Solomon costs taxpayers more than $300,000

April 13, 2012

Lisa Solomon

Paso Robles city officials have already spent about $330,000 dealing with allegations of sexual and managerial misconduct by former police Chief Lisa Solomon. [Tribune]

A cost that is likely to increase as the city battles lawsuits already filed or in the works regarding Solomon’s alleged illicit acts.

Following allegations by her officers that she sexually assaulted several men, the city hired an investigator to look into the complaints. At $150 an hour, San Francisco based investigator Debra Estrin billed for 56 hours during her two and a half month investigation at a cost to the taxpayers of $8,400.

City officials have refused to release the findings of Estrin’s investigation to the media, though several of the officers who have or are working on filing lawsuits against the city said their attorneys plan to procure the report through legal avenues.

In addition to reports of sexual assaults, a handful of former and current officers claim Solomon utilized illegal traffic quotas, and falsified city crime statistics while serving as the city’s top law enforcement official.

In March, city officials agreed to pay Solomon $250,000 and not fight her bid for disability as part of  Solomon’s separation agreement. The contract also prohibits Solomon and city officials from disparaging each other.

In addition to the cost of the settlement and the investigation, the city has incurred about $71,000 in legal fees associated with the Solomon scandal. City attorney Iris Yang is with the Sacramento-based firm of Best Best & Krieger LLP, the same firm that represented the city of Bell.


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pasojim

Has anybody seen my fly swatter?


I seem to have mis-placed my fly swatter.


pasoman

Look…. As much as I’m upset with our council, they are NOT bad people. Each one has good intentions, they just lack experience in running ANYTHING! They are NOT giving anything away or favoring individuals. Stop the personal attacks.


Their biggest problem is when they dont know what to do they ask App & Yang. The very people who get the CC in trouble, are the very people they ask to help them feta out of trouble. It’s frankly embarrassing.


App – been there too long

Yang – Knows App signs her invoices

Picanso – Been in City too long, no real experience

Strong – loves the sound of his voice, no real experience

Steinbeck – was a City employee, thinks App can do no wrong

Hamon – should know better, would he do this in his OWN business, no

Gilman – never has run a business


But… Our council are honest people, just making bad decisions.


App & Yang MUSY GO, focus on that!,


Cindy

The council is obviously incompetent regardless of their intentions, they’re unfit to serve. We are talking about their lack of common sense here. Are you going to tell us that they didn’t know that something didn’t smell right? They could have done what any reasonable person would do and that is to consult with another attorney or two. They didn’t have to take the word of App and Yang.


Sure that’s all Paso needs is to keep this council for another 4 years. They have done enough damage and they haven’t fired APP yet, have they? You want the citizens to concentrate on getting them to fire this guy? As if that isn’t a no brainer and they can’t even do that on their own? pfffffffttttttt.


Paso_citizen

Right on! Incompetence with a capital “I”. And they want to be relected? Because they have used good judgement in running this city in times of financial difficulties? Or they are at least smart enough to know that have a sweet deal going – and don’t want to lose it? Each voting citizen will soon have to make that choice – hopefully a choice based on real facts – not fancy statements.


And I absolutely loved the comment about Mr.Strong – loves the sound of his voice, no real experience -made by pasoman. Did you know that he has over 20 titles and is profoundly proud of each one – sure sign of a talker, not a doer.


pasoman

Vote ’em out, I agree. Bad decisions I agree. Decisions on cronyism, I disagree.


The biggest challenge we have is finding someone willing to run so they can be voted out! Starting with Mayor.


Typoqueen

I don’t know much about these people, only what I read here and many of us know that’s not always very accurate. But I don’t agree with you. The council is in charge of those of people, they are responsible for App and Yang’s actions. Too many times councils allow staff to run the city because they don’t want to be bothered or they are too lazy to do the needed follow up. CCs should be reading everything that comes accross their desks, they should be over seeing what those people are doing it’s their job and it’s not brain surgery. I would blame the council more then I would blame the staff. If I owned a store it was being run poorly and is having loss prevention issues then I wouldn’t blame the subordinates I would blame the manager, the person in charge.


I don’t know anything about the other council members, they might not all be goofballs, perhaps there might be one or two good ones but not three or more. If the majority of the council were competent then there wouldn’t be these issues. I have had dealings with your Mayor, he’s a bonehead. He’s not a good person IMO, I feel that he’s flat out mean. I have spoke with the man and he is one of the most unpleasant people that I’ve ever met. He’s also dumb as dirt and has a difficult time staying focused. Because of his demeanor I could see him allowing staff to run the city, he’s just not smart enough to do it himself. There must be at least two other council members that aren’t any good maybe more. Those are the people that need to go first.


