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Montebello Mayor Romero Submitted Questionable Measure S Sales Tax Documents to City Clerk

Montebello Mayor Vivian Romero.

 

 

The declaration with similar signatures submitted by Montebello Mayor Vivian Romero. Note the area on the bottom right missing the time stamp from the City Clerk.

 

One week later Councilwoman Vanessa Delgado resubmitted documents.

Councilwoman Vanessa Delgado. Courtesy Press Telegram.

By Brian Hews

A few weeks ago, HMG-CN exclusively reported that JCS Construction and David Magallanes filed a cross-complaint is for “equitable indemnity,” naming City Manager Tucker-Schyuler, Montebello Assistant City Manager Danilo Baston, and Information Systems Manager David Tsuen as “cross defendants.”

Equitable indemnity is a claim when one party has been ordered to pay damages to another party as a result of a third-party’s wrongful acts.

The complaint stems from another exclusive 2016 HMG-CN investigation that found Magallanes submitted questionable bids, and then two months later admitted “someone in the city told him to fabricate bids.”

With the complaint, Magallanes stated that if he was ordered to pay money then Tucker-Schyuler, Baston, and Tsuen should be responsible and pay.

 

COMPLAINT: Montebello City Manager Tucker-Schuyler, Two Employees Named in JCS Construction Fraud

 

In effect, Magallanes is saying Tucker-Schyuler, Baston, and Tsuen colluded with him in acts related to the fabricated construction bids.

Now, on the heels of the JCS controversy, HMG-CN has learned that Montebello Mayor Vivian Romero submitted questionable declarations related to the Montebello Measure S tax increase to the City Clerk, which the City Clerk subsequently filed.

Several residents, along with Montebello City Councilman Bill Molinari, were irate that the document was submitted and accepted by the Clerk.

The document entitled, “Declaration by Author (s) of Arguments or Rebuttals” (Declaration) is submitted by proponents and/or opponents of a City measure, in this case the Measure S tax increase.

“Authors” fill out the Declaration and write in their arguments for or against the measure.

The pro and con arguments will be printed in the Official Sample Ballot Booklet and mailed to voters who will weigh both sides before casting their vote.

If the Declaration is not turned in on time, or filled out incorrectly, the arguments will not be printed in the Sample Ballot.

Similar Signatures-

The Declaration turned in by Romero clearly states in bold, “to be signed by each proponent and by each author.”

 

 

The document also clearly states, the undersigned author(s), ”hereby state that such argument is true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge and belief.”

Romero submitted the Declaration on Aug. 21, 2017, three days after the deadline, which was allowed due to city hall’s closure on Fridays.

Arguing for a tax increase, the document was signed by Romero, and Council-persons Jack Hadjinian and Vanessa Delgado.

But it was clear on the document that the signatures were very similar, looking as if the same person signed for Romero, Hadjinian, and Delgado.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even more suspect, the document was not time-stamped by the City Clerk, which would indicate the day and time the document was submitted to the Clerk’s office.

In talking to another City Clerk who did not want to be identified, she said, “it is policy that we time stamp everything that comes into this office – everything – that way the City is protected.”

HMG-CN also obtained the Declaration submitted by residents who are against Measure S, filed Aug. 14, 2017.

It was clear that signatures were all different and the document was time-stamped by the Clerk.

Complaint Falls on Deaf Ears

When residents discovered the signatures on the document, they immediately filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder’s office.

According to Councilman Molinari, “the registrar’s representative, Alex Olivera, was not forthcoming and referred me to (Los Angeles) County Counsel, who did not call me back for several days.”

Councilwoman Delgado subsequently filed another Declaration, dated Aug. 28, with the Montebello City Clerk, this time with the correct personal signatures of her, Romero, and Hadjinian.

Once again the document was filed-but not time stamped- by the City Clerk.

 

 

Declaration submitted by Councilwoman Vanessa Delgado one week after Romero submitted the first document. Note the different signatures and, once again, lack of time stamp by the Montebello City Clerk.

 

Molinari and the residents continued the fight, pointing to California Elections Code 9283.

The Code states, “A ballot argument may not be accepted unless accompanied by the printed name and signature or printed names and signatures of the author or authors submitting it.

Under this statement, it is clear that the Declaration submitted by Mayor Romero with forged signatures should not have been accepted.

But somehow Logan and L.A. County Counsel did not agree, citing the absence of precedent case law not the literal interpretation of the words in the Code.

“Based on (Code 9283) and in consultation with our County Counsel, we find no legal authority in statute or case law that requires verification of the names and or signatures (on the Declaration.)”

Molinari said, “what is the point of even having the declaration if it doesn’t even have to be signed by the actual authors whose names it bears?

Mayor pro tem Molinari-“The City Council Duped Me”

Molinari is particularly angry that the Declaration was allowed because he felt he was deceived into voting for the tax measure to be placed on the ballot.

 

They duped me: Pictured from (l-r) Mayor Romero, Council persons Hadjinian, Barajas, and Delgado.

 

The Mayor and other councilmembers all wanted the tax measure on the ballot and they promised Molinari budget cutbacks and policy changes in exchange for his yes vote.

“Back in May I told them if they wanted my vote I wanted a lockbox so we could keep track of the tax revenue, a committee that would report the spending of the tax revenues, a hiring freeze, a reduction in travel expenses, and a reduction in the contract amounts City Manager Tucker-Schulyer can approve, from $50,000 to $20,000.”

According to Molinari, the council voted and allowed all his demands, then backed down within one meeting.

“The very next meeting, said Molinari, “Councilwoman Delgado voted to rescind the hiring freeze and two existing contracts well above $50,000 were approved and given evergreen clauses.”

“The City Manager then stated she needed more people in finance and was not going to honor the hiring freeze too,” Molinari said.

“I was duped by Delgado, Hadjinian and Romero and Montebello residents need to know that.”

“And the County Counsel played political games too,” said Molinari, “they did not give us their response until three days before the Declarations needed to be turned in to be printed in the ballot, there was no way for us to respond.”

 

 

 

 

 

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