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ARTESIA RECALL FRAUD: Petitions Show Additional Forged Signatures

Rene Trevino allegedly forged signatures and misled residents about the true nature of the Artesia recall.


Published 5/22/17, 1:44 p.m.

By Brian Hews

Yesterday HMG-CN published an article on explosive charges of fraud and forgery that were leveled against the recall attempt in Artesia targeting Mayor Ali Taj and Councilmen Miguel Canales and Victor Manalo.

Disgruntled former Artesia Parks and Recreation Commissioner and resident Rene Trevino, along with a few angry vocal business owners in Artesia, initiated the controversial recall attempt.

The motives of Trevino have been called into question as Trevino resigned under controversy as the Artesia Parks and Recreation appointee of Mayor Ali Taj.

Trevino became emboldened when Cerritos resident Melinda Kimsey, who admitted in court to committing perjury, falsely accusing a 4th grade teacher of harassment and pedophilia and paying a $20,000 fine, and writer Jerry Bernstien, both of whom have been vocal critics of Taj, Canales, and Manalo, became his ally and posted a one–sided, poorly written article about the Petition that did not contain comments from the three targets of the recall.

The timing of the post, published Thursday May 10, showed collaboration between Kimsey and Trevino as Kimsey’s post was made five days prior to Trevino submitting the petitions to the City.

Now, an examination of the Artesia recall petitions submitted by Trevino to the city and obtained by Hews Media Group-Community News, show strong evidence of additional criminal activity by Trevino, with the documents generating even more troubling questions about the validity of the petitions.

One of the first steps in a recall election of any local elected official in California is to gather valid signatures on a “Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition.”

Each Petition lists the official to be recalled, the reasons for the recall, and areas for signatures.

The person gathering the signatures is called the Circulator; in this recall it was Trevino and Artesia Realtor Gurpal Sood.

Curiously, like Kimsey, Sood lives in Cerritos on the 13000 block of Palm Place; an internet search shows Sood’s office inside the building on the corner of Pioneer and 183rd.

The circulators go door-to-door explaining the reasons for recall and securing signatures.

Signatures cannot be forged nor can the explanation of the recall deviate from that printed on the Petition itself.

Finally, the Petition is signed by the Circulator under penalty of perjury and submitted to the City Clerk for processing.

It is those Petitions, submitted by Trevino and Sood, that, according to Taj, Canales, and Manalo, contained fraudulent signatures and signatures that were obtained by false statements.

The three are, with their allegations, accusing Trevino of fraud, forgery, and perjury.

And other residents are backing those allegations.

Perjury is a felony in California law. If convicted, Trevino could be sentenced to up to 4 years in a California State Prison. The judge has discretion, however, to grant probation and impose little or no actual jail time.


Additional Forged Signatures

The most troubling part of the recently obtained petitions is the signature of Artesia resident Roger Butt.

Butt has vehemently denied signing any petition.

In an interview with HMG-CN Butt alleged forgery by Trevino saying, “that is not my signature, I have a very distinctive signature, if you look at mine and the one on the Petition, its is night and day.”

An examination of all petition documents show that Trevino allegedly forged Butt’s name not just once, but on all three petitions.

Trevino has denied any wrong-doing telling HMG-CN, “I was at Amanda Farmer’s house getting her signature and Amanda said ‘wait I have a guy in the back who will sign the Petition,’ he came out from the back and said he was Roger Butt, and signed the Petition.”

Trevino finished, “I did not check his ID, I just let him sign the petition.”

Butt countered, refuting Trevino’s statement saying, “Amanda will go on the record, no one was in the house with her at the time Trevino was there.”

And Farmer is claiming Trevino misled her about the petition’s statements.





Pages from the petitions of Taj (right), Manalo (center), and Canales (left) showing the Roger Butt signature that Butt claims are forgeries. Click on image to view larger document.


Did Trevino Personally Forge Roger Butt’s Signature?

