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EXCLUSIVE: Investigation Slams Santa Fe Springs Councilman Zamora for Harassment and Discrimination


joe angel zamora

SFS Councilman Joe Angel Zamora


BY BRIAN HEWS • September 4, 2020

Hews Media Group-Cerritos News has obtained a confidential investigation report conducted by the Cerritos-based law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo   over allegations that Santa Fe Springs Councilman Joe Angel Zamora made several inappropriate comments aimed at a Santa Fe Springs Fire Department Engineer and his minor son.

An email to the City by Fire Engineer Pat Carrillo described alleged incidents which went from verbal altercations on the golf course, to another altercation in the golf banquet bathroom, to a third in the banquet hall, that took place at the November Blazing Tees Charity Golf Tournament in Whittier last year.

The investigator interviewed Carrillo, the target of Zamora’s alleged slurs, Councilman Zamora, and fifteen others as outlined in the 90-page report dated June 1, 2020.



The report found that in all cases, Zamora “more likely than not” launched inappropriate, unprofessional, and sex oriented slurs not only at Carrillo and his son, but others on the course who could hear his loud voice.

A Squirrel?

The saga starts on an incident as strange as the other exchanges on the course; towards the end of the round, a screeching squirrel could be heard in a tree. According to witnesses, Zamora said, “well that is my mating call so if you hear that you’ll know where I’ll be.”


Carrillo statement squirrel


Carrillo and his son were within earshot of the comment at which time Carrillo commented that “it was an odd statement to make.”

Zamora denied the statement, telling the investigator that this whole incident “is a witch hunt.”

After interviewing the witnesses the investigator found that it was more likely than not that Zamora made the statement.

The investigator found that Carrillo’s statements about the squirrel incident were “consistent, direct, and detailed,” in contrast to Zamora’s which were “indirect, non-responsive vague and ambiguous.”


Another Course Incident

The second incident on the course directly involved Carrillo and his high-school aged son who were both wearing matching golf shirts and pants.

Pulling up in his cart, Zamora stated, “what’s up with those shirts?” After Carrillo told Zamora it was his son, Zamora laughed and, while looking up and down at Carrillo and his son, replied, “well I don’t know about that.”

Zamora did not stop, Carrillo testified he said, “what’s up with those leopard shirts,” while yelling at a retired fire chief in another foursome, “hey [former fire chief] Crook what’s up with your guys over there?”



After interviewing the witnesses the investigator found that it was more likely than not that Zamora “teased rather than complimented Carrillo and his son about the shirts.”

The investigator wrote that Carrillo gave more consistent and detailed information while Zamora was once again “inconsistent, non-responsive, vague, ambiguous.”

The incident was supported by other witnesses who testified that Zamora had teased City Manager Ray Cruz for his shirt at another event in at the Ponte Winery in Temecula.

Cruz was wearing a pink-salmon shirt, seeing the shirt, Zamora was overheard saying “Ray, really?” “Nice shirt Ray,” while lowering and making a gesture with his hand in an effeminate manner.

Both SFS Mayor Bill Rounds and Councilwoman Juanita Trujillo testified they had heard Zamora teasing Cruz, with Trujillo adding more to the report telling the investigator she incurred harassment from Zamora at a Las Vegas convention.

Trujillo testified that her and Zamora were going by a booth that was giving away blue gumballs, she told Zamora that she grabbed some blue ones, to which Zamora responded, “oh yes, of course you would, you like those blue balls.”

They walked by another booth operated by Largo Insurance with the representative handing out traveling headrests. Trujillo asked for a headrest for Zamora to which he replied, “Oh Largo, yes she likes it Largo,” while pointing at Trujillo and making a hand gesture that she interpreted as mimicking a large penis.


The next incident was most disturbing and occurred in the restroom of the banquet hall when Zamora walked in, saw Carrillo and his son, and allegedly said, “Aw f**k, you guys?”

