|Corruption Watch - Mayor Noguez & Political Porn
Corruption In Huntington Park
Mayor Noguez's Idea for Economic Growth in the city of Huntington Park: Gambling, Card Clubs & Sex Entertainment
Gambling makes money. Sex sells. Sex is business and our openly Gay Mayor John Noguez wants a piece of it. City
ordinances are secretly and quietly passed. All council members claim to be cross carrying Catholics in campaign
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Huntington Park, CA - So how did Noguez and his lackey slate in city council go from making campaign promises to protect
the public interests of families, children and seniors to spearheading and voting for city ordinances with the intent of allowing
adult entertainment and gambling interests and giving favored and unfair advantage in public contracts to friends and
campaign donors? Both interests are incompatible and are in direct conflict, public benefit be damned.
Politics is a game of deception. Noguez knows how to play it very well, indeed. The trick is to fool all of the voters all of the
time. Make campaign promises pledging to protect the public interest, but once you're in, your first priority is satisfying the
private interest and ignore the public ones. And don't worry about people finding out, you'll have the cover of Closed Session
to hide your real intentions; don't forget that you'll have legal counsel to help you make it seem legit, but first you have to
make sure legal counsel is himself given the city attorney contract in Closed Door Session before he can help you out.
Make sure to send out printed campaign propaganda stating that you stand for integrity, honesty and experience. No one
will question you on it. Rosario Marin, your political mentor taught you that lesson well. Deceit is a politician's best trick. And
never mind the public trust, it's only a formality that you can choose to ignore. Your back is covered politically. The only trust
you must worry about is that of your political mentor's and campaign contributors.
John Noguez first ran for city council in 2003. He was the leading candidate and part of a slate that included current council
members Ofelia Hernandez and Mario Gómez. He had $125,000 in campaign contributions to market himself to the voters. He
used such terms as "Honesty", "Integrity", "Experience". He used slick, full color brochures to present himself as a man of
Noguez even grew a very thick Mexican macho mustache to dispel any doubts about his masculinity, despite being gay. But
he never told the voters about it. Not that it was an issue. It's just that his true colors grew painfully apparent once he was
elected. This seems to be how Noguez operates, he shows the full deck of cards only after the game is over, with hidden
aces up his sleeves for added measure.
Noguez, Ofelia and Mario are teaming up as a slate again for the March 2007 local elections. Their campaign tasks seem
equally divided according to skill, with Noguez, the clever, white collar one, holding the money bags; Ofelia and Mario getting
stuck with the campaign's dirty grunt work; no brains, but plenty of political braun.
In 2003, the Noguez slate sported the hottest of commodity endorsements which were unmatched and unparallelled in the
history of local elections: Rosario Marin, a Republican and then U.S. Treasurer appointed by President Bush, intimately
involved in Noguez's campaign strategy, and Democrat Fabian Nunez, current California Assembly Speaker, were the
high-level, high profile and heavy artillery endorsements.
A third high profile endorser, the mayor-slash-campaign manager, was Rosario's lackey water boy, stooge and political
protege, the now convicted Edward Escareno. Edward would openly boast that he spoke on a daily basis to Rosario Marin at
her U.S. Treasurer's office in Washington D.C.
Evidently, Escareno's daily briefings to Marin were critical to her long distance management of campaign strategy and city
business. As mayor, Escareno could be counted on to follow through on Marin's directives, like which of her friends would get
which contracts and setting the ground work to hire Francisco Leal to be the new city attorney. Huntington Park and
Washington D.C. were sure hooked up. While Rosario Marin was supposed to be taking care of the Nation's Treasury
business, she sure found time to take care and micro manage Huntington Park's business. Besides, Escareno had nothing
but time on his hands as he was unemployed outside of city council. These are the kind of people Rosario wants in city
council: unemployed and uneducated and very corruptible, but more importantly, very loyal to her.
A Perfect Storm of Historic Proportions
"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job", could well apply to Rosario Marin, too. Katrina was only one historic storm to have
hit under President George W. Bush's watch. The other, a political one, was well managed by Bush's other political hack
appointee, that would be Rosario Marin, a California Republican party Secretary and state party apparatchik. A true Latino
political empowerment success story, but at what cost?
The 2003 city council elections presented an historic perfect storm of grand proportions: a once in a political lifetime
opportunity for a complete and rotund power grab with three council seats open but no incumbents to claim them.
The 2003 election period also nicely sealed the tectonic shift in local politics reflecting larger regional demographic trends
(flight of white residents as Mexican and Central-American immigrants streamed in). The city council shift started in the early
1990's, going from an historically all white, all male office to one with brown faces and an immigrant female councilwoman
pioneered by former councilman Ric Loya and Rosario Marin.
