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|Vicente Ortiz of Tacos Don Chente, Rosario Marin, El Grito and Public Funds
YES WE CAN'T
Noguez Gives Vicente Ortiz
of META 2000 Over $500,000
in 5 years in Gifts of Public Funds
Huntington Park, CA - Councilman Juan “John” Noguez has given
over half a million dollars gratis in direct cash gifts combined with city services to a
shady and secretive local business organization known as META 2000 for the purpose of
running the "El Grito" event on September 16. Vicente Ortiz, owner of Tacos Don
Chente and El Pescador Restaurants, is the founder of META 2000.
Vicente Ortiz is best friends with Rosario Marin, and her political protégé team in
Huntington Park city council. Back before Rosario Marin’s team had a choke hold on city
politics and multi-million dollar city contracts, Vicente used to hang around John Noguez
and now-convicted felon, ex-councilmember Edward Escareno, who were both star
protégés of Rosario Marin, and through them Marin controlled city council while she was
serving as the U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush. Rosario Marin was
recently at the Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota
Vicente Ortiz, Noguez, Escareno and Rosario Marin were a team before Rosario's slate
won election in March 2003. Since that election, several multi-million dollar contracts
and cash gifts have been awarded to a close group of Rosario's friends. In the case of
META 2000, Vicente Ortiz and his exclusive shady band of Mexican Latino business men
have received over $200,000 in direct cash grants.
These funds have no strings attached and no auditing of the use of funds has ever
been recorded, according to the public record. Vicente Ortiz's group, META 2000 is
officially known by the State of California as “Amigos de META 2000 International
Benefit Organization, Inc”. According to State filings, META 2000 recently changed filing
name status back on January 29, 2008, and calls itself a “non-profit”.
The organization is headquartered at 3053 E. Florence Avenue in Huntington Park. The
agent for service of process is Salvador Franco. The address just happens to be place of
business for Vicente Ortiz’s storefront Taco shop known as Tacos Don Chente. Chente
is a Mexican Spanish diminutive of Vicente.
Last Labor Day weekend, councilman John “Juan” Noguez mailed a slick full-color
brochure simply asking voters for their opinion. Noguez’s mailer was printed from his
“Elect Noguez” campaign fund. Noguez wanted to know your opinion about liquor
licenses, but used subtle and deceptive tactics and methods to pose the question.
Currently the city has moratorium on issuing new liquor licenses.
What John Noguez really wants is an exception to the moratorium that applies only to
Vicente Ortiz and his META 2000 group. Chente wants to sell beer at his META 2000 run
“El Grito”, or the Mexican Independence celebration at the city’s municipal park.
For this celebration, Noguez and city council gives about $100,000 annually over to
META 2000 to put on the celebration. This amount includes cash gifts of approximately
$50,000, with additional funds to cover police department overtime and park
employees cleanup efforts of massive piles of trash left behind after the event.
At a recent city council meeting, council member Ofelia Hernandez opposed issuing a
liquor license. In response to Ofelia’s comments, Vicente and shady company
organized an intensive lobbying effort during a city council meeting, and Vicente
personally took the time to publicly chastise poor Ofelia, saying something to the
effect:”Ofelia, how dare you oppose our request for a liquor license, when it was us here
at META 2000 who paid for your campaign”. Vicente, in effect, and quite blatantly
unleashed his wrath at someone he and his team has financially supported. Vicente was
saying, "I own you". Such are the risks of public office holders.
The "El Grito" event even has its very own website with a list of sponsors, notably META
2000. Clicking on the META button leads one to a website of a check cashing operation
also in Huntington Park, called "Centro Financiero Amigo", a check cashing business.
The owner also owns "El Club" on Pacific Blvd., a weekend dance hall, that coincidentally
also needs a liquor license to operate.
If you are planning to run for public office in Huntington Park, make sure to make
Tacos Don Chente and Centro Financiero Amigo, the check cashing place, your friends.
You will need them as Rosario Marin and John Noguez have demonstrated.
By the way, if you seriously plan to run for public office, and plan to launder your
campaign proceeds, there is no better way to launder campaign funds than with a friend
and supporter who runs a check cashing business. Proceeds are untraceable! Just make
sure, that once elected, you take care of your friends by circumventing city ordinances
and giving them a liquor license already.
After all, what's a Mexican Independence celebration without a bunch of drunks running
around in a municipal park with expensive city cops babysitting the whole event?
Let's honor our independence with Beer! Here, here. And John "Juan" Noguez, gladly
obliges his META 2000 friends by sending out the very expensive "I want to Know Your
Such a drama queen! All of that just because Noguez's buddies are not happy with half
a million dollars in city gifts, and now they want a liquor license.
It seems that Vicente Ortiz and his merry band of Mexican Merchants have less than
honorable intentions, selling liquor is not in the best interest of the Mexican
community, especially on Independence Day. Sends the wrong message. And never
mind the city's liability exposure with such a volatile mix of ingredients. But META 2000
is not about the public benefit anyway.
If Vicente can deceive both his own wife and an unsuspecting young lady who gave birth
to Chente's child out of wedlock, claiming to her that he was not married, then what
can the residents of Huntington Park expect from Vicente besides some mediocre tacos
and stale beer? Honesty? Integrity? Don't bet your chimichangas on it. Read a report by
WatchOurCity.com from January 30, 2006 "Profiles in corruption: Vicente Ortiz, Friend of
In the public interest, I say we give them the liquor license if Councilman John
"Juan" Noguez insists.
In exchange, META 2000 founder Vicente Ortiz must agree in writing that he will, one,
never again ask for public funds and two, open his books for an independent audit of
META 2000 going back to when they started receiving public funds from Rosario Marin's
team in 2003. On second thought, META 2000 should not be given a liquor license to
serve beer at a municipal park. The city's liability exposure would be way too risky.
Just think what half a million dollars can get us in real city services. Kids can actually
attend little league without paying any fees. Park services can increase offerings to the
city's children without paying any fees. First thing John Noguez and team did when they
won office is increase little league fees by a factor of two. The extra funds coming into
the city from the hard working families paying such fees went to subsidize the likes of
Vicente and gang.
Here's the math: $500,000 can subsidize 20 little league baseball teams of 20 kids
each, for 20 years at the current entry fee of $60 per kid, which Noguez doubled from
$30 per kid the minute he was elected. The only thing that pencils out for Mr. Noguez is
how much his pal Vicente can take. Compare that with five two-day fiestas which is the
"El Grito" event for the last five years.
Such are John Noguez's public policies: Double the price of admittance to little league
for some of the poorest kids in L.A. County, get their fathers drunk, and give out
$500,000 in public subsidies to well connected business buddies. Wow. Such an
enlightened public servant is Noguez.
What META 2000 will make on beer sales during the 2-day planned event at Salt Lake
Park will more than make up for the loss in city funds. "META" is Spanish for "Goal".
Really, Vicente should now call his group META $500,000.
Poor Padre Miguel Hidalgo, must be turning in his grave in utter disgust.