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EXCL: Former Commerce Mayor Leonard Mendoza Sued for Filing a False Ballot Designation

September 2, 2022

By Brian Hews

The many corrupt actions of former Commerce Mayor Leonard Mendoza which HMG-CN has exclusively chronicled over the past few months, included an investigative article that proved Mendoza had ten people, not including him and his wife, registered to vote in Commerce using his 800-square-foot home as an address.

The article resulted in the Norwalk Registrar/Recorder referring Mendoza to authorities for an investigation into voter fraud.

Registrar Refers Councilman Mendoza to District Attorney

Now Mendoza is in more trouble related to election fraud; this time, it could cost him thousands in attorney’s fees.

After his humiliating loss in the Commerce City Council election, Mendoza decided to file and run against incumbent Central Basin District 3 Director Art Chacon in November 2022; Mendoza likely spurred on by Chacon’s longtime enemy on the board Leticia Vasquez-Wilson and her husband Ron Wilson.

All candidates must file a Ballot Designation Worksheet with the California Secretary of State when running for any elected office. After entering personal information, the candidate is asked to select a ballot designation.

A ballot designation is a description of the candidate’s current vocation; the description could be their current profession, the title of their current elected office, whether they are an incumbent, etc.

Mendoza, who is a painter employed by L.A Sanitation and works at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant described himself as a “Water Advocate,” writing, “I work at the Hyperion Reclamation Water Plant in El Segundo. I spent [sic] my free time advocating of [sic] the importance of recyclin [sic] our water.”



But Mendoza has never advocated for water and worked as a contract painter since 2019; before that he worked as a lead painter for the city of Commerce and was fired for “systematic abuse of his employees.”

Central Basin President Art Chacon was incensed when he saw the designation, knowing Mendoza was lying on the form, so Chacon hired attorney Anthony Willoughby to file an injunction on Mendoza to remove the ballot designation.

Days later, Mendoza got a call from L.A. County Counsel, who was using information from Willoughby’s brief, questioning him on the ballot designation description. 

The hearing was yesterday, Thursday, Sept. 1, and as of press time, HMG-CN could not confirm the ruling.

In a strange coincidence, in June 2012, Leticia Vasquez-Wilson described herself as a Water Advocate-at the time she was a professor-in her run against Ed Vasquez, but Ed Vasquez did not file an injunction against her and lost in a special election that garnered a 15% turnout.



In 2016 former Lynwood Councilwoman Maria Santillan-Beas filed to run against Vasquez Santillan-Beas, designating herself as a Water Advocate. 

Ignoring the hypocrisy,  Vasquez-Wilson filed a lawsuit, likely using California Elections Code 13107, arguing Santillan-Beas was not a water advocate; the lawsuit was successful, with Vasquez winning a motion for attorney’s fees, ruthlessly taking $30,000 from Santillan-Beas. 

After discovering Mendoza was running, HMG CN sent several emails, copying HMG-CN’s attorney Scott Talkov in the emails, asking both Wilson’s if they were behind Mendoza campaign; neither responded.