If there are problems with Yang and App then a new competent council will get rid of them, that’s their job.


Cindy

Typo, I’ve been wondering when you and I were going to agree on something again, it seems like its been along time. Hi there ;)


pasoman

See my comments to Cindy. If we re-elect Duane because no electable person will run, we all need to shut up!


Cindy

pasoman, you sound like you would cut off your nose to spite your face. I suspect, when it comes to Duane that its personal with you. CPRN2012 is looking to replace all 3 incumbents in this next election. What are the chances of 3 candidates with experience running? There is a learning curve when it comes to running a city, someone like App and Yang will skate circles around a new majority CC when it comes to “gummint code” alone. It takes time to hire a new city manager, a new city attorney, a new Police Chief and who knows who else might have to be replaced. The incoming CC and the citizens will do well to have at least one of these elected members with a background in city gov. Duane seems to identify with the people and their concerns, he has experience and it isn’t uncommon to see a candidate run for an office more than once before they succeed, in fact its quite common.


I have no doubt that there are plenty of citizens and even some with experience who are considering running. As the filing dead line approaches, they will start to make themselves known. You can not rule out Duane, the citizens will have to pick their best 3 choices and do whats best for the city – UNITE & VOTE – There is no room for personal grudges.


pasoman

Hi Cindy,


You obviously didn’t read my post or you missed the fact that I’ve consistantly said these guys, which includes Duane btw, are good guys.


Ok, if you have great economic expansion and a building boom and the City has more money than they can spend, it doesn’t take much to lead or manage. However, we are in uncharted teritory right now and neither Duane knows how to lead us, nor does Jim know how to manage us. All one needs to do is look at the RESULTS. Period. Our City is a mess and NO ONE is got a vision to lead us out.


So, Jim App is trying to fill that void, but he’s certainly not a leader.


No, it’s NOT personal with Duane, he’s a good guy at heart. He’s just doesn’t have the skills or the tools for the job in the 21st century. He’s effectively the Chairman of the Board, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a City or large corporataion. Those skills are the same. He aint got ’em.


Sorry it’s not personal.


MaryMalone

Sorry. “Good people” don’t aid and facilitate a police chief in sexually assaulting her subordinates–which she had been doing FOR YEARS. App and the council members, by not dealing with this in the very beginning, enabled Solomon to sexually assault other subordinates.


“Good people” don’t serve the best interests of their cronies first and the best interest of the people they are supposed to be serving last.


I could go on and on, but you get my point. Judge them by their actions, not on how sweetly they smile at you.


Typoqueen

“enabled Solomon to sexually assault other subordinates.”


“I could go on and on, but you get my point. Judge them by their actions”


Ah yes, you do go on and on.


That’s our Mary, follow her lead, judge others by gossip,,,I mean their ‘actions. Thank goodness you’re not a real judge.


zaphod

gossip is not a bad thing.

Gossip can:

reinforce – or punish the lack of – morality and accountability;

reveal passive aggression, isolating and harming others;

serve as a process of social grooming, building a sense of community with shared interests, information, and values;

begin a courtship that helps one find their desired mate, by counseling others; or,

provide a peer-to-peer mechanism for disseminating information in organizations.


pasoman

Sorry MM, I respectfully disagree.


To accuse the CC of anything other than bad judgement, listening to App & Yang, I can’t agree w/you. They, CC, certainly are NOT aiding and facilitating sexual harassment. They just lack the tools experience with this issue, and made a bad decision to follow App & Yangs lead. So, yes, let’s vote ’em out!


But, they are NOT bad people, they lack the skills. But unlike you and me, at least they were willing to run!


I still agree with you most of the time. ;-)


hotdog

Incompetence is inexcusable. They probably all ran on promises of wise stewardship, it is implied anyway. Giving away the public money to crooks and liars is a crime in itself. At best they are fools, and that is a criminal assault on the public good. I’ve seen this before, many times. So called ‘well intentioned’ adults making childish decisions (on someone else’s dime).


A wise man once said, “if we continue to accept excuses for failure, failure is what we will get”. Gray Davis. A good governor the idiots threw out of office.


danika

Pssssssssst….PasoScott? Who exactly are you shaming? I am confused with the “Shame on you and those you follow, and allow, your tactics”. Please explain.


Cindy

paso-scott, When the posters start to fight among each other rather share honest dialog, those posts often get deleted. As I recall you were calling people bullies and telling them to get out of Paso if it sucks so bad. I gave it right back to you but there was no sharing of worthy dialog, just bickering back and forth at each other. There was no value in those posts so they either got deleted or thrown to the bottom of the thread, its happened to probably all of us at one time or another here, especially me.


