Thursday, June 7, 2012

Did Gil Aguirre Take Down Nick Conway?

Breaking News: Richard van Pelt, who serves on Sierra Madre's CRA Successor Board with John Buchanan, Bart Doyle, Marilyn Diaz and Water Wise Owl, was placed on leave today by Pasadena City College due to a criminal bribery probe being conducted by the DA's Public Integrity Division head Dave Demerjian. Demerjian, as you likely know, has been quite busy in the San Gabriel Valley over the last two days. His early morning visit with the SGVCOG's Nick Conway yesterday is detailed below.

It's a scandal a day in the SGV. Back to our regularly scheduled story.

Gil Aguirre has shown up on this blog before, and has been a source of information for us on matters related to the SGVCOG and it's Executive Director, Nick Conway. We have run several accounts of shenanigans at the COG, with the suspicion always being that Nick, by funneling official and government related COG business through Arroyo Associates, a company that he fully owns, he has been engaging in a clear conflict of interest, and one that profits him personally.

And apparently Deputy District Attorney David Demerjian shares in those suspicions as yesterday he executed search warrants at both Nick's home and the Alhambra offices of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments. A search warrant being something that requires the signature of a judge, so obviously there was judicial sanction for these searches as well.

The Pasadena Star News has an article up this morning (click here) entitled "DA probes COG head Nick Conway," and Gil is featured prominently there. Here is what they had to say:

COG is a joint powers authority, and 31 cities, three county supervisors and three water agencies are members from Pasadena to Claremont to Diamond Bar to Montebello. Its mission is to address issues that affect the entire San Gabriel Valley and give the region a greater voice in federal, state and county government.

Conway, and the COG, were recently under fire following a Caltrans audit that called into question the group's management of a $250,000 grant for the Gold Line. In a final audit, Caltrans reduced the scope and requested that $89,262 of the 2006 Gold Line grant be returned rather than the entire $245,130.

As COG head, Conway has been the target of open-government advocate Gil Aguirre, a resident of San Dimas. Aguirre filed a complaint to the DA's Office in January accusing Conway of using his position as the COG's head to award public contracts to Arroyo Associates.

"I don't know how it will all shake out because it's always hard to know what law enforcement is going to do," Aguirre said. "I know what evidence I sent them. It's ultimately going to be (District Attorney Steve Cooley's) call. I'm glad there's attention being drawn to the way things are being operated."

Aguirre also has filed a lawsuit against COG accusing the agency of violating the state's open-meeting laws and of keeping secrets that should be made public.

A copy of Gil's complaint filed with David Demerjian of the Public Integrity Division of the District Attorney's Office is linked to the PSN article. You can also access it on this site by clicking here.

Was there a conflict of interest involved in Measure A?

Yesterday we posted our concerns that certain members of the PUSD Redistricting Task Force were more concerned about feathering their own political nests than anything to do with social equity when they drew the borders for our now voter enacted sub-districts. Something that robs Sierra Madre of representation on the Board of Education until 2015. This during a time when important decisions regarding the dispensation of hundreds of millions of dollars in Measure TT bond money are to be made.

It looks like we are not the only place where such concerns are being raised. In another Pasadena Star News article today ("Measure A fallout fractures PUSD" click here), these observations are made:

The political fallout from the passage of Measure A came quick Wednesday, with board members accusing the redistricting task force of drawing subdistrict lines for their own benefit.

Measure A will convert the Pasadena Unified School District from its current at-large system to a subdistrict format for the future election of board members. The process has fueled a contentious argument over the adoption of subdistricts and more specifically the subdistrict boundaries. School board members accused the redistricting task force appointees Wednesday of drawing those lines to improve their own political fortunes.

"Those maps are for the benefit of Ken Chawkins and others on the task force like Chris Chahinian," PUSD board member Ramon Miramontes said. "If Ken Chawkins, Chris Chahinian or someone in the Armenian Coalition runs for school board, we'll know the maps are self-serving."

Wouldn't it be something if it does turn out that the reason Sierra Madre's chance to elect its own Board of Education representative was kicked back to 2015 was to make certain that certain persons on the redistricting task force will be able to run in 2013?

Tonight's Planning Commission Meeting and Measure V

The Assistant City Attorney and others sympathetic to the cause of killing meaningful voter participation in the approval of oversized downtown development projects will be dragging along their usual barrel or two of deceptive snake oil for the ears of the Planning Commission tonight. And what should have been a very simple process, and one being down with the full support of the developer himself, has become bogged down in endless, well, crap.

