Friday, September 11, 2015

Court Calls Sheriffs on City Attorney For Threats Made

Yesterday, the court clerk called the sheriff after Robert Tafoya, City Attorney for Baldwin Park, threatened to strike the Petitioner's attorney outside in the court hallways. Who knew a dispute over released records could explode into a violent outburst?

Julian Casas, former boxing coach who was fired from the City, filed an emergency petition with the court yesterday because the City of Baldwin Park violated the court order to release records. This is the second injunction Casas has won against the City of Baldwin Park - and still, the City refuses to release documents.

The order commands the City to disclose financial documents received by the City's Parks and Recreation Director, Manuel Carrillo Jr., certifications for a life guard's job application, and bills paid and received by Royal Coaches Towing.

To dispute the allegations against the City, Robert Tafoya came into court, hobbling on crutches. At the hearing, Paul Cook, the attorney for Casas, accused Robert Tafoya of making up new dates in violation of the court order, then trying to force Casas to meet in the police interrogation room to review records, and then ultimately not releasing records. After being exposed, Tafoya became enraged as it was done in open court.

The judge ordered parties to meet outside because Tafoya alleged that the City had the documents to be released. There, Casas attorney stated to him, "Nothing in that box has Robert Hernandez's certifications." At that point, Tafoya dropped his crutches, ran a number of steps, lunged at Cook and stated he was going to hit him if he didn't leave him alone. It appears that the crutches weren't really needed, and that they were being used as a ruse to make the court feel sorry for him.

Tafoya ordered Cook to stay in the courtroom, or else he was going to tell the judge that Cook was harassing him. To be reasonable, Mr. Cook gave Tafoya his space.

Nonetheless, midway through another hearing, the judge interrupted his own hearing and asked why Cook was not outside with Tafoya. After explaining to the judge what happened, the court called the sheriffs on Mr. Tafoya to oversee the meet and confer outside.

Outside of the hallway, Tafoya produced no documents that were responsive to the court order. The parties reentered the courtroom and each disputed whether responsive records were released.

The court stated if Casas still didn't receive records, he could file another motion to have the city sanctioned $100 per day, until the city released the documents.

Casas and Cook believe that the city won't release documents or not admit they don't have them because it proves misconduct regarding the city. Regarding the life guard's certification, it's appearing more and more that the Director of Parks and Recreation hired a lifeguard on the sole basis that he was a council member's son and that that son had some type of history that would otherwise bar him from such a job. It's appearing more and more that the Director of Parks and Recreation took the money collected from the city's recreation programs and did not deposit them in the city bank account. It's appearing more and more that the towing company Royal Coaches misreported on the money owed to the city and directed it elsewhere.

Cook's thoughts are this: "The law is so broken regarding the Public Records Act. What can the people do when foxes are guarding the chicken coop?"

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