Thursday, October 3, 2013

Head Boxing Coach Sues the City Manager Vijay Singhal of the City of Baldwin Park

On October 2, 2013, Erik, an 18 year old boxer and college student, served City Manager Vijay Singhal and the City of Baldwin Park with a lawsuit.  Julian Casas, the city's head boxing coach, is the plaintiff who is suing Vijay Singhal and the City of Baldwin Park.  His attorney on record is Paul "The Boxing Lawyer" Cook.

The boxers arrived at the City Council Meeting.  Yet, when Mayor Manuel Lozano saw the boxers arrive, he closed down the public comments period.  A member of the audience in a green shirt was about 6 feet from the podium, ready to speak.

In protest, Cook stood up and said, "You're violating our First Amendment Rights.  Public Comments is not closed yet."

The Mayor responded, "It's closed.  And if you don't sit back down, I'll have you thrown out."

In response, Cook directed Erik to the City Clerk, who handed her the complaint, which is the notice of lawsuit against the City.  The City Clerk asked him what it was.

To this, he responded: "A lawsuit against City Manager Vijay Singhal."

She attempted to give it back, but he refused to accept it.  Instead, she walked over and gave the lawsuit to the City Manager, Vijay Singhal.

With that, the boxers walked out of the City Council Chambers.  Before Cook walked to the door, he shouted behind him, "You've been sued."

Cook was upset that the Mayor chilled free speech once again.  See blog post:  Mayor Lozano Chills Free Speech  Cook's blog also notes that the administrators have retaliated against those who speak out against politicians.  See: City Attacks Boxing Activist.

Cook stated, "We live in a dictatorship.  The mayor has great difficulty understanding that people have the right to free speech.  His ploy didn't work.  They've been served.  The politicians and adminstrators knew we were coming with a lawsuit because the local paper that day wrote a story about how we were serving them."  The Boxers Make the News Again  This is the second time the boxers made the local paper.

Cook; Casas; the founder of the boxing program, Mike Salas;and the boxers were also interviewed by another major paper.  Cook's blog has made it to 80 countries, and everyday journalists contact him about the affairs of Baldwin Park.

Local city residents have said, "You don't know how dirty these politicians are.  They used to call us racist for speaking out against them.  [The residents were whites.]  Mayor Lozano closes public comments when he doesn't want to hear something."

Casas filed the lawsuit because City Manager Vijay Singhal refused all 22 items on Casas' records request at the time of filing the suit. Casas attempted to view these records after discovering the misappropriation of the boxing budget, the kickbacks, and the rampant nepotism and cronyism within management of the city

Asked about the lawsuit, Cook stated, "We didn't really want to sue them.  But, Mayor Lozano, the Council Members: the Garcias, and the Management team think they're a law onto themselves.  They don't take you seriously unless you have their actions reviewed judicially.  I mean, we're just asking them to have a performance review.  Is that too much to ask for?  Apparently, the judges haven't been too impressed though with the performance of any of these administrators or public officials."  See City Manager's 12 Violations of Law

This is the second public records lawsuit against the City.  In the first one, City Attorney Joseph Pannone and the City Manager, Vijay Singhal has cost the City $90,000.  Cook believes they do this because they're not spending their own personal money.  So, they exercise poor judgment because it doesn't come out of their pockets.  It comes out of the residents' of Baldwin Park.

The Police Association, currently, has two lawsuits against the City for First Amendment Retaliation.  Robert Norse, radio host, commented on how unusual it was for the Police to be suing over Constitutional Violations.  To that, Cook commented, "They [the politicians] do what they want without regard to our rights."  There are talks of a non-profit filing a third public records violation lawsuit against the City of Baldwin Park and City Manager Vijay Singhal. 

Cook also stated, "October 2, 2013 is a historical day for Baldwin Park.  Julian Casas is a resident of the City and has been the boxing coach here for fourteen years.  I don't know of any lawsuits by residents here against the City of Baldwin Park.  In general, they're too poor.  They make on average $11,000 per year.  But here, we have a resident, suing the City, enforcing democratic rights, at a democratic meeting.  It marks the beginning of the people taking back its City by the people for the people."