The canard du jour will be that this City's General Plan must be changed in order to accommodate all that is required to bring the Kensington vote along. In actuality it needs to be the project that is made to conform with the General Plan as it already is. By changing the General Plan in this way the door is then opened to all sorts of "downtown specific plan" SCAG housing and other bad development downtown. All for the benefit of certain overrepresented property owners, realtors and other special interests.

Evil never sleeps, as they say. And since these characters all live off the public dime, they have plenty of time to hatch such things. We will have a full report ready on how it goes tomorrow morning.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

84 comments:

  1. Thank you, Mr.Gil Aguirre. Thank you Mr. John Crawford.
    Thank you in advance to all the Sierra Madre activists who will show up at Sierra Madre City Hall tonight to protect our city.
    We are under attack by these Conway/Doyle types.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is a logical sequence in the events covered in this article. From corruption at the SGVCOG, we go to likely corruption in the PUSD redistricting process, to corruption over the attempts to thwart the will of the people here in the Kensington situation. Government in the San Gabriel Valley is bad everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just an observation but Bart Doyle's name appears in each of these scenarios... in some capacity...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is now involved in the CRA dissolution board as well. I guess we'll have to devote sometime in figuring out what his angle is there as well.

      Delete
    2. Does Bart Doyle actually have a job???

      Delete
    3. Full time parasite.

      Delete
  4. The Meaglia McMansion is rearing its large head again on tonight's agenda. Let's hope adjustments have been made per the commissions' requests. Why do castle builders like to come here, when just next door there are no limitations on how enormous they can make their homes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you look at the staff report, you'll see that Attorney Meaglia has requested his appeal to come before the commission on June 21st.
      He's no fool. He knows the Kensington will gobble up most of the time and energy.

      Delete
    2. Yes. McMansions need their own special time.

      Delete
    3. Good question 7:49.
      They could build a 10,000 square foot house in Arcadia, with a moat, and no one would say a thing.

      Delete
  5. Things are not only bad in the San Gabriel Valley, they have become unacceptable and unsustainable, financially and morally.

    We simply have no choice but to ferret out these crooks and take back our cities and our state.

    The good news, seems to be starting right here in California.....the voters, regardless of political party, are saying a big NO to taxes. This will spread across America.

    They've had enough from San Diego, to Sierra Madre to San Jose, we are voting down excess taxation and the outrageous demands of public employee unions for more and more and then even more of our tax money, and we get precious little back in return.

    People are sick of these "entitled" elite people.

    Get your damn hands out of our pockets! We want our money back and we are going to make sure you don't get anymore of it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's like living in a sociopathic prison on guard constantly against being emotionally shanked by these greedy bullies every day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I can't believe this crap about "changing the General Plan" to accommodate particular projects is actually being proposed. That's illegal. The only way to modify the General Plan without going through the entire process is to develop a specific plan *under the General Plan auspices* that is developed with citizen input and then subsequently adopted by the City Council.

    This is absolutely clear corruption of the process for private gain. Call them on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like Colon and Levin wants to go out with their record for infamy intact.

      Delete
  8. People worked too damn hard against big dirty corporte money to get Measure V and keep our town small and quaint. We will not allow and cannot change what we worked so hard for.

    Do not allow any changes. This building is not worth the fight to change an already existing law to protect the beauty of our town.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anyone have the info on the fire just to the south of town?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was across Sierra Madre from the Bottle Shop and saw the smoke. Everyone ran through the Bottle Shop to do the lookieloo thing. It was apparently a fire in the carports of those apartments across the parking lot behind the stores.

      Delete
    2. I was at Curves across from the Bottle Shoop when we saw the smoke. We all ran through the bottle shop to do the lookiloo thing. It was apparently the carports of the apartments behind their back parking lot.

      Delete
    3. Bill Coburn thinks it was cute. He's calling the fire a "Car-B-Q"

      Delete
    4. Corn on the Coburn

      Delete
  10. Gil Aguire better hold on to his hat, this is going to be something if, as we think, there is lots of money riding on this--a big loss to Conway. Hope he does not have to face big legal back lash for this. Is he protected from being sued?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not sure anyone is "protected" from being sued. However, I am ready, willing and able to fully defend such an action.

