Oxnard corruption probe shows abuse, but no arrests

April 23, 2012

A nearly two-year criminal probe of Oxnard by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office ended last week with no charges or arrests, even though the investigators found “serious financial abuses.” [VenturaCountyStar]

In the 99-page report, investigators describe lax accounting and sloppy record-keeping that all but made prosecution impossible. In addition, the report says the statute of limitations has expired and available evidence — along with significant changes in state law last year that “dramatically” raised the burden of proof for prosecutors — didn’t support filing criminal charges.

The report describes now-suspended City Manager Ed Sotelo twice violating the law by getting a personal loan of $10,000 from the city and by creating a $300-a-month retirement perk for top managers.

Investigators also discovered that several local developers provided city officials with lavish gifts including vacations, expensive meals, rounds of golf, and event tickets while attempting to get projects through the system. Three of the four companies noted in the report — Shea Properties, Kennedy/Jenks, and De La Rosa — also do business with government entities in San Luis Obispo County.

“While it does not carry the force of law, Oxnard’s policy on personal ethics not only  bans the receipt of such gifts, but also states, ‘city officials and employees shall not accept any gift at all  from any such person or business entity when to do so would create an appearance of impropriety or favoritism in the official’s or employee’s discharge of his or her official duties,’ ” the report says.


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6 Comments

  1. slowtime says:

    Is this really a surprise? The fox is guarding the henhouse. No one receiving a Government paycheck benefits from solving problems. If they did, their job might go away. This is a group of self-serving people operating under the guise of “public service” creating layer after layer of bureaucracy to keep themselves busy as an excuse to collect a public salary. What ever happened to swift justice? This should have been investigated vigorously from the beginning. To allow time to elapse so statue of limitations take effect is inexcusable.

    (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
    • bobfromsanluis says:

      “To allow time to elapse so statue of limitations take effect is inexcusable.” Most likely, the waiting was for the most part, purposeful by those who were committing the wrong doing. “No one receiving a Government paycheck benefits from solving problems.” Apparently you have never met anyone who enjoys ferreting out wrongdoing by government agencies or employees; it is my understanding that auditors are in place in most agencies that would have those agencies operate “by the book” on every single situation, IF their superiors would give them the ability to do so. The network of those in positions of management not only allows the supervisors of agencies to keep each other alerted to potential investigations, but also seems to encourage that communication. Read the comments from Tacit if you cannot believe such crap happens. It isn’t “every” government worker who is corrupt or evil; it is usually those in positions of authority who have a supervisory role who can either allow such stuff to happen, or they can make sure that it does not, but with such “tit-for-tat” alignments by those is such positions, unfortunately the honest ones seem to be a minority, even though I’m sure I am wrong about that. We don’t hear about all of the honest, hard working, get-the-job done types in government, we usually only hear about the ones who are not.

      (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
      • slowtime says:

        Bob, once upon a time I too used to be a public employee. I apologize to those honest hard working public employees for pessimistic ranting. You Bob are correct that we don’t hear about the honest ones out there. I had to run away from the public sector because I could not stand the inefficiency, redundancy, and disorganization, and also the practice of superiors rewarding incompetence. So again, I am not surprised.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
    • whoowhoo says:

      Slow time, no pun intended…
      Two years for a 99 page report? Business as usual indeed!

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. Tacit says:

    Not very surprised, it seems the Central Coast has been a bit of, who knows who and who pads who’s hands. I had a conversation last week with a Special Agent with an agency who investigates corruption in Law Enforcement Officials both Local, State and Federal under a new federal agency called CFPB ( Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) who also works along two other Federal groups called, TFI and FinCEN. The agent had said to find honest, ethical and dedicated officials to work in these units is more difficult than one thinks. If co-workers know you tranfereed to these untis they think your a ” Rat” since many feel they are a new (OPR or IA Unit)

    They usually start at the GS-10 level and years later if they are lucky could end up as a GS-13 or SES, but when they uncover some unsavory things other agencies close it down… the agent who is assigned to the central coast area is only one of three to cover from Ventura to Salinas . Not nearly enough the agent said they (Cris Cross ) other agencies on separate investigation whom they can NOT bring into the loop for safety and security and corruption reasons.

    One thing the agent did say is ” Unk investors, PAC’s,Business, and private fundraisers are all deeply involved including major Organized Criminal Enterprises. The resources needed are vast and with corruption so deep within federal, local and state agencies it is difficult to get a Grand Jury convened to indict.

    (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
  3. doggin says:

    Shea Properties….hum why does the name Shea sound familiar?Oh yeah, along with the Wallace group are behind Trilogy in Nipomo and numerous other developments. Kennedy Jenks.. there’s a common name in SLO county. Their the engineering company who engineered the South SLO Sanitation Districts sewage plant and most recently their Chlorine Contact chamber. The one District employees told Wallace who provided construction management for that it had serious faults and wouldn’t perform as intended. Guess the employees were right as it then had to be taken off line multiple times for over a year while tax payers paid tens of thousands in repairs made by plant employees, not K&J or Wallace who failed again. Statistics from its creators show it working good now as the chemical costs in FY 0708 chemical costs were a mere $289,182, then reduced to only $684,004 for the 09/10 FY….LOL.

    (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down

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