Parks Director Told to Hit Road

Hugo came, Hugo left…

Today the City Manager, Ken Domer notified the Parks Commission that he was canning Hugo Curiel, the guy who’s been in charge of the Parks Department for 7 years, or so. Here’s the mealy-mouthed text:

Was the handwriting on the wall?

So there was “no one single issue” leaving us to wonder what the real reasons were for letting Hugo go-go. We know it wasn’t the extravagant waste of money on a Hillcrest Park bridge; we know it wasn’t for the incredibly bungled wooden stairs project; we know it wasn’t because he ignored maintenance of existing parks; we know it wasn’t for the Strange Case of the Flipped Over SUV; we know it wasn’t because he proposed almost a million bucks to buy a 15,000 square foot lot to build a park on. Mr. Curiel survived all those disasters with his Fullerton career doing just fine.

Domer-Decorations
Hitching to Needles…

So what was it? I don’t know but it must have been something very bad, even though Domer is clear that the firing wasn’t “for cause.” So maybe it was just personal in some way, requiring “a different direction” whatever the Hell that means. And maybe it was meant as a pre-emptive bloodletting meant to forestall future personnel whackings closer to the Domer domicile.

The Cost of The Florentine Sidewalk Scam

Gone, but not quite forgotten…

Of course everybody is now familiar with how, in 2003, the Florentine Mob successfully put a permanent building on an area that only had an “outside dining” encroachment agreement. The details of the case reveal an incompetence and misfeasance on the part of city staff that is truly mind-numbing, the principle party being F. Paul Dudley, Planning Director, who “approved” the illegal permanent structure as it was being built in June, 2003. He also  seems to have personally approved a loan to the Florentine crew, and rental terms on the space that weren’t approved by the City Council.

dick-jones
Staying awake long enough to break the law…

Of course it wouldn’t be Fullerton unless our legal-eagle Dick Jones also played a part in the fiasco, and in the inevitable cover-up. He actually put his signature on a completely different agreement in August, 2003 – two months after Dudley did his sleazy back-room deal. How’s that for staggering incompetence?

The gun was smoking badly…

Note that “for some reason” the agreement was not formally executed until August. For some reason? Jesus H., Jones, did you even bother to ask why you signed something that was obsolete, or why in Hell you were signing it?

So the embarrassing enclosure was allowed to continue in July, 2003 even though the furor continued for months, and the deal was finally buried in 2004 whereby the parties involved, Shawn Nelson, Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, Mike Clesceri and Leland Wilson surely hoped it was forever interred.

Well, now it’s 2020. The legal party responsible to remove and restore the encroachment area has fled the scene, and the embarrassment of the Florentine addition that squats on public property, remains.

The owner of the rest of the building, Mr. Mario Marivic is apparently embroiled in a legal fight with the FloMob, and good luck to him. But good luck to us, too. Because we, the citizens of Fullerton, have an unowned room addition on our right-of-way, and the people on the hook for its possible removal are gone. Mr. Marovic is under no obligation to remove the structure, and he is not even under any obligation to pay the measly 25 cents per foot that the egregious F. Paul Dudley “negotiated” with the Florentines. The City’s options are limited: it can terminate the encroachment and pay to remove the building addition itself, or it can negotiate a new lease agreement with Marovic, and the sidewalk stays as is. Either way, the public loses.

So this Ghost of Incompetence Past continues to haunt us almost 20 years after the con was consummated. Mr. Dudley has been six-figure pensioned, and the inept councilmen who were indifferent to the notion of government accountability are dead or moved on. But Attorney Dick Jones is still around, profiting off of the gullibility, incompetence and militant ignorance of our “leaders.”

Florentine Forgery/Fraud Case To Go to DA?

The family goes way back…

By now the Friends are well-aware of the attempt by Joe Florentine, the scofflaw proprietor of a restaurant and bar in downtown Fullerton, to fraudulently alter and submit official documents in pursuit of a Conditional Use Permit.