      Such threats are usually just an attempt to chill the rights of those who might choose to speak out against our elected and public officials.

      Delete
  11. There are a fascinating couple of comments at the end of yesterday's thread, that bring a whole new dimension into the decision to make sure Sierra Madre has no voice in the PUSD until 2015: resentment. That's right folks, you who have helped your children do well in the schools here have inspired resentment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is pretty much it. Plus Sierra Madre parents demand better performance from the PUSD, which makes them upset. They prefer to be left alone.

      Delete
  12. Drove down the street just south of the PO. Appears to be fire fighting foam in the street, and a group of people for one of the apartments on that street were all standing/sitting in front of the building. There was no visible damage from the street to any structures.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Gil Aguirre and Tom King should be commended for their efforts to shine light on what's wrong with the way COG operates and the Board has let Nick use the COG as his own personal ATM.Tom, as an elected official seemingly the only one willing to go to toe to toe at the meetings with Conway to challenge his lies. Unfortunately Sir Nick has chosen the dumb and dumber to be a part of his court called the Executive Board. Gil Aguirre is an example of what all members of the public should be and do. Care about our public agencies, elected officials and they way they do business. We should all stand up for what's right and speak up when things aren't right. Keep up the good work Tattler.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like the Star News and The Tribune have taken the gloves off. Maybe Nick will sue anybody who read today's editions.

      Delete
  14. Conway blathered yesterday at a meeting of the City Managers that the DA investigation is politically motivated. He also said he was going to go after Aguirre in civil court.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to start saving my pennies to donate to Mr. Aguirre's legal defense fund. But I am so looking forward to seeing Conway in court where he'll have an opportunity to explain himself under cross examination. Will probably take the 5th or some such. Go Gil Aguirre!!!

      Delete
    2. Nick will attempt to sue the judge and the jury.

      Delete
  15. Gil Aguirre should run the COG. At least HE knows the rules and how to follow the law and there'd be no more Brown Act violations! Legal expenses would be reduced, the public would have transparency and the COG likely would have greater accomplishments than battery collections. What a concept!

    ReplyDelete
  16. It seems to me that certain aspects of the General Plan in the downtown area are entrenched by Measure V. So how are they going to change those aspects of the GP without a vote of the people? They're dreaming.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Speaking of corruption..this just in Richard Van Pelt was arrested about an hour ago at PCC and was led out in handcuffs by the Feds. I am sure he will still be allowed to be on the CRA dissolution board! Amazing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok. Been on the phone. It is for real. Our scandal du jour has arrived. And here it is after 2, I was getting worried.

      Delete
  18. http://www.pasadenasun.com/the626now/tn-626-0607-officials-probe-pasadena-city-college-for-alleged-bribery,0,1061910.story

    ReplyDelete
  19. I work at PCC..Pres. Rocha is giving a press conference as we speak.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please update when you can. Thank you!

      Delete
    2. Lots of rumors abound but apparently the investigation has been going on since May 7th and that the President knew what was going to happen today on June 5th. Rocha also has a shady past at West LA CC involving his wife (who now works in the foundation office at PCC)giving contracts to relatives in the construction business....very interesting to say the least. Change is a' comin'!

      Delete
    3. New rumor du'jour. The attorney for the school Gail Cooper was apparently escorted from her office and is also on admin. leave. She is a piece of work...hope it's true. She is one of the 5 VP level people that Rocha brought in..interesting...everyone hoping Rocha is next and the rumor mill at PCC is saying he is next!

      Delete
  20. The Los Angeles County District Atty.’s office seized computers and documents at Pasadena City College offices on Thursday as part of a criminal bribery probe involving school officials.

    Agents with the D.A.’s Public Integrity Division searched three campus locations as part of an investigation involving PCC Vice President of Administrative Services Richard van Pelt and Facilities Services Supervisor Al Hutchings, Public Integrity Division head Dave Demerjian said.
    From the Pasadena Sun

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. Demerjian has been busy this week. When will he be in Sierra Madre?

      Delete
    2. It's a scandal a day here in the SGV!

      Delete
  21. I just read the PCC article. Contrast it with the SGVCOG. Angel Carillo apparently kissed of Tom King when he complained about possible conflicts of interest by Conway. He retalaiated and worked with Nick's minions to get Tom and Carol Herrera kicked off the executive board. The significance is important, because they set the agenda. Nicks agenda. They then patted slick Nick on the but and left him in charge of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds. Now we learned that Nicks "bookeeper" is not a CPA and rumors are he was fired from his last job. King also brought this up at the last COG meeting.