It was noted by several witnesses that Zamora had been drinking and had “four or five drinks.”

Zamora then allegedly directed a comment towards Carrillo’s son who had asked Zamora what he said.

Zamora replied, “Well, if I’m in here, you guys can’t be in here because you’re in the wrong restroom.”



The situation became very heated with the elder Carrillo getting upset and confronting Zamora calling him a “fat f**k” several times.

Many of the witnesses testified that if the statement that Zamora made was indeed true they would’ve reacted in the same manner.

This was atypical of Carrillo’s normal demeanor, according to the investigator, Carrillo has always been noted to be professional and courteous in his 24 year career.

Zamora denied everything saying he did not say the Aw f**k comment, and said he commented on the shirts saying, “nice shirts, cute.”

After interviewing the witnesses, the investigator found that it was more likely than not that Zamora “teased rather than complimented Carrillo and his son about the shirts.”

The investigator wrote that Carrillo described in detail what happened in the bathroom and that Zamora, in part of his statement, actually corroborated Carrillo and included the Cruz pink shirt incident as prior proof.

The investigator also pointed out that Carrillo was more credible because his admissions of profanity went against his best interests, and he could be disciplined.

Banquet Hall

As they left the restroom the altercation continued in the banquet hall in front of a host of witnesses.

Carrillo and his son entered the banquet hall and attempted to find seats, shortly thereafter Zamora approached him and his son in an attempt to apologize.

Carrillo got between him and his son and said in a loud voice to, “get the f**k away from my son… you know exactly what you did… you know what you said… don’t ever harass me again.”


People came over to separate the two, they sat down, and according to the investigator, Zamora allegedly kept looking at Carrillo so much so that Carrillo yelled “what the f**k you looking at… what’s your problem?

Zamora denied the allegations saying he went over to talk to Chief Marin who was at Carrillo’s table, and that is when Carrillo said, “what the f**k you are looking at?”

But the investigator found that no other witnesses interviewed supported Zamora’s recollection of the event.

The investigator indicated that it is more likely than not that Carrillo’s description of the altercation was more credible than Zamora’s version.

In the end, the investigator found that Zamora violated the City’s Code of Conduct for Elected and Appointed Officials and the City’s Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation policy.

Since Zamora is an elected official, it is within the City Council’s purview to decide what actions to take.

Any actions against Carrillo will be by his employer.















  • Pat says:

    Really? These are the kind of stories you want to be known for? This is ridiculous. I know the people behind this petty story. Sounds like chisme to me. You guys are really reaching on this one.

  • June Hilth says:

    The Zamora’s have been feeding off the public teat for too long. First his dad and now him. His mom is no better. People need to read this and be informed when they vote.

  • Sam Smith says:

    This isn’t that exclusive. The city published it on their website as part of the agenda packet for the council meeting on 9/10. It’s not like you obtained it in some special way.

  • Mayte says:

    Woohoo! It is a great gossip that seems more like a dirty political campaign, Mr. Zamora is a good person, I have known him for several years, I saw him several times last year at the neighborhood meetings watch team , he always has a friendly response, and I know about his heat work at the school, we live almost in the same neighborhood and I have never heard anyone speak bad of him, I think it is simply a smear campaign of an “” old group “” of the City Council that is jealous of the popularity of Mr Zamora in the city of santa fe springs … politics is dirty and if they want to discredit someone they will dig deeper, until they get what they want,

  • AGamboa says:

    My family and I know the Zamora family for a long time. I know his mother, his brother and nephews. Mr. Zamora has been a teacher’s assistant to my 3 daughters, they express themselves in a very respectful way and when they look at him, it is a pleasure and they run to greet him. Mr. Zamora has always addressed us in a very polite and respectful manner. When I looked at this note, it first made me laugh and then I said to myself how it is possible that envy, ignorance and lack of professionalism can harm a human being.

  • June Hilth says:

    Ok Joe Angel and Hilda stop writing positive things about yourself and your son. We know he is scum.