He even admitted it.

Reliable sources have indicated that a criminal investigation has been opened by the Fullerton Police Department based on a complaint filed by the property owner, Mario Marovic, and passed along to the District Attorney’s office.

Now the felonious miscreance of a Fullerton Florentine family member is about as newsworthy as a mailman bitten by a dog – no surprise there. Rather, the key facts of interest in this case are that Mr. Florentine had lots of help inside City Hall, including the Planning Director, the City Manager, and of course our top-notch City Attorney, Dick Jones, who finally had to recuse himself from dispensing laughable advice due to a conflict of interest.

Domer-Decorations
Hitching to Blythe…

Apparently, City Manager Ken Domer knew exactly what was happening and was determined to proceed with the fraud anyway.

It’s hard not to believe that some fall out from this conspiracy will land in the proximity of new Councilmembers Fred Jung and Nick Dunlap, who will certainly be averse to the radioactivity. The City Manager is already on the thinnest of ice after blowing $130,000 on a marginally legal PR campaign to promote Measure S, and then unsuccessfully trying to spend another 90 grand just before Christmas to hire an expert to try to fix the budget shortfall.  City Managers are protected by contract but there is no contractual protection for a person who has violated the law. Will we soon be hiring a management search firm?

dick-jones
Staying awake long enough to break the law…

As always, Jones and Meyer are likewise compromised by their corrupt and incompetent and self-serving practices. But Dick Jones, like Talleyrand, always seems to be able to keep his head on his shoulders despite all the revolutions.

Leaving Fullerton even worse off than she found it…

 

And what was the role of Mayor-for-hire Jennifer Fitzgerald, who was the evident and malignant influence around so much of the Fullerton’s recent mismanagement and the cover-ups that inevitably followed? It’s difficult to believe that she wasn’t pushing this through for the benefit of her pals, the Florentines.

Finally, if in fact, City leaders are found culpable in this conspiracy to commit fraud, what is the legal exposure to the taxpayers of Fullerton for both the legal costs incurred by the property owner in the case, and for other damages he may have suffered?

As FFFF learns more about the status of the case we will certainly share it. City Hall probably won’t.

 

Ahmad Zahra Charged with Battery & Vandalism

Zahra-Busted

Fullerton Council member and wannabe Mayor Pro-Tem Ahmad Zahra has been charged with battery & vandalism here in Fullerton.

You can find a copy of the complaint as filed by the Orange County District Attorney [HERE]. The counts are as follows (emphasis in original):

“Count 1: On or about September 20, 2020, in violation of Sections 594(a) / (b) (2) (A) of the Penal Code (VANDALISM UNDER $400), a MISDEMEANOR, AHMAD ZAHRA did maliciously and unlawfully deface with graffiti and other inscribed material, damage, and destroy CELL PHONE, real and personal property belonging to MONICA F, in an amount less than four hundred dollars ($400).

 

“COUNT 2: On or about September 20, 2020, in violation of Section 242 of the Penal Code, (BATTERY), a MISDEMEANOR, AHMAD ZAHRA, did willfully and unlawfully use force and violence upon the person of MONICA F.”

The incidents appear to have taken place on 20 September 2020 with nary a word from anybody at City Hall to the public. It looks like Fullerton is once again up to their old Joe Felz & Chief Hendricks tricks.

Before anybody question is there is perhaps ANOTHER Ahmad Zahra being charged, here’s the incident log from Fullerton PD (with Ahmad’s address redacted by me):

Ahmad Zahra PD Arrest

Here is the case detail should you want to confirm it yourself with an OC Courts Criminal Case search:

Zahra OC Courts Charges

He was arrested for assault but charged with battery as seen in the arrest report versus the criminal complaint filed by the DA.

The arresting officer put “240” which is:

240. An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.

The Courts have him charged with “242” which is:

242. A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.

When Zahra was whining and preening that he deserved to be Mayor Pro-Tem he was lying by omission and not telling you that he was, AT THAT VERY MOMENT, facing charges for battery and ticketed with vandalism in what looks like a possible domestic violence crime.