And a closer examination of the signature of Trevino and Butt revealed a striking similarity in the “R” of Trevino’s signature and the alleged forged “R” in Roger Butt’s signature, see below.


Pages from the petitions of Taj (top), Canales (middle), and Manalo (bottom) showing the Trevino writing and the writing of the alleged Roger Butt forgeries. Also the number seven in the addresses has a line through the stem of the number, better known as “frenching a seven.”


Three Different Petitions, Same Pattern of Signatures

The second troubling part that should call into question the validity of the petitions is the pattern of signatures on all three documents.

In every house he visited, Trevino managed to get the person to sign – on the same numbered line on all three recall petitions.

For example Roger Butt’s alleged forged signature is on the same line 17 on all three petitions; Butt’s daughter, Amanda Farmer is on the same line 16.

Every signature on all three petitions matches the above pattern with one exception, but the two signers lived at the same address. See below.



Pages from the petitions of Taj (right), Manalo (center), and Canales (left) showing signatures (in the boxes) that residents are retracting saying that Trevino and Sood misled them as to the true nature of the petition. Click on image to view larger document.


Finally, 18 Artesia residents are claiming they were misled and want to retract their signatures.

“They are very upset,” said Manalo, “Mayor Taj, Councilman Canales, and I spoke directly, face-to-face with the following signers of the petition who told us that Mr. Trevino or Mr. Gurpal Sood failed to inform them of the true nature of the petition for which they were signing.”

The residents are: Ave C. Pacheco, Abigail Aquino, Elijah Pannell, Kathy Pannell, Miguel Garcia, Claudia Aquino, Dorothy Rocha, Amanda (Mandi) Farmer, Roger Butt, George Mendez, Kanishk Nathan, Bhupinder Batra, Surjit Batra, Sonia Lopez, Rebecca Vasquez, Siriwan May Eugenio, Henry Avila, and Theresa Gomez.

If all of the above, as indicated, sign retraction letters, Trevino’s petition will be invalidated.

But according with those familiar with the case, Trevino’s legal troubles will be just beginning.

Councilman Canales, who has been council member since December 2011, serving once as mayor told HMG-CN, “I have never been shy about advocating for the preservation of Artesia’s history, celebrating our diversity, engaging our youth, and partnering with city employees.  I am transparent about my vision and economic goals for a changing, 21st century Artesia. We have five council members in the City of Artesia. Most of our controversial decisions have been made unanimously (5-0 or 4-1). If the recall was a criticism of our decisions, all council members would be recalled. This recall is based on personal attacks, not policy decisions. All allegations are distortions of our public record. This is a personal vendetta led by three merchants wanting no other groups on Pioneer Blvd; some have stated publicly that the city should not celebrate any other group unless they are Indian. I will continue to be vocal about celebrating our city’s diversity and standing against divisive forces. The other individual is an angry former Park and Recreation commissioner, removed because of his harassment towards city staff. I am more than happy to speak personally with any resident regarding my motives and decision making regarding the City of Artesia.”




  • To prove its a forgery beyond reasonable doubt you can always submit it to LASD Crime Lab Examined Documents 2020 w Beverly BL 213 989-5023 Barbara Torres

  • sweep sailor says:

    What fraud in Artesia politics? The home of the always corrupt Tony Mendoza! Shocking I tell ya…. LOL LOL

  • Pat P says:

    I was called over a week ago and asked to show up at the city council meeting that the business owners were mad about the the Blvd and they wanted to “impeach” three of the council members. I couldn’t get what she was saying because you don’t impeach the council and what did that have to do with the Pioneer blvd issue. So I could not attend and I heard that there was no big uprising like she said there would be.
    I understand that the Blvd is an issue and it does not really make sense to me but the issue to “recall” council members doesn’t seem like the answer. Is this Mr. Trevino ever run for office? Have any of these people that are asking for a recall ever run for office?
    If so then step forward.