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

Needs a Bodyguard? Commerce Mayor John Soria, who admitted to HMG-LCCN he was a former Thai Kickboxing instructor.

 

BY BRIAN HEWS

It was May 18, 2019 when HMG-LCCN first reported on a “huge” fight that broke out at the annual Contract Cities convention at the Renaissance Indian Wells, allegedly instigated by Commerce Councilman Ivan Altamirano.

 

Fight Breaks Out at Contract Cities Between Commerce Councilmen Ivan Altamirano and Leonard Mendoza, Mendoza Hospitalized

 

Several witnesses to the melee have told Palm Desert detectives that after Commerce Councilman Ivan Altamirano sucker-punched fellow councilman Leonard Mendoza, allegedly over an argument involving cannabis in the City, the Chacons, along with Commerce Councilman Hugo Argumedo, ran over to check on Mendoza.

As they were bent down checking on Mendoza, the witnesses said that Soria, political operative Luis Reyes, and disgraced former Bell Gardens Councilman Mario Beltran led a charge with over ten other “thugs” and jumped the Chacons and Argumedo from behind, hitting and kicking the men, knocking them all to the floor.

The Chacons came away with several injuries, including a ruptured eye and a concussion, while Argumedo got a black eye and severely bruised ribs, their injuries consistent with being in a defenseless position on the ground.

Soria, along with Altamirano, have maintained they were the victims who were hit from behind and sucker-punched.

Yet Altamirano had minor injuries, with Soria attending another conference the following Monday, just 36 hours after the fight.

Fast-forward to the June 4 Commerce regular City Council meeting,  where Soria entered the Council chambers accompanied by a man no one knew.

As Soria took his seat behind the dais, the diminutive man took a seat behind Soria.

Councilman Hugo Argumedo saw what was going on and questioned Soria about the man.

To the surprise of many in the room, the man said he was Soria’s bodyguard, hired by Soria and paid by Commerce taxpayers to “protect” him, but he refused give his name.

Somewhere in between the Contract Cities convention and June 4, Soria, who admitted to HMG-LCCN that he was a former Thai Kickboxing instructor, decided to hire the bodyguard.

He said he “he feared for his life,” the fear apparently related to the Contract Cities melee, the same melee that witnesses told detectives Soria, Reyes and Beltran jumped and beat people from behind.

An indignant Councilman Hugo Argumedo stated, “[Councilman Leonard] Mendoza and I were the ones who were beat up, is he guarding us too? Why won’t you tell us your name? Who is paying this guy? There are six armed Sheriff’s Deputies in the building and you need a bodyguard?”

When the Sheriff’s learned that the man was a bodyguard, they asked if had a gun, the man answered no.

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

The meeting ended without the bodyguard revealing his name.

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

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

 

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