|July 27, 2004
Huntington Park- City Attorney Francisco Leal made several campaign contributions and
failed to report the activity on his State of California “Report of Lobbying Firm Form
F625”. Francisco Leal's campaign contribution of $3,000 to Ofelia Hernandez, his
contribution of $2,000 to Rosario Marin's failed U.S. Senate bid, and his $1,000 donation
to the campaign of Mayor John Noguez were not reported as required to the State of
His firm, Leal, Abich, Dominguez is also the City’s Redevelopment Commission
Attorney under a separate contract. His lobbying firm, Legislative Advocacy Group, Inc
is registered in the State of California as a lobbyist for the City of Huntington Park. He is
also a lobbyist for the surrounding local cities of:
- City of Commerce
- Commerce Development Commission
- Bell Gardens
WatchOurCity.com reviewed campaign contribution statements filed with the City Clerk
in the City of Huntington Park. Form 460 filed by the Hernandez Campaign Committee
covering a period from Feb. 16, 2003 to June 30, 2003, reveals that Francisco Leal
donated a combined total of $3,000 to council member Hernandez.
On 5-01-03 Francisco Leal’s lobbying firm, Legislative Advocacy Group,Inc. donated
$1,000 to Ofelia Hernandez’s campaign. On the same day, his law firm of Leal & Olivas
donated an additional $2,000 to Ofelia Hernandez.
On 12-02-03, a few months later, Francisco Leal's $3,000 investment in the form of
campaign contributions to council member Ofelia Hernandez seems to have paid
On that date, council members Ofelia Hernandez, Mario Gomez and then-Mayor Ed
Escareño voted to select Francisco Leal's law firm, Leal, Abich and Dominguez, as the
interim City Attorney, replacing City Attorney Anthony Canzioneri. According to city
records, the vote was as follows:
in Favor: Escareño, Gomez, Hernandez;
Reportedly, Council member John Noguez left council chambers right before the vote for
city attorney was taken and no explanation was given for Noguez’s sudden absence.
Council member Loya cast the lone dissenting vote. “I was surprised when the mayor
proposed hiring Leal without going out for bids,” said Loya (Wave Community
Council member Ofelia Hernandez seems to have overlooked a minor detail as she voted
for the new city attorney contract: Potential conflict of interest. Just seven months earlier
she was the recipient of a generous donation of $3,000 by Francisco Leal. Her fellow
council members Ed Escareño and Mario Gomez seemed to have overlooked this minor
detail as well in their apparent rush to garner a third vote to award the contract.
Ofelia Hernandez's Campaign Statement Form 460 was prepared by Karina G. Lara,
allegedly niece of Mayor John Noguez. Karina's address as listed on Form 460 matches
council member Ed Escareno's address on his campaign statement filings during the same
period. The Hernandez Campaign Committee mailing address also matches Escareno's
mailing address. Karina is also on record as preparing council member Mario Gomez's
and some of Mayor John Noguez's California Form 460 Campaign Statements; and the
campaign committee address for Gomez and Noguez also matches Escareno's address on
some of the forms.
On December 15, 2003, the City Clerk Elba Romo and Mayor Ed Escareño formally
signed Leal's contract for City Attorney services, The contract stipulates a not-to-exceed
amount of $25,000 per month in billing fees, which is equivalent to $300,000 per year.
Leal's original investment of $3,000 landed him a potential 10,000% return on investment.
Upon review of the 2004-2005 city budget, WatchOurCity.com notes that the city
allocates in excess of $1 million dollars for legal fees for city attorney services under
different departments and budget categories scattered throughout the 500 page-plus
Also during December of 2003, Francisco Leal, along with Robert Rodriguez of
Oldtimers Foundation, accompanied then Mayor Ed Escareño to Playas De Rosarito in
Baja California, Mexico, Huntington Park's darling Sister City. According to that city's
newspaper, "Ecos De Rosarito" (click here to see WatchOurCity.com's archive of the
On 12-19-03, when the ink had barely dried on his Huntington Park city attorney
contract, Francisco Leal’s lobbying firm, Legislative Advocacy Group, Inc. donates $500
to John Noguez. And on the same day, Leal’s law firm donated an additional $500 to
John Noguez’s campaign, for a total of $1,000 as reported on Noguez’s California Form
460 filed with the city clerk's office in Huntington Park.
On 2-19-04 Francisco Leal hosts a political fund raiser at his home for Rosario Marin, a
Republican candidate for U.S Senate during the 2004 primaries. She is an ex U.S.
Treasurer and ex-Mayor of Huntington Park and actively, if not officially, supported the
campaign of Gomez, Hernandez and Noguez. Marin's picture appears on some of their
campaign literature. Co-Hosts for that evening's event included Victor Caballero of Fiesta
Taxi, George Cole of Oldtimers Foundation, and Vicente Ortiz, a prominent member of
Meta 2000. All donate to her campaign on that evening, including council member John
Noguez (See WatchOurCity.com's report "Actions speak louder than words - Part 1",
dated 7-19-04). All hosts for the event coincidentally are current recipients of city
contracts (such as a nearly $4 million, 3 year Dial-a-Ride and transportation contract that
Fiesta Taxi and Oldtimers Foundations were awarded just days before Marin's fund
raiser and were allegedly not even the low bidders, costing the city reportedly $22,000
more in Public Funds), or "donations" of Public Funds (such as the $30,000 that Mayor
Noguez strongly urged his council colleagues be given to Meta 2000, where he is also a
All registered State lobbyists, including Francisco Leal's firm, Legislative Advocacy
Group, Inc., are required by the California Secretary of State to submit periodic reports
of lobbying activity and campaign contributions made.
The form, “Report of Lobbying Firm Form F625”, is posted on the California State
Secretary’s website for public review. For the reporting period of 4-01-03 to 6-30-03,
under “Summary of Payments This Period”, Leal indicates that his lobbying firm made
no political contributions during this period, contrary to council member Ofelia
Hernandez's campaign statements filed with the city clerk's office in Huntington Park.
Francisco Leal does not acknowledge his donation of $1,000 to Noguez made on 12-19-
03 on his lobbying report for that period either. Nor his contribution to Rosario Marin on
2-9-04 for $2,000.
According to the Secretary of State's office, all lobbyist have to report all campaign
contributions on Form F625, regardless of whether they were for local, state or federal
WatchOurCity.com notes that Francisco Leal certifies “under penalty of perjury” on each
lobbying Form F625 that he has filed for each reporting period in question that he made
no campaign contributions on the dates indicated above.
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