    PCC knew about it, placed the perps on admin leave, and started an investigation. The COG will probably pay for Nick's lawyer and bail him out if he gets booked.

    Sounds like the DA is overworked. We need the Feds in here.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Let's see....

    McMansions on the Hillsides and homeless shelters in the Business District.

    I don't know how many of you brave the freeways to get to the "Socialist City of Santa Monica" (Local's moniker, not mine), but it seems as though that is the direction Sierra Madre is headed in. In Santa Monica, the streets, sidewalks, parks and beaches are laden with homeless people to the south of Montana Avenue, while upscale mansions lie directly to the north.

    If you don't like the illegal immigrant, day-laborers loitering in Memorial Park now, just imagine what it will be like to walk down Sierra Madre Blvd 10 years from now. Oh! and if you think crime in the City is bad now, just wait. You won't even be safe in your own home.

    Good luck Sierra Madreans. You'll need it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to start locking my doors.

      Delete
  23. What a hoot. Two members of the Sierra Madre CRA Oversight Committee are under investigation. Maybe we should call it the CRA Underhand Committee.

    ReplyDelete
  24. If you want to serve on an important board in Sierra madre, it does pay to have a few arrests on your record. It means you are real.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good grief! Why don't the Underhand committee just resign right now before they face public humiliation with their own arrests? OK Boyle, looks like your bacterial misdeeds are about to POP!!!!!

      Delete
  25. Liars, cheats, and thieves they COG and PUSD district committee. Quite a group of crooks.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Mr. van Pelt fits right in.
    And who appointed him?

    ReplyDelete
  27. "I never knew Richard Van Pelt. He was just a face in the crowd." - Josh Moran

    ReplyDelete
  28. Poor Demerjian. The San Gabriel Valley alone must be a full time job.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Richard van Pelt
    Title: Vp, Administrative Services
    Office: Administrative Services - C237
    Phone: (626) 585-7258
    Email: rpvanpelt@pasadena.edu

    Bye, bye!

    ReplyDelete
  30. It is like Demerjian is just rolling down the valley picking up dirtbags as he goes.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I enjoyed logic in school. If A, and B, then C. The same players keep coming up.

    "SGVCOG who also celebrated their
    Annual Jack Phillips Awards.
    Partnership Board Member Bart Doyle (was)
    among those honored with this
    prestigious award The Jack Phillips
    Awards honors those who have
    provided outstanding contributions
    and service to the San Gabriel
    Valley."

    ReplyDelete
  32. Story now up on the Star News site. Van Pelt is accused of taking bribes from contractors for PCC building projects. His salary is - er, was - $172,816. Bet he will miss that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tattlers! We can take them out!!!!! The truth bites back. Way to go, Demerjian!!!!! Boyle, how do you like stripes????

      Delete
    2. Who appointed Van Pelt to the Underhand committee? Can anyone tell us?

      Delete
    3. Rumor also has it that Van Pelt's home has been remodeled through PCC funding aka tax payer dollars. Rocha moved into the president's home but like the Pres at Cal Poly SLO decided to have a remodel. I don't get it?!?! It's tax payer dollars funding home improvements. In his press release that the employees received Rocha has stated that there will be a forensic audit...THAT will telling if the CPA firm isn't already bought. The Board of Trustee's appoints VP's along with the school President. Van Pelt has been at PCC for some time now and I want to say in the last few years was moved up to VP. Can check tomorrow.

      Delete
    4. I don't get it - kids are struggling to pay tuition at community colleges, having been priced out of universities, and administrators are remodeling the homes they get as perks?
      I don't get it.

      Delete
    5. Just look at the salary this bum was getting! How many kids could attend PCC for that money.

      Delete
  33. Quick! Public Records Request Act for the nominations. Find out who put forth Richard van Pelt's nomination for the CRA successor commitee. You can just imagine that they knew full well his skill set when it came to working with contractors, contracts and budgets and was just slippery enough to help with hiding all the CRA misspent $$$ in Sierra Madre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Sierra Madre Tattler: CRA Blues: Bye Bye Sierra Madre Parking ...
      Jun 01, 2012

      "Richard Van Pelt comes to us via Pasadena Community College where he serves as the VP of Administrative Services. He also teaches courses in business education, which really isn't education at all."