If you have something to share, then share it and share it honestly.


danika

(I posted this on the Trib this morning and thought I would post it here too. Forgive the repetition._


Wasn’t it Iris Yang who requested the City of Paso Robles to change law firms from McDounogh, Holland and Allen to Best Best & Krieger? And didn’t the law firm BB&K also represent the city of Bell? How long did Irish Yang work for BB&K? How did she come to work at the City of Paso Robles? Who hired her?

Where did Estrin come from? Why was she hired? Did she and Yang EVER work together or at the same law firm at any point in the past? Why didn’t the PRCC get to see the full investigation report? Why did the PRCC settle for just being briefed? Which of the PRCC members were not briefed? (the article says “several” were briefed on the investigation but did not say “all” PRCC members were briefed). Was Jim App allowed to see the entire investigation report? Why did Estrin have to stay at one of the most expensive hotels in Paso Robles? Was Travelodge too booked?


And the questions just keep on coming, don’t they?


The Gimlet Eye

Those are questions that the bulldogs in the city council ought to be asking.


Have they been doing this? I have not seen any evidence of this so far. If not, why not?


Somebody has to ask the tough questions and stand up for what’s right, for full disclosure, and for good ethics.


I have been reading ccnews regularly for a while and I don’t see any evidence of this. Why don’t the city council members write some editorials? Why don’t they publish their views? Why the blackout? The more time passes, the worse they look.


I think all the city council members need to go, as well as the city manager and the city attorney. You guys need a clean sweep and a fresh start!


pasoparent5

What an approriate photo to accompany this story. That smug, defiant, and arrogant look (which I’ve seen on Jim App and Iris Yang, BTW) pretty much sums it up.


Paso_citizen

So who has the job of appointing legal counsel for this city? Let me guess – little Jimmy App, with the rubber-stamping of our outstanding CC. The result needed is so obvious, Paso Robles

must have a cleansing – maybe even an exorcism. Little Jimmy, BB&K (Yang), mayor, city council all must leave – willingly or not.


The citizens of Paso Robles are now out over $300K, and counting, to grease Solomon’s exit. And what did we get for that? Nothing, except to hear from our council that all is well, and have a nice day.


MaryMalone

It would be interesting to see what Iris P. Yang has charged over the last few years. Usually you can look at the warrants in the agenda package, but sometimes–especially in corrupt organizations–the attorney will hide part of what they make by calling it something else, or having it billed through another city account.


MaryMalone

The following information is just interesting (to me) information I ran across. The first article is from the LATimes; the rest is from Best, Best & Krieger’s “legal notices” blog where they have short articles about new employer-related legal rulings. Some of these blog entries also have links to WORKSHOPS BB&K offer on the subject.


I’m posting these excerpts because:


1. They may be of help to others, especially PR residents, who are actively addressing the corruption in the PR city government;


2. Because they are short info points about sexual harassment in the workplace (something that has allegedly been an issue with Lisa Solomon; and,


3. For those who might want quotable talking points for when they address the PR City Council and its POS legal counsel, Iris P. Yang. Perhaps dropping a few hot-button phrases, quoting legislation, etc. will help to wake up the city council, and also provide fuel to the fire for getting some of the CC members OUT of office in November.


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COMMENT: This info is from an LATimes article.

The City of Bell sued Best, Best & Krieger (Iris P. Yang–City of PR’s legal counsel–is a member of BB&K). Another BB&K attorney, Edward Lee, signed off on the City of Bell’s corrupt and fraudulent polices.

The City of Bell–after they got rid of BB&K and, hopefully, most of the corrupt members of Bell city government–filed a malpractice lawsuit against BB&K.

Perhaps, if PR could be stripped of its corrupt city government, the residents of PR could get some financial relief from a malpractice lawsuit against BB&K.


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http://tinyurl.com/brwufhm

“Bell sues its former city attorney, claiming faulty legal advice

July 29, 2011 | 1:28 pm

The city of Bell filed a malpractice lawsuit against its former city attorney and his two law firms Thursday, alleging that they were given faulty legal advice. The suit contends that attorney Edward Lee provided legal advice that allowed Bell officials — including former city Administrator Robert Rizzo and City Council members — to receive extraordinary salaries and benefits.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also alleges that Lee gave the city poor advice regarding a variety of subjects, including business license fees and loans that Rizzo gave to employees.

The lawsuit singles out Lee’s most recent firm, Best Best & Krieger, for allegedly failing to properly advise Bell on a $35-million bond offering in 2007.

