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Central Basin Dir. Juan Garza’s Company Represented La Luz Del Mundo Just Before Leader Pled Guilty to Copulation With a Minor

JUAN GARZA’S incoming SEI Form 700 filed with Central Basin Water in January 2023. The Schedule A-2 requires the filer to list companies that pay the filer $10,000 or more during the past year. The last one on the list is La Luz Del Mundo. An investigation by LCCN found Garza and his company Six Heron represented La Luz for fifteen months after the leader of La Luz was indicted for heinous sexual acts and during the height of the criminal proceedings.

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December 22, 2023

By Brian Hews

An examination of Central Basin (CB) Director Juan Garza’s Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) obtained by Los Cerritos Community News has found an extremely disturbing business relationship that will call into question Garza’s personal morals and standards as a professional businessman.

Every elected official and public employee who makes or influences governmental decisions is required to submit a SEI, also known as Form 700, annually to their agency’s legal or personnel department.

The SEI ensures transparency by providing information to the public about an official’s personal financial interests, ensuring that officials are making decisions in the public’s best interests and not enhancing their personal piggybanks.

When he was appointed CB Director to replace the late Phil Hawkins, Garza was required to file an Incoming SEI, which LCCN obtained via a public records request.

Garza listed fifteen companies where he is getting $10,000 or more in income, as required by the Fair Political Practices Commission on the SEI.  

That would indicate that Garza is receiving, at a minimum, $150,000 from the companies for his Bellflower-based company, Six Heron, and $60,000 from his current employer, California Cities for Self-Reliance-JPA.

Yet, with all that income, LCCN found Garza to be delinquent with his Bellflower business license fee for three years in October of this year; Garza was on the Bellflower City Council for most of those three years.

Even after the revelation and fallout, a recent public records request by LCCN shows that Garza remains delinquent on his business license fees.

But that is not the worst part of Garza’s SEI; buried on the list as a client is a company that will call into serious question Garza’s personal morals and ethics.

Garza listed La Luz Del Mundo (La Luz) as a client, the mega-church whose leader pled guilty to heinous sexual acts with minors in June 2022; additional sex charges have recently been in October.

In June of 2019, La Luz leader Joaquim Garcia and three others were hit with 36 felony counts that included human trafficking, production of child pornography, and forcible rape of a minor.

The case dragged on until June of 2022 when Garcia, originally facing 36 charges, took a last-minute plea deal.

Garcia pled guilty in June 2022 to two counts of forcible oral copulation involving minors and one count of a lewd act upon a child who was 15 years old.

The Attorney General said at the time, “Garcia abused his authority to take advantage of children while relying on his followers to groom congregants for the purposes of sexual assault.”

Despite the charges, Garza recently admitted to LCCN that “due to a previous commitment,” he took La Luz on as a client with his private company Six-Heron after Garcia’s indictment and represented the church during the height of felony sex charges proceedings from January 2021 to March 2022.

When asked about the client, Garza deflected, shockingly calling the convicted pedophile Garcia a prophet and comparing him to the Pope. “Just as the Pope in the Vatican is not the Catholic Church and its millions upon millions of followers and believers, their now-convicted prophet is not one and the same.”

In another statement, Garza repeated the moniker, calling the convicted pedophile and sex trafficker a prophet a second time.

Text message from Garza to LCCN. Note: all communications concerning La Luz between Garza and LCCN have been saved and archived.

“The client of my former employer and me was in fact the church itself, La Luz Del Mundo, and its millions of followers and believers focused on their incredible faith-based charity work throughout the world, and not the prophet himself,” wrote Garza.

A recent Netflix documentary showed that the church knew and supported the trafficking, child pornography and sexual harassment, and worse, that the church would retaliate and harass members who filed complaints; this while La Luz Del Mundo was Garza’s client, with Garza lauding the church’s “incredible faith-based charity work throughout the world.”

But it gets murkier for Garza; a closer examination shows that Garza may have attempted to hide the fact that La Luz was his client on a 2022 SEI.

On Garza’s Candidate SEI filed in August 2022 with the city of Bellflower, Garza did not list La Luz as a client of his company Six-Heron (below).

Garza’s August 2022 SEI submitted to Bellflower showing his “non-inclusion” of La Luz Del Mundo as a client.

When asked about the omission, Garza told LCCN, “My non-inclusion of La Luz Del Mundo as a client of my firm in my candidate FPPC form 700 submitted to the [Bellflower] city clerk on August 6, 2022, was an unintentional error, thank you [LCCN] for bringing that to my attention…..it should have been included and that’s an unintentional error on my part.”

Garza’s text to LCCN citing “unintentional error” leaving La Luz Del Mundo off his Schecule A-2

But was it “unintentional.” On Garza’s 2021 SEI, LCCN found that La Luz was once again not listed.

When asked about the second omission, Garza described an odd business relationship where he worked for La Luz for an entire year in 2021 but got paid more working for only three months in 2022, completing his work with the church just three months before Garcia pleading guilty.

In his statement, Garza indicated that, during the height of felony sex charges proceedings involving Garcia, he met with La Luz church leadership and “increased his compensation.”

Garza’s text to LCCN explaining how he made more in three months in 2022 with La Luz than he did for all of 2021.

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Six months later, the “prophet,” as Garza called him, pled guilty to two counts of forcible oral copulation involving minors and one count of a lewd act upon a child who was 15 years old.

Garza told LCCN, “The reason they [La Luz Del Mundo] were not included in my year [Sic] 2021 FPPC form 700 is because my firm’s rate for services resulted in them compensating my firm less than $10k during all of 2021. Rates for my firm’s services with that client [La Luz Del Mundo] increased in January 2022, resulting in them compensating my firm for services in excess of $10,000 during the three-month period from January to March 2022.”

In the end, Garza tried to spin his relationship, texting, “The contracted relationship with La Luz Del Mundo ended way before his conviction.”

In reality, the contracted relationship ended only three months before the guilty plea.

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