|Mayor John Noguez Votes to Award a Contract Only 2 Months After Receiving
Campaign Contributions From the Contractors
August 2, 2004
Huntington Park- On 2-2-04 city council voted to pass a motion awarding a nearly $4 million
contract for transportation services to Oldtimers Foundation and Fiesta Taxi.
The Wave community newspaper reported the following on May 12, 2004:
"In selecting Fiesta and the Oldtimers, the City Council Feb. 2 rejected recommendations
made by a transit consultant and city staff, which recommended Southland Transit of
Baldwin Park as the most qualified to provide transportation, with Diversified Paratransit
second, Fiesta third and the Oldtimers the least qualified."
"Korduner said the new service, provided by Fiesta and the Oldtimers, will cost the city $3.9
million over the length of the three-year contract."
"Southland's bid for the three services was about $22,000 less than the combined Fiesta and
"Council members Ed Escareño and Mario Gomez, who comprise the Transportation
Committee, said they wanted to give the local group support."
According to Huntington Park city council meeting minutes, the item was presented as a
motion by Gomez and seconded by Hernandez. It reads as follows:
"Motion by Gomez, seconded by Hernandez, to approve the following: 1) award a three (3)
year contract to the Oldtimers Foundation to operate the Fixed Route & Pacific Boulevard
Shuttle and Fiesta Taxi to operate Demand Response Services; 2) that Oldtimers Foundation
Inc. continue to operate the two (2) vans currently in use; and 3) to continue services with
Diversified Paratransit on a month-to-month basis for no more than 60 days, carried as
follows: Ayes: Vice Mayor Noguez, Council Members Hernandez, Gomez, Loya, and Mayor
Escareño; Noes: None; Absent: None." The city contract with Fiesta Taxi was signed on
March 1, 2003.
Just two months before, on 12-02-03, then Vice-mayor John Noguez accepted a $1,000
campaign contribution from Victor Caballero of Fiesta Taxi. On 2-18-03, a year and sixteen
days before the 2-2-04 vote, Fiesta Taxi donated $1,000 each to Mario Gomez and Ofelia
Hernandez while they were still candidates for city council.
On 12-11-03, Diversified Paratransit, the then-current transportation contractor, donated $500
to John Noguez's election committee. Federal campaign contribution records indicated that
Diversified Paratransit did not donate anything at Francisco Leal's home on 2-19-04 when he
hosted a fundraiser for Rosario Marin's US Senate Campaign (Ex-US Treasurer and ex-mayor
of Huntington Park); co-hosts and donors, amongst others, were Victor Caballero of Fiesta
Taxi, George Cole of Oldtimers, and Vicente Ortiz of Meta 2000. John Noguez also attended
and donated to Rosario Marin's campaign.
Records indicate that the low bidder, Southland Transit, did not donate to any council member.
Also, on 12-12-03, George Cole of Oldtimers gave a $500 donation to John Noguez's
campaign, according to campaign contribution statements (California Form 460) reviewed by
WatchOurCity.com as issued by the city clerk's office in Huntington Park.
Additionally, Victor Caballero of Fiesta Taxi contributed to the campaign of Ed Escareño on
the following dates: $500 on 2-26-01, and $500 on 7-31-02.
Mario Gomez and Ed Escareño comprise the council's Transportation Committee. The
transportation Committee reportedly recommended contracting with Fiesta Taxi and Oldtimers
Foundation against the recommendations of professional city staff and an independent
transportation consultant who rated Fiesta Taxi 3rd and Oldtimers Foundation 4th and least
qualified as bidders. Not selecting the lowest and most responsible transportation services
bidder cost the city of Huntington Park a reported $22,000 extra in Public Funds. City council
voted 5-0 to award the contract. It seems that the city municipal code dealing with
The contract with Fiesta Taxi has a "Termination for breach of Law" clause", item "C" on page
10, which states:
"In the event the CONTRACTOR or any of its officers, directors, shareholders, employees,
agents, subsidiaries or affiliates is convicted (i) of a criminal offense as an incident to
obtaining or attempting to obtain a public or private contract or subcontract, or in the
performance of a contract or subcontract; (ii) under state or federal statutes of
embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, receiving stolen
property, or any other offense indicating a lack of business integrity or business honesty
which currently, seriously and directly affects responsibility as public consultant and
contractor; (iii) under state or federal antitrust statues arising our of the submission of bids
or proposals; or (iv) for any other cause the CITY determines to be serious and compelling
as to affect CONTRACTOR's responsibility as a public consultant or contractor, including
but not limited to, debarment by another governmental agency, then the CITY reserves the
unilateral right to terminate this Agreement or to impose such other sanctions (which may
include financial sanctions, temporary suspensions or any other condition deemed
appropriate short of termination) as it deems proper. The CITY will not take action until
CONTRACTOR has been given notice and an opportunity to present evidence in mitigation."
After the transportation contract was awarded to Fiesta Taxi and Oldtimers Foundation, city
council held a special meeting on April 5, 2003, reportedly to consider a request by Oldtimers
Foundation for an advance of $75,000 for initial operational funds.
Public records show that Mayor John Noguez granted Oldtimers Foundation an additional
$25,000 for a total of approximately $100,000. It can be reasonably inferred that Oldtimers
lack of operation funds seems to confirm their rating as 4th and least qualified as a contractor.
Not only did the city pay an additional $22,000 in Public funds to contract with firms rated 3rd
and 4th place out of four transportation service bidders, and rated least qualified, but in
addition, the city allegedly had to forward an advance of approximately $100,000 for initial
operating costs from Public Funds, funds that could have been used for other basic services to
The combined contributions by Fiesta Taxi and Oldtimers Foundation to the campaigns of
Gomez, Hernandez and Noguez is $3,500. The transportation contract is worth approximately
$3.9 Million. Their combined original investment of $3,500 potentially lands them an
astronomical 111,428% return on investment.
(Click here for Part 1 report dated July 19, 2004)
(click here for Part 2 report dated July 27, 2004)
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