Seems that Zahra was sanctimoniously complaining about what he himself called a “ceremonial” position all the while hoping you wouldn’t find out about his apparent criminal conduct.

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops. If nothing else it should be interesting to see which OC Dems run to Zahra’s defense or if they’ll stay quiet while hoping, just like with everything else that smears their team, if they ignore it long enough maybe it will just go away and inconvenient victims, including #YesAllWomen, be damned.

If we’re lucky we might get a patented CA (D) “I made a bad mistake, I should have stood up and … drove back to my house” or maybe the “I was set up” defense. Who knows, maybe those are only reserved for the higher-ups in the party.

We’re Still Being Stonewalled on Police Misconduct

Nothing to See Here

If you recall, I’m suing Fullerton because they suck at following the law when it comes to turning over records – especially related to police or employee misconduct.

By way of example as it is also a part of my case, let us focus on the case that brought me to this blog – FPD giving then City Manager Joe Felz a ride home after he drunkenly hit a tree on election night in 2016.

At that time the City wasn’t legally required to tell us anything because the public had no right to know when the people we pay break the law and the cops cover it up. This blog doggedly pursued the story and forced the city to do an investigation. That’s right, we forced their hands.

That investigation led to the termination of one Sergeant Rodger Corbett for falsifying a police report. Instead of Corbett doing his job, Joe Felz was given a ride home because despite FPD celebrating and getting awards for all of the drunks they pull over in Fullerton, hypocrisy and special favors was the order of the day when the law pertained for Fitzgerald friend Felz.

Skip ahead and in 2019 the law changed when SB1421 went into effect. That law change required police to turn over files on various issues including “sustained findings” of dishonesty which includes falsifying reports. As such I requested the pertinent files in the Felz caper on 01 January 2019 and here we are two weeks away from the 2 year anniversary of that request with no records to show for it.

I sued the city in Oct 2019. It’s now mid-December 2020. So much for transparency. (more…)

The Florentine Mob Pulls Out

Sit down and grab some sidewalk, brother…

It’s taken well over thirty years, but apparently the Family of Tony Florentine is calling quits in downtown Fullerton. Normally, such an occasion would be cause for gratitude, reflection, fond memories, etc., etc., ect.

But not in this case.

The reason nobody is indulging in kind reminiscence is simple. Over the years the family has been in on, and accused of some very shady stuff. Forget about shitty food and consider the following fun events, documented right here on the pages of FFFF, even if ignored by City staff, the Fullerton Police Department and the Fullerton Fire Department.

  1. Joe Florentine accused by former employee of torching his own business – The Melody Inn – back in the late 1980s.
  2. Tony Florentine magically converts an outside dining permit into a permanent structure built across a public sidewalk in the early 2000s.
  3. Tony’s bright kid, Joe, illegally converts the family restaurant into an illegal night club in the mid 2000s.
  4. In 2012 Papa Tony files phoney FPPC complaint against Tony Bushala in an effort to help his Gang of Three avoid recall. Complaint denied.
  5. After gaining a CUP to operate as a club, Joe Florentine never installs the fire sprinkler system required of the CUP.
  6. Seeking approval of yet another CUP in 2019-2020 even though the terms of the previous CUP had never been met,  Joe Florentine forged and had notarized an application that by-passed the building owner, thus placing the City in legal jeopardy.
  7. Last spring the Florentines decided they were entitled to remove on-street parking in order to help themselves.

It’s hard to say what other misdeeds and actual crimes have been committed by the Florentines, over the years. Stories abound. But what we know gives us plenty of reason not to consider their departure with any sort of remorse.

And the very continuation of the bad behavior gives us plenty of reason to ruminate on the political climate that permitted the ongoing flagrance and fraud. Decision makers in City Hall have been running interference for, enabling, and diligently looking the other way through this little reign of terror. Does anybody care? The old City Councils never did. Will the new one?

