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NBC's Robert Kovacik will host the awards.

NBC’s Robert Kovacik will host the awards.


Staff Report

For the third straight year, Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community News and Publisher Brian Hews has garnered two Los Angeles Press Club finalist nominations to be awarded at the 57th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards, June 28, 2015 at the Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

The nominations are in two categories, Investigative Series and News Feature-Under 1,000 words.

“It is an honor to be nominated with such talented journalists,” said Hews, “we are very fortunate just to be mentioned with them.”

HMG-CN was nominated in the News Feature Category for print newspapers for its hard-hitting investigative story entitled, “Lavish Friday Golf Outings Routine with Ex-Central Basin Water General Manager.”

The story outlined how former CB GM Art Aguilar took frequent Friday golf outings to high-end golf courses during regular business hours with executives from Pacifica Services, owned by Ernie Camacho, who worked at Central Basin. Aguilar did not report the green fees and other large expenses on his Statement of Economic Interests Form 700.

As a result of the story, the Fair Political Practices Commission ruled that Aguilar violated the Political Reform Act and fined him $30,000.

See story click here

HMG-CN was also nominated in the prestigious Investigative Series Category for Print Newspapers for its investigative story entitled “La Mirada Football Booster Club Under Scrutiny by Attorney General”

This story was about the football booster club and how they collected over $1 million per year from parents of football players with no little or no oversight and no financial or company controls.

This story got over 23,000 hits and 1,400 Facebook likes. The story resulted in the Norwalk-La Mirada School District implementing wholesale institutional changes in their booster system, calling in a consulting company to completely revamp their entire policy and procedures of the school district and how they operate and manage all non-profit booster clubs, of which there are over 10.

See story click here.

Other newspaper finalists in this category include the Pasadena Weekly, the Los Angeles Downtown News, the Los Angeles Business Journal, and The San Bernardino Sun.

HMG-CN won four of the prestigious Press Club Awards in 2012 and 2013.

In 2012, HMG-CN won 1st place in the Investigative Series category for its exclusive expose on Assessor John Noguez in what turned out to be the biggest financial scandal in Los Angeles history.

As a result of the series, Noguez was arrested on bribery and corruption charges and is awaiting trial.

A number of other arrests were made, including Tax Agent Ramin Salari and Mark McNiel one of Noguez’ deputies.

Noguez was charged with 30 felony counts, including four counts of accepting bribes; five counts of perjury; two counts of conspiracy; and 19 counts of misappropriation by a public officer. The complaint alleges the fraud and embezzlement exceeded $500,000.

If convicted as charged, Noguez faces up to 38 years in state prison.

Salari was charged with 59 felony counts, including 24 counts of bribing an executive officer; two counts of conspiracy; 19 counts of misappropriation; seven counts of embezzlement; and seven counts of grand theft.

If convicted, he faces up to 60 years in state prison.

McNeil was charged with 20 felony counts, including one count of conspiracy and 19 counts of misappropriation by a public officer.

If convicted, he faces up to 29 years in state prison.

Wholesale institutional changes were also made at the Assessor’s office to eradicate future abuses of the system.

The series also garnered a Pulitzer Prize nomination for HMG-CN.

HMG-CN took home 1st place in 2013 for Best News Feature entitled “Undercover FBI Agent Rocky Patel Used Dal Rae in Pico Rivera to Stage Calderon Sting Operation.”

HMG-CN also took home two 2nd place awards in 2013 for Hard News and Investigative Series.

On their website the Press Club stated, “this is proving to be the most competitive year in the Los Angeles Press Club’s recent memory with close to a thousand entries. So if there was ever a year when it is an honor just to be nominated, this is it.”

The awards will be held June 28, 2915 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

The 57th Southern California Journalism Awards will be dedicated to Rick Orlov, Al Martinez and Stan Chambers.