(Excerpts of the complaint are attached below.)

* * * * *

Join the fight.  Share the story.  Send this story onward.

PAUL COOK, State Bar No. 290583

Attorney for Petitioner,



Case No.:
[California Constitution Article I §3; Govt. Code §6258; Cal. Code of Civil Proc. §1085]

Date Action filed:
Date set for trial:

1.                   The City of Baldwin Park, (La Ciudad[1]), was sued under the Public Records Act (the Act) once before.  On September 28, 2009, the Los Angeles Superior Court ordered a writ of mandamus against La Ciudad.  It also ordered La Ciudad to pay the Silverstein Law Firm approximately $50,000.
2.                   In the last lawsuit, petitioners “requested at least five times [for their records.]  The [City of Baldwin Park ] again [and again] failed to respond to [petitioner’s] requests.”  (Exhibit 5.) 
3.                   Once again, La Ciudad has resorted to these former and habitual illegal business practices.
4.                   Before the Los Angeles Superior Court, a public records lawsuit against the City of Baldwin Park is presented: again.
5.                   As in the previous public records lawsuit, the same City Attorney, Joseph Pannone, is present on record: again.
6.                   As in the previous public records lawsuit, the same City Manager, Vijay Singhal (Singhal), is still overseeing public records request: again.
7.                   As in the previous public records lawsuit, the same Mayor Manuel Lozano, Council Member Marlen Garcia, Council Member Ricardo Pacheco, Council Member Susan Rubio, and Mayor Pro Tem Raquel Monica Garcia[2] are the public officials governing the City: once again.
8.                   These records were requested because the City’s Boxing Club requested $1,500 more a month from the City Council Members and Mayor because La Ciudad cut its own boxing program to the point of it being inoperable.  As a result, the boxers did investigative work and discovered rampant nepotism, unethical accounting, and various forms of illegality regarding transactions La Ciudad entered into with local businesses.  As a result, on August 19, 2013, JULIAN CASAS (CASAS) requested records concerning the rampant nepotism, unethical accounting, and illegal transactions.  And like the City of South Gate, before the prosecutors stepped in: La Ciudad, in effect, rejected all of his record requests.
9.                   JULIAN CASAS, plaintiff and head boxing coach of La Ciudad’s boxing club, petitions this Court, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 1085, Government Code § 6258 (the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”)), and Article I § 3 of the California Constitution, for a Writ of Mandate directed to Respondents City of Baldwin Park (La Ciudad) and City Manager Vijay Singal, commanding them to comply with the CPRA.
10.               The elections for the Mayor’s seat and two Council Member positions are held on November 5, 2013.
11.               These records are required before these elections, to best inform the public of the candidate’s history and reputation.
12.               The City Manager, Vijay Singhal, City Attorney Joseph Pannone, Council Member Marlen Garcia, Mayor Pro Tem Raquel Monica Garcia, and Mayor Lozano appear to be withholding these records until after the elections are over.

[1] In 2005, the Council Members and Mayor endorsed a monument that inscribed the following message for the City of Baldwin Park: “It was better before they [the whites] came.”  In August, 2013, Council Member Marlen Garcia and Mayor Manuel Lozano are still in power.  This monument also stated: “This land was Mexican once / was Indian always / and is / And will be again.”  Out of respect for calling an entity by the name it wishes to go by, This Complaint will be in compliance with the wishes of the public officials of Council Member Marlen Garcia, Council Member Mayor Pro Tem Monica Garcia, and Mayor Manuel Lozano and call The City of Baldwin Park, La Ciudad.  

Furthermore, on September 18, 2013, Council Member Marlen Garcia stated that at the City Council meeting that a member of the public was “racist” to ask public officials, who spoke with a Spanish accent to speak proper English.  Therefore, this complaint chooses to respect their wishes to honor the alleged Mexican heritage of Baldwin Park that the public officials of this city so adamantly demand.
[2] Although she is known as Council Member Monica Garcia, her christened name is Raquel Monica Garcia.

The full complaint can be downloaded here.  Law Suit Against Singhal For Public Records Act Violation

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