The election saw the complete 100% transformation of city council. All elected officials were now brown faces. MALDEF could
now close its doors: Latino's were now "The Man" here in Huntington Park, in South Gate, in Sacramento and soon in L.A.
City hall too.
The election's timing coincided and paralleled neighboring city of South Gate's power grab by Albert Robles, whom also took
advantage of precisely the identical historic opportunity for wresting control of the majority of council seats. It can be argued
that, in fact, Albert Robles played the Latino political empowerment game by the book as written in Sacramento.
Arguably, the only reason Albert Robles was caught red-handed and knee deep in corruption and his lackey slate of three
council members was ousted, was because he didn't invite Sacramento to join the corruption party.
The rat's hair that tipped the scales was Albert's alleged and presumably idle threat to rape State Senator Martha Escutia
and behead former Assembly member Marco Firebaugh and ditch his headless body somewhere in Tijuana (for the record,
former Assemblyman Firebaugh passed away in 2006).
Robles got too cocky for his own good, evidently forgetting Rule #1 of local politics: do not piss off the powerful Latino
caucus in Sacramento, or you'll pay dearly. Rule #2: The Sacramento Latino caucus wants "in" on the action (if not, see rule
#1); just ask Richard Polanco, former State Senator and powerful head of the Latino caucus.
Timing was perfect. Planning for the 2003 campaign started in 2001 when Rosario Marin was still a Huntington Park council
member, and before President Bush appointed her to be the 41st U.S. Treasurer.
Rosario Marin knew that whomever controlled those three seats controlled millions of dollars in city contracts, and if you
controlled the majority vote, you could even dispense with the trivial formality of taking contracts out to competitive bidding
which is precisely what Albert Robles did in South Gate.
Rosario's ace team was gunning to grab the Holy Grail and hit the Mega Lotto of local corrupt politicians: total and complete
control of city council. Once the Noguez slate was elected in March 2003, Rosario's friends were coincidentally favored
recipients of non-competing city contracts totaling millions of dollars, including the city attorney contract, the bus
transportation contract, the graffiti removal contract, META 2000, CDBG funds, senior housing management contracts, AIDS
clinic contracts, Meals-on-wheels to seniors contract (sponsored through the County of L.A.).
The only difference with the South Gate power grab by Albert Robles and the Huntington Park power grab orchestrated by
Rosario Marin, Francisco Leal, Escareno and Noguez, was that Rosario and lackey team did not threaten anybody in
In fact, they joined them, with Senator Escutia giving $1,000 campaign contributions to Escareno's 2001 campaign, granting
Sacramento's Latino caucus's favorite attorney, Francisco Leal, a virtual monopoly on lucrative no-bid city attorney contracts
worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, all awarded in secretive closed-door sessions.
How tight is Sacramento to the Noguez team? A personal appearance in January 2003 by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez
helped the Noguez campaign kickoff party held at Leonardo's nightclub. Fabian also appeared in a 2003 campaign
propaganda piece stating why gullible city voters should vote for Noguez, Ofelia and Mario.
The owner of Leonardo's nightclub is big-time contributor to Noguez's campaign, a personal friend of Rosario Marin and
stands to directly benefit from Noguez's flurry of new ordinances allowing adult entertainment businesses and gambling card
clubs. See WatchOurCity.com's report from 2004 on how John Noguez sneaked in a closed session item to hire a consultant
to turn Leonardo's Nightclub into a gambling card club, this despite a moratorium until 2010 placed on non-Indian card clubs
by outgoing Governor Gray Davis. Leonardo's night club used to house the Huntington Park Casino before the previous
owner was sent to prison by the U.S. Justice Department for trying to bribe councilman Ric Loya with $50,000. Most
disturbing, Noguez's casino item was noted on the closed session agenda as a real estate transaction to hide its true intent
and goal from voters.
So tight is the connection among Noguez, Francisco Leal, Rosario Marin and the Latino caucus in Sacramento that Noguez
can publicly and confidently proclaim that he is the designated and anointed successor to Speaker Fabian Nunez's State
Assembly seat once Nunez is termed out in 2009.
How to Launder Illegal Campaign Contributions & Not Get Caught
Noguez is even asking for campaign contributions already for his yet to be registered State Assembly campaign. Asking for
campaign funds and not registering with the State of California to ask for campaign funds is illegal under current State
campaign finance laws.
In one recent example, Pacific Charter School just completed development of a school to be run by Aspire Charter, a
state-wide charter school operator, on time for a September 2006 opening. Approval was granted and the project was
expedited within days after a May 2006 meeting held at the California Club in Downtown L.A. Noguez called two folks from
Pacific Charter over for lunch.