Cho Collects Corrupt Cronies

Barf Man Returneth…

When FFFF first introduced Andrew Cho to the Friends we noted that his list  of “endorsers” was a veritable rogues’ gallery of political crooks, swindlers and liars. And now the collection is complete:

What do we have here?

It is right and proper that the Cho, the hapless stooge of outgoing Mayor-for-Hire Jennifer Fitzgerald should have the backing of “Democrat” Doug “Bud” Chaffee, the senile and incompetent clown who let Fullerton go to Hell even as he bought himself a job at the County. It’s also perfectly predictable. Lobbyist Curt Pringle, who employs Fitzgerald is a big fundraiser for Chaffee, obviously expecting favors in return. This is one of them.

And let’s never forget Chaffee’s better half Paulette Marshall, whose well-documented political hijinks and actual crimes, must have been well-known to hubby.

But the recommendation that bankruptcy lawyer Cho’s record in “financial recovery” is somehow an asset should cause even the dimmest wit to ponder Fullerton’s future with Cho on the council dais.

 

Rumblings In Sunny Hills

Back on August 18th, out esteemed City Council began the process of declaring a strip of property along Bastanchury Road to be “surplus.”

The vote was 4-1 with Bruce Whitaker in opposition.

Down on the farm…

The obvious purpose of this strategy is to to sell the property to an affordable housing developer so that the politicians can feel good about themselves and maybe raise some fundraising dough. For Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald this most likely means a lobbying opportunity after December when her presence on the council will mercifully come to an end. Why? Because developer selection and rezoning can be budged along by Pringle and Associates on whose street corner Fitzgerald plies her trade.

But not everybody is happy and there is an election in a month.

The natives are restless…

The locals on the hills behind the proposed development naturally object, as do environmentally-minded people who want the site preserved as opens space. The locals have even come up with a website and are advertising their displeasure with the City Council.

Fred in nature…

And naturally this has become a sudden election year issue for the District 1 council seat. Fred Jung has already made his position known that he prefers the open space option. On the other hand, his opponent, Andrew Cho, was hand-picked by Fitzgerald to have a reliable vote on the council. But not only is Fitzgerald gone this fall, but so is her pal Jan Flory which means that after the election there could be three potential votes to save this site as open space.

The Council passed this item with the usual “this is only the first step in the process” bullshit that begins the process of cloaking another hot mess in the mantle of inevitability. For the folk of District 1, however, the story may take a different turn than the City house-acrats and politicians are hoping for.

 

The Latest City Scam – Campaigning for Measure S

It’s supposed to be illegal to use public resources in support of ballot initiatives, but of course the concept of illegality only applies to losers like you and me, and not to government agencies.

Here’s an example of the City of Fullerton blatantly using your money to propagandize you about the proposed sales tax increase, Measure S.

 

Tell me how this is not obvious political campaign propaganda from start to finish.

The Sacrifice

Whenever government gets itself into a bind, the first impulse of our bureaucratic overlords and their elected representatives is to resort to the taxpayers for relief. In Fullerton the case is not much different except that here, allegedly, managers and department heads have agreed to 5% and 10% cuts, respectively during our time of troubles. Likewise, according the the union boss, rank-and-file paper pushers have been told to accept the same 5% deal. Whether this gesture of sacrifice is meant to be reimbursed if the proposed 17% sales tax increase is approved by voters remains to be seen.

But that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is to ask whether anybody has requested the same sacrifice from our Heroes – the guys and gals who provide “public safety” services to us peons. Word out of City Hall is that no offers have been made voluntarily and none have been demanded. Could it be that’s because the Hero unions are much richer and much more political than the organization representing other city workers?

We are always being bombarded by Hero propaganda that promotes the selfless service and sacrifices by people who ride around in cop cars and fire trucks. Well, I’ll believe that when these worthy public servants step up to the proverbial plate and take the same haircut as everybody else.