      Delete
    2. Tattler comments:
      AnonymousMay 31, 2012 7:53 PM
      Two (2) appointed by the Mayor (the City Council made the appointments) : John Buchanan and Karin Schnaider
      One (1) appointed by the largest special district (San Gabriel Valley Water District): Tom Love
      Two (2) appointed by the County Board of Supervisors: Marilyn Diaz and Bart Doyle
      One (1) appointed by the Community Colleges: Richard Van Pelt
      One (1) appointed by the County Superintendent of Education: David Jaynes

      Delete
  34. Can't say for sure there's a connection but the weeds at the Sierra Madre Middle School site have been cut to stubble. I swear you'll see me at St. Rita's Saturday evening, I swear to gawd, if young Johnny Harabedian is hauled into court tomorrow for crimes against the Public Integrity Department.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Inquiring minds want to knowJune 7, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Think van Pelt will resign from the CRA successor committee? Think the Moron will fire him?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You kidding? They'll probably tell Diaz to give up the center seat and making Van Bribe the new Chairman.

      Delete
    2. Why does nearly every single outrage to hit Sierra Madre have tacked on to it.....BART WAS THERE!
      When are you naive fools who have anything to do with this disease Doyle, going to wake up?
      Hasn't he dragged this town down far enough for long enough?
      Tattler? Please have the research team complile a list of outrages starting when this creep, Doyle, got on the CC back in the early 90's. I'll bet every bad thing that's happened has .....BART WAS THERE on it.

      Delete
    3. Glue a beard on that guy and he looks just like Boss Tweed. I'm tellin you.. Google it.

      Delete
  36. We need to establish a Tattler Scandal Timeline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll call it "Tattlerpedia."

      Delete
  37. Got a run down on the COG meeting last night.

    Seems like the COG President Angel Carillo may be in a jam. The President and officers met om secret before the regular "special meeting" which means nothing can be added to the agenda. They forgot to watch the clock and ran over a half hour into the "special meeting" They then added three things to the agenda.

    Open government in the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments?

    Then Tom King and Sam Pedroza protested about pre-meetings. King reminisced that he refused to do them with Conway when he was President. Then it came out that Nick was with two other board members earlier in the day, Gino Sund and Joe Gonzales. Everything went as Nick planned, except there was a reporter in the room watching the whole thing go down. Very similar to the allegations made by Gil Aguirre. These people are either arrogant, stupid or this is a cabal. Does the Brown Act come to mind?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A special meeting means that nothing can be added to the agenda because they did not post the agenda on time. Perhaps DA search warrants and seizing of computers caused that. But secret meetings before the meetings is a crime if a certain number of people attend. And holding a separate meeting with the rest of the group is called a serial meeting, and is er ah hem, a crime.

      This is very serious stuff. but again so are search warrants. Wonder if anyone is reporting this to Demerjian?

      Delete
    2. My vote is for all three: arrogant, stupid and it is a cabal! Let's hope Mr. Demerjian is a regular Tattler reader...

      Delete
  38. The Scandal Gabriel Valley.

    ReplyDelete
  39. today's 5:03 p.m. post copied a Tattler comments from May 31 as to all the differing appointments and by whom. It still does not make sense. If you google CRA successor committees in different communities you get a view that these appointment approaches are all over the map and none of them seem to parallel what occurred for Sierra Madre's successor committee.

    So I don't get it: why would/should the San Gabriel Valley Water District, the County Board of Supervisors, the Community Colleges or the County Superintendent of Education have any interest or say so in the selection for us???

    ReplyDelete
  40. First look, the Kensington looks much better, thanks to the people who pushed for keeping some commercial and being more pedestrian friendly. But the developers are getting what they want too - taller building, 2-3 feet less grading, saves them a lot of money.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Building is now 60,100 sq. ft. Instead of approx 56,000 sq. ft. Mostly due to adding the retail space Commssioners requested.

    That's a 7% increase. Stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  42. What kind of agency would leave a contractual employe in charge of a government agency when a judge has signed a search warrant?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Replies
    1. We could sell calendars with a new poster boy/girl each month!

      Delete
    2. The Sierra Madre Rogues Gallery Calendar. A locally famous sleaze bag each and every month!

      Delete