Allegedly, Noguez blatantly and outright requested a $50,000 contribution specifically for his State Assembly campaign in
exchange for the project approval by the city. The FBI can follow this lead at their leisure and convenience. Just please do
not get the D.A.'s office involved, since the DA would have a conflict of interest. The DA is Rosario Marin's Republican buddy.
Now, assuming that Pacific Charter could give in to the blatantly criminal shakedown demand by Noguez, how in the world
was Noguez planning to hide such a large donation? Aside from the facts that he doesn't yet have permission for state
campaign fundraising, and if registered, that such a large contribution would actually be illegal, there is a $3,000 maximum
limit to each state office contribution, how was Noguez planning on breaking down such a large donation to legitimize it for
proper reporting, if he even intended to report it at all?
Clearly, Noguez knew what he was doing and how he would launder the proceeds of such an illegal contribution. Judging
from Noguez's smooth operation, no doubt aided by an air of legitimacy and whiff of power bestowed by the California Club
dining room, it can even be presumed that Noguez has done this before, and will do it again. Most chillingly, he knows he
can get away with it. His back is covered in the DA's office, the Governor's office and the Assembly Speaker's office.
Reportedly, Pacific Charter balked at the $50,000 asking price, and Noguez settled for about $5,000 or $10,000. Surprisingly,
the project was approved by the Planning Commission, Planning Department and City Council within a matter of days of the
California Club meeting. The contribution does not appear on end of year campaign filing statements with the City Clerk.
WatchOurCity.com reviewed public records covering Noguez's campaign contributions from January 1, 2006 to December 31,
2006 but no record shows up of any campaign contribution of between $5,000 and $10,000 that Pacific Charter Schools
allegedly gave Noguez. First of, such a contribution would be illegal. The only reasonable conclusion is the contribution was
laundered. Such a smooth operation.
Wiley Press published a book in 2006, "Power Mentoring: How Successful Mentors and Proteges Get The Most Out of
Their Relationships". The book describes the 50 most powerful mentor-protege relationships in the United States. Rosario
Marin and John Noguez are a noted one of fifty Mentor-Protege pairs. The public record and contracts to friends and
campaign contributors, and the many reports by WatchOurCity.com in the past 3 years can attest to the fact that indeed, the
mentor-protege relationship between Rosario Marin and John Noguez have gotten the most from their relationship. The book
is right on. Check it out at Amazon.com (Editor's note: WatchOurCity.com does not profit from sales of the book or by linking
to third party websites such as Amazon.com).
Aspire Charter School is up and running on the corner of Saturn and Alameda, and doing the business of educating, and
coincidentally is located just one block away from Leonardo's night club on Alameda Street, the proposed site of a possible
gambling card club or adult entertainment locale.
In a January 26, 2005 campaign fundraising letter, Noguez asks for your "support and encouragement" and lists his
accomplishments. One of them notes "Worked with the community to build one new high school, two middle schools and four
We Don't Need no Stinking Buses
In 2003, Noguez and his lackey slate came up with a nebulously catchy campaign slogan with an unintended double-edge:
"Actions Speak Louder Than Words".
Indeed, their actions did speak louder than their words, and the slogan began to make sense the very first instance that
Noguez, Ofelia and Mario warmed the leather covered seats in council chambers. Rosario Marin's team ushered in a period of
corruption not seen since the days when an all white city council dolled out contracts to trash haulers and set themselves up
as partners in business that benefited from city contracts. Latino political empowerment was supposed to fix the white man's
old boy network, not recreate. But, evidently, that is exactly what Latino Political Empowerment has come to be. MALDEF
now has to sue itself and seek justice from itself. The bully and the victim is us. Latino on Latino corruption.
The public record for the last four years strongly suggests that the Noguez campaign slogan this time around should be "The
Corruption; Oh, The Corruption!", with an added by-line at the bottom, "The Cover-Ups; Oh, The Corruption Cover-ups".
Their 2003 campaign propaganda stated that they would look after the needs of the families, children, student's education,
and senior citizens of this Southeast L.A. County city.
In fact, Noguez and team started looking after the needs and private benefit of Rosario Marin's friends-slash-campaign
It started with giving Francisco Leal the city attorney contract in a closed door session and without competing bids just
months after the new slate was sworn in as council members, presided over by their political mentor and den mother Rosario
Then, a multi-million dollar city bus transportation contract came due. Rosario and Noguez's good friends George Cole of
Oldtimers Foundation and Victor Caballero of Fiesta Taxi, both eager and prominent campaign contributors to the Noguez
slate, and such an unlikely odd couple, were awarded the $3.9 million dollar bus contract. This contract was awarded under
the most dubious and highly questionable of circumstances since George Cole's Oldtimers Foundation was rated the worst
and placed last out of 4 bidders. We don't need no stinking buses: Cole didn't even have one stinking bus to demonstrate
he could perform on the contract. Mayor Noguez helped out with a cool $100,000 in business start-up fees with public funds.
