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Commerce Resident Threatens Hews Media Group Newspaper Delivery Driver

Art Ibarra, who has sent abusive emails to HMG before, “gets in the face” of the delivery driver.

Staff Report

Eddie Garcia, the long time newspaper delivery driver for Hews Media Group-Community News, is most of the time is greeted with enthusiasm from residents whom he delivers the newspaper to every week.

“People love this paper,” Garcia said, “they thank me all the time when I deliver the paper.”

“Residents in Commerce constantly stop me and thank me for the paper, they love it there to,” Garcia said.

Except apparently for one resident in Commerce who is reportedly a good friend of Mayor Lilia Leon and her daughter, who live in a gated community of about fifty homes in south Commerce.

Commerce resident Art Ibarra, who has previously sent threatening emails to HMG-CN publisher Brian Hews, took exception to Garcia’s newspaper delivery this week, jumped out in front of his van to make him stop, with Garcia “almost hitting the guy” and then verbally attacking and threatening Garcia for delivering the paper in his area.

This week’s front-page story exclusively reported about a possible $2.15 million kickback scheme between Justman Packaging and Commerce City officials, including Leon.

Garcia described the confrontation as scary with Ibarra “getting in my face” saying, “no one wants the  paper in this area, you are trespassing, I have got your license plate and a picture of your van, the next time I see you in here, I will call the police and have you arrested, get the  out of here now!”

Garcia tried to calm Ibarra and explained to him that it is a community newspaper and many people in the gated community have told him they like the paper.

But Ibarra yelled at Garcia saying, “no one likes your trashy paper so get the f*** out of here!”

“I thought the guy was going to try and beat me up, I was ready to defend myself,” said Garcia, “he was very obnoxious and threatening. The funny thing is I’ve been pulled over by people in his gated community who say they love the paper and thanks for the delivery, so I know he does not reflect everyone’s opinion of the paper in that community.”

HMG-CN publisher Brian Hews knows why; Ibarra is very good friends with Commerce Mayor Lilia Leon and her daughter. Leon’s daughter lives in the community and Ibarra doesn’t want anybody to see the hard-hitting articles exposing Leon and other Commerce Council-members.

“We were delivering that area for months no one was complaining,” said Hews, “then we got a few tips, and wrote a few hard-hitting articles. Immediately after that, Ibarra started emailing me and verbally insulting me too.”

Hews tried to reason with Ibarra in the emails suggesting ideas to gauge the interest of the newspaper in his gated community.

“I suggested we put a flyer in the paper to take a poll of residents, but he refused,” said Hews. I also said I would attend an HOA Board meeting but Ibarra said, “We are trying to keep your trash out, not letting you in.”

“I am on the Board of the HOA, and I am telling you no one wants your trash paper,” Ibarra snapped back in an email.

That did not surprise Garcia who said “he was really offensive, calling me all sorts of names, calling Mr. Hews all sorts of names. I tried to reason with him but he said he represents everybody in the association and that no one wants the paper. I know that’s not true, people in his community told me they like it. And everybody in Commerce likes it too.”

Hews sent an email to Ibarra for comment, Ibarra had not answered at the time of this article’s online posting.

Garcia was contemplating filing a report with L.A. County Sheriff’s department.