  • Morgan S. says:

    This story caught my attention. Atkinson represented an employee where I work on a high profile case in which she won. Working in HR/Legal I can tell you, they are your top of the line law firm that cities contract often.

    I read the full report on the city’s agenda link. Thank you Sam Smith for sharing where to locate the full investigative report. It was a very interesting read.

    After reading the full report and not going solely off of what was published here, it‘s minimal compared to the full report, something definitely happened between Mr. Zamora, Mr. Carrillo, and his minor son.

    Let me make it clear, I did not attend the event in question, nor do I know any of the parties involved. So, my comments are strictly based on the information found in the full report linked to this investigation posted online in the Santa Fe Springs City council meeting agenda packet link.

    I can see why the investigator found Mr. Zamora violated the city’s policies. He was very inconsistent in his questioning. His responses were also, very revealing of his character and what Mr. Zamora admits to of happened. I urge you to take the time to read the full report, not just now but for future instances. It really helps to be fully aware of what you’re commenting on.

    Also, the report revealed Mr. Zamora has a history of inappropriate behavior with adults, both female, and male. Including Mr. Cruz who happens to be the city manager of Santa Fe Springs. Mr. Zamora had an issue with Mr. Cruz’s shirt as well but at a different event. Which Mr. Cruz confirmed along with other witnesses. This time, the complaint was a minor, and his father Mr. Carrillo.

    Zamora does not have a good working relationship with all his colleagues. Elected in 2015, yet to be selected to serve as Mayor. This is all telling.

    Mr. Carrillo has no history of any concerning incidents in his 24 years of employment. On the contrary, he has a very positive rapport with all colleagues/interviewees and is very well respected.

    The report states Mr. Carrillo was not drinking, witnesses/colleagues confirmed he’s not a drinker.

    Mr. Zamora by his own admission said he did drink but did not keep count of how many drinks he consumed. Yet, also said he had 4 or 5 drinks. Clearly, he was under the influence of alcohol when Mr. Carrillo was not. Again, all telling.

    The key witness for me was Officer Miller who completed Mr. Zamora’s golf foursome. He did not know Mr. Zamora, Mr. Carrillo, or Mr. Carrillo’s son prior to the date in question. His testimony is key and valuable because he’s a neutral party. Unfortunately for Mr. Zamora, Officer Miller confirmed Mr. Zamora made displeasing comments about the father and son attire of Mr. Carrillo and his son to Officer Miller on the course the day in question. Again, all telling.

    It’s very concerning to learn Mr. Zamora works with children. I understand people have a tendency to protect people they know. They may not want to believe the possibilities of being wrong about someone’s character. That’s why investigations are crucial and costly. I can tell you the city of Santa Fe Springs spent a lot of money on this investigation, which is really what the residents should be concerned about.

    In closing, by the content of the report and all the redacted areas, it’s clear to me Mr. Zamora’s lack of professionalism is a liability for the city and a lawsuit waiting to happen. That’s if one hasn’t already been filed.

  • SFS Observer says:

    Los Cerritos News should use their investigative talents to discover so much more about the real character of Mr. Zamora.

    Starting with former SFS city manager Thaddeus McCormack, now city manager for the city of Lakewood. Since council member Zamora is no longer Mr. McCormack’s “boss”, you might get the real reason why he chose to leave SFS.

    A long-time SFS city employee complained that Mr. Zamora told her she was “too fat.” The comment was reported to supervision but nothing was done.

    The city council has chosen not to allow Mr. Zamora to represent SFS as mayor, or mayor pro tem, because of his aggressive nature and tendency to push his considerable weight around town. This is a sad situation because this man had the opportunity to do good things for the community but, simply put, power went straight to his head.

    Let’s hope he learned a good lesson and changes his arrogant and self-serving ways. I doubt it very much. A real Christian does not go about belittling, antagonizing, and bullying his community members and employees.