Oh, and needs of families and children? Well, actions speak louder than words: the 2004 budget passed by the newly
elected slate eliminated funding for pre-school programs, increased fees for little league by 100% and the yearly park fees
charged to the Otero adult Baseball League were raised from $6,000 a year to $30,000.
In one 2003 campaign propaganda mailer, the Noguez slate stated "Working together for our Community, For Our
Children, For Our Future" (click to see WatchOurCity.com report).
Guilty By Association
Exactly one year ago today, on January 16, 2006, WatchOurCity.com broke the story on Escareno's quiet conviction in L.A.
Superior Court. Escareno was convicted for "Grand Theft" of public funds while he was a councilman.
Escareno was unemployed during his tenure as an elected official, but claimed he was a businessman. Rosario Marin was his
top endorser during his 2001 campaign. Ofelia, John and Mario were spooked by the conviction, and rightly so: they would
be tainted by association. Their 2007 re-election campaign would suffer a setback and their chances for reelection in 2007
would be grim if the public knew that their very own campaign manager was convicted of Grand Theft; their very own
campaign Manager! We can empathize as to why they would want to keep such damaging news a deathly secret.
And Escareno is Rosario Marin's very own favorite political water boy and protege! Such a political PR nightmare. Que
desgracia! (translation: what a disgrace!).
Complicating matters, Rosario Marin and Governor Schwarzenegger were already scheduled to make an appearance in
Huntington Park council chambers a few days later, on February 2, 2006, to announce Marin's momentous political
appointment as head of the State's Consumer Affairs Division, a multi-billion dollar bureaucracy.
How would it look if the media was alerted about the Huntington Park councilman's conviction, a former mayor, and very
politically intimate protege to Rosario Marin? Everyone, from Marin herself, the Noguez team to the Governor's office would
benefit from a cover-up of Escareno's conviction. The cover-up would be enabled by Rosario's good friend and Republican
buddy, who owes Rosario a favor or two: Steve Cooley, District Attorney.
All the D.A.'s office had to do was, well, not announce the conviction. But wouldn't that deprive the D.A.'s office of a PR coup
and garner some media attention trumpeting and attesting to his office's success rate at putting away corrupt elected
officials? Not in Escareno's case.
The cover-up was a no brainer and had to happen in order to avoid at all costs marring Marin's appointment by the Governor
and to avoid undue embarrassment and tainting by association for Noguez, Ofelia and Mario.
Besides, the 1,500 high propensity voters that elected the Noguez slate in Huntington Park are gullible anyway and
Corrupcion En Huntington Park - Perfect Storm Turns Perfect PR Nightmare
On January 18, 2006, two days after WatchOurCity.com breaks the story on councilman Escareno's conviction, the La Opinion
Newspaper announces in a front page heading "Corrupcion en Huntington Park", and credits this website for the breaking
news. The perfect storm becomes a perfect PR nightmare.
By that evening, the story is also broadcast on Spanish language evening newscasts. The big question everyone was
asking: Why was the conviction of Huntington Park's councilman Edward Escareno kept from the public?
A most startling and disturbing fact: Escareno's conviction was kept a secret for nearly one month! The story now was not
only the conviction itself, that was sensational enough, but the cover-up. How did the DA's office and the Noguez city council
keep such news a secret? The cover-up became the bigger story. Max Factor and Maybelline could not manufacture enough
product to cover up this mess. But they got away with it, anyway.
From December 20, 2005, the day Escareno was convicted in L.A. Superior Court, until January 16, 2006, when
WatchOurCity.com broke the story based on an anonymous tip sent via email, no one knew of the conviction.
Contrast this bizarre political damage-control cover-up with the conviction three years earlier of another Huntington Park
elected official. Linda Guevara, then councilwoman was accused of not living in the city by Rosario Marin and company, but
never of stealing public funds, like Escareno. News of Guevara's conviction was released far and wide to every local and
national news media outlets, and trumpeted by the District Attorney's office as it's very first successful conviction for Steve
Cooley's newly formed Public Integrity Unit.
How bizarre, how very bizarre! An interview of Rosario Marin was published by La Opinion to get her reaction to Escareno's
bizarre conviction story. Marin's response said it all: "Escareno betrayed my trust" (read: not the public's trust, HER trust).
The corruption plot thickens with John Noguez and city council team.
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