the aggressor, sucker-punched and hit from behind by people “he will press charges against.”

Yet, a little over 30 hours after the fight, Soria travelled to another convention out of state, without protection.

The bodyguard first accompanied Soria to the June 4 Commerce regular City Council meeting, taking a seat behind Soria at the Council dais.

To the surprise of many in the room, the man refused give his name, with only Councilman Hugo Argumedo demanding to know who he was.

An indignant Argumedo looked right at the man and asked, “Why won’t you tell us your name? Who is paying you?”

Looking directly at Soria he said, “there are six armed Sheriff’s Deputies in the building and you need a bodyguard? Leonard [Councilman Mendoza] and I were the ones who were beat up, is he protecting us?”

The meeting ended without the bodyguard revealing his name.

Later, Argumedo told HMG-LCCN “this guy is five foot, ten inches tall, maybe 170 pounds and he is a bodyguard, without a gun, paid by the City, give me a break.”

Sources have told HMG-LCCN that the bodyguard is with Soria most of the time, travelling to all committee meetings during the day, only leaving his side when Soria is at work.

Soria did not respond to questions sent June 5 from HMG-LCCN concerning the bodyguard.

Fourteen days later, Soria and the still-unidentified bodyguard entered Council chambers for the June 18 Commerce City Council meeting, the bodyguard taking his place behind Soria.

Argumedo once again commented on the bodyguard’s presence, but Soria, as Mayor, used procedural maneuvers to brush him off.

But this time was different, an audience member at the meeting recognized Soria’s bodyguard.

And that identification will raise many ethical questions while simultaneously involving the Montebello Unified School District in the bodyguard saga.

The man was identified as Reynaldo Madrigal, who is married to current MUSD Board Vice President Marisol Madrigal Uribe.

 

 

BODYGUARD? Reynaldo Madrigal with his wife, MUSD Board VP Marisol Madrigal Uribe.

 

 

 

The conflicts of interest are rife for Vice President Madrigal Uribe with her husband now “working” for Commerce; the Montebello Unified Board President is Edgar Cisneros, who is also the current Commerce City Manager.

It is unknown how Madrigal got the job, if there were other candidates, if he was employed prior to taking the job, or how much he is getting paid.

Sources are telling HMG-LCCN that during the process, Cisneros and others vehemently questioned the hiring, but they were overruled by Mayor Soria.

Brown Act Violation

As the meeting went on, the Council adjourned into closed session.

And what happened next should trigger an investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office of Public Integrity.

In an extremely questionable move, Soria allowed Madrigal to attend the closed session, a blatant violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, which governs open meetings for local government bodies.

While in closed session, highly confidential matters are discussed that, if disclosed to the public, could be detrimental to the overall process.

The Brown Act prohibits disclosure of confidential information obtained at a closed session to “a person not entitled to receive it.”

During the June 18 meeting, the lone closed session  item was “real estate negotiations concerning the price and other items” of seven properties in Commerce.

Under the Act, Madrigal qualifies as a “person not entitled to receive the information,” so on the surface it appears Soria violated the Brown Act.

A violation of this section of the Act can lead to injunctive relief to prevent the disclosure of confidential information and/or the referral of Soria to the grand jury under Government Code Section 54963(c)(1-3).

Councilman Argumedo did not mince words about Soria’s maneuver, “never seen anything like that in my political career. Closed session meetings are highly confidential. I strongly objected to his presence but Mayor Soria overruled everyone, the guy should not have been in the meeting, it is a Brown Act violation, Mayor Soria has put the City in a very bad position.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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