“The city attorney was responsible for preventing the abuses of power by the prior city government that left the city in its current difficult financial situation,” Bell’s attorney, William Stoner, said in a news release. “The lawsuit seeks to place responsibility for not protecting against those abuses of power where it belongs and obtain just compensation from those responsible.” ”
…..


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COMMENT: Look who are the experts on “sexual harassment avoidance training”! Maybe Lisa Solomon should have attended one of their workshops.


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http://tinyurl.com/75c6vhc

“Best, Best & Krieger offers workshops for required “Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training for Supervisors

Required Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training for Supervisors

Seminars & Training


BB&K Training Programs Will Satisfy The Requirement For Your Supervisors And Other Managers (Assembly Bill 1825)

BB&K offers two ways to meet the State-mandated Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training Program requirements. We offer Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training Programs at our centrally located Riverside and San Diego offices or our attorneys can present a custom training program at your facility. …

…..* Assembly Bill 1825 requires that by January 1, 2006, any private employer with 50 or more employees and all public agencies must provide at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education on sexual harassment to all supervisory employees who are employed as of July 1, 2005, and to all new supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position. Furthermore, this training must be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.


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COMMENT: BB&K certainly know a LOT about sexual harassment in the workplace, especially new protections against retaliation.


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http://tinyurl.com/75c6vhc

“New Supreme Court Case Decision Expands Employee Protections

Legal Alert


In Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee (US 06-1595 Jan. 26, 2009), the United States Supreme Court interpreted Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. – which protects employees from retaliation by their employer for reporting workplace discrimination and harassment based on race or gender – to protect employees who speak out about discrimination or harassment while answering questions during an employer’s internal investigation.

The Supreme Court’s decision represents yet another broadening of anti-retaliation protections. Employees need not initiate their own harassment claim to trigger anti-retaliation protection. Rather, even raising the issue in an unrelated context is sufficient. With an ever growing list of protected activities, it becomes even more important for employers to carefully document their reasons for all personnel actions, both before and when action is taken….


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COMMENT: Check out the “POLICE CHIEF TRAINING POINT”!.


http://tinyurl.com/75c6vhc

Police Chief Bulletin: Sexual Assault Victim Advocates Allowed in Interviews

Legal Alert

Penal Code Allows Exclusion of “Support Person” if Detrimental to Interview


Overview: The Attorney General recently found that “victim advocates” could not be excluded from interviews of sexual assault victims conducted by law enforcement officials or district attorneys. Although the Penal Code allows interviewing authorities to exclude a “support person,” a qualified advocate cannot be barred on this basis. Advocates now have an opportunity to influence the initial stages of criminal proceedings and establish a record of the interview process.

POLICE CHIEF TRAINING POINT: This opinion distinguishes between “victim advocates,” who are trained to assist sexual assault victims and “support persons,” who are not. Victim advocates, such as those from rape crisis centers or nonprofit agencies who provide guidance to victims, cannot be excluded from interviews. However, interviewing authorities can exclude support persons, who lack the qualifications and expertise of an advocate, if their presence is detrimental to the purpose of the interview.


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COMMENT: OMG, every Paso Robles police officer and city employee who was aware of Lisa Solomon’s sexual harassment of her subordinates could SUE!


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http://tinyurl.com/75c6vhc

Can Workplace Relationships Constitute Harassment Against Non-involved Employees?

Legal Alert


Two Plaintiffs were long time employees of the California Department of Corrections and were both transferred to the Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW). During the time periods relevant to the case, VSPW’s Warden was engaged in sexual relationships with several subordinates. Plaintiffs claimed that the Warden’s secretary liked to brag that “she had a direct line to the Warden” and received promotions for which she did not meet the minimum qualifications. Similarly, plaintiffs complained, among other things, that some of the involved parties were moving up the ranks too quickly given their education and experience; and these same employees were abusive and the environment around the office became increasingly hostile because of the Warden’s inability to control them.

Plaintiffs ultimately filed a claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) alleging that the defendants discriminated against and harassed them on the basis of their sex in violation of FEHA and public policy, and that they suffered retaliation after they made their complaints to the defendants. In particular, plaintiffs alleged that defendants favored women who engaged in sexual relations with their supervisors, and because plaintiff did not do so, they were treated differently. Further, Plaintiffs alleged that they were forced to work in a hostile environment where women got ahead and were promoted if they performed sexual favors for employees of CDC.

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, concluding that the conduct in question did not support a claim of sexual harassment, and the Court of Appeal affirmed.”


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viamagnolia1

Mary Malone, I can’t wait to meet you. I know now the email I received from Councilman Fred Strong is because of your comments. You can call me if you like. My number is out there. I think you would enjoy Councilman Strong response to your comments.


MaryMalone

THANK YOU, CCN, for mentioning Yang’s association with the Best, Best & Krieger law firm, which signed off on the fraudulent financial policies of the City of Bell.


Just a suggestion: this information is important for every article published about the City of Paso Robles, its city council, city manager, and ex chief of police, Lisa Solomon. Yang’s rubberstamping–or constructing–very alarming policies (such as Lisa Solomon’s “Buh-Bye” deal) is NOT an aberrancy: it is the norm for BB&K attorneys.


Sometimes what Yang signs off on is so obscenely ridiculous, one can think, “Is it just me, or did this city attorney just okay this blatant screwing over of the PR residents by its city government? Nah…it is too bizare, it can’t be true.” Unfortunately, it turns out to be true. So we need to be reminded of the kind of policies Yang has provided shield and cover to Pas Robles city government.


Other cities–such as the City of Downey–booted BB&K as attorneys DURING the active Bell scandal coverage by the LA Times, and some have dropped BB&K since then. So why hasn’t Paso Robles?


Below are quotes from an LATimes article, Aug. 5, 2010, which show how active and aggressive the City of Bell residents had to get before they could convince their own corrupt city council to do the right thing and get rid of BB&K as their legal counsel.


It was BB&K’s Edward Lee who sanctified the $800,000/year salary to City of Bell Mayor Robert Rizzo, $376,000 to the asst. city manager, and $457,000 to the police chief.


So, the next time someone opines that a PR resident who is speaking to the PR city council about their concerns about the direction the city council has taken PR, including continuing to keep Iris P. Yang as their legal counsel, just trot out this article. It clearly demonstrates that, for some corrupt city councils, the citizens HAVE to be aggressive to bring about any change.


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Lawyer who OKd lavish salaries in Bell won’t be interim city attorney

The City Council decides against appointing Edward Lee to the post and instead picks James M. Casso with the Meyers Nave firm.


Aug. 10, 2010


The Bell City Council decided Wednesday night not to appoint as its interim city attorney the lawyer who signed off on lavish salaries for the city’s top administrators.

The decision came after angry Bell residents, chanting “Out, out” in Spanish at City Hall, delivered recall notices to four council members in a packed council chamber.

Residents demanded the council not name Edward Lee to the post. Outside City Hall, they held up signs that read “Ed Lee Out” and “Fire Ed Lee.”…..

………Lee had served as Bell’s contract city attorney since the 1990s as a partner at Best, Best & Krieger. On Monday, the firm announced his departure and the termination of its contract with Bell.

After the meeting adjourned, Councilman Lorenzo Velez, who has criticized the high salaries, said: “We accomplished a lot. We got rid of Best, Best & Krieger.”

Last week, concerned by his association with Bell, the Downey City Council voted to terminate the city’s contract with Lee and with Best, Best & Krieger. In Covina, officials had said they were considering similar action, but Lee resigned his post there Tuesday. The city decided to stay with the law firm.

As Bell’s city attorney, Lee approved contracts that paid top administrators some of the nation’s highest municipal salaries. City Manager Robert Rizzo made nearly $800,000 a year. Police Chief Randy Adams earned $457,000, and assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, $376,288. All three have resigned….


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danika

MM, you amaze me! I wanna be like you someday. Your intelligence and informative comments are always spot on.


MaryMalone

Thank you, Danika. I have always been a research junkie. Especially political research.


Cindy

No, they are going to make “you” leave. You’re one of the reasons that Paso “sucks” so bad.


danika

MM, I have the need for a bit of research to be done . Can you help? I think it would interest you. If so, please email me at info@cprn2012.org, If not, no hard feelings.


paso-scott

I wonder who fed you all this?


MaryMalone

I very clearly indicate when I am quoting a reference, and give the url or other identifying information for the reader to review, if they wish.


I wonder why you assume that I was “fed” the information. It is available to anyone who has a computer and access to Google.


Downtown Bob

Lisa, I interviewed with you over 10 years ago. Thanks for not hiring me, I am way better off now. The main reason you gave for not hiring me was that two ro three in the police academy with me apparently did not consider me their drinking buddy even thought I placed in the top of my class. Thought it was insightful when you went through the police academy you had to create some sort of accusation to get through it. I have heard you worked your way to the top by being cute, not attractive, but cute and not too hard to get. Enjoy your payoff at tax payers expense and thanks again for not hiring me.


Cindy

WOW!! Just wow….