Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Can Cities Run Sham Nonprofit Corporations? Julian Casas Files Petition in the California Supreme Court

California Supreme Court, San Francisco, CA
After the Court of Appeal rejected reviewing Casas' appeal in his second California Public Records Act lawsuit against the City of Baldwin Park, Casas filed a petition to the California Supreme Court on March 6, 2017 for the Court to review his case. (Bit late in reporting with all that's been going on: Casas argued orally in front of the Court of Appeal last week with his first case. Nonetheless this is still an important issue.)

Here is a summary of the facts. Casas caught Manuel Carrillo, the Director of Parks and Recreation, collecting money from businesses all over the City. Then, at the end of the year, Carrillo would hold an event called Santa Clothes for poor children, in which he purchased tens of thousands of dollars of Walmart gift cards.

When Casas asked for the name of the children, Carrillo provided what looked like a fake list of children's names. So, Casas asked for more records to validate their existence. Carrillo then didn't respond to the record requests. So, Casas sued him and the City of Baldwin Park.

The City dragged out the lawsuit for two and a half years with frivolous motions, trying to wear Casas out of time and money. Casas didn't give up.

But before trial, the City then admitted to not having any records. Hence, the City finally confessed that Manny Carrillo can't account for all the tens of thousands of dollars (if not hundreds of thousands of dollars) of money. Where did it all go?

Is this why Carrillo fired Julian, after giving him a forty cent an hour raise and a stellar performance review?

So, Casas filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, which already stated earlier, that Casas was onto something with the City's misconduct. Casas argued that he should've won the case, because even though the City doesn't have records, the City should've stated that at the beginning of the lawsuit and not dragged it out for two and a half years. Also, the City is still stating that the school district has records, and if the City is going to state that, it needs to help Casas understand how the City has this kind of knowledge.

Does it make any sense that the City won this lawsuit, when at trial, two and a half years after the lawsuit started, it just says: Sorry, we don have any records?

In any event, the appellate court denied his request for even a review. That was disappointing.

For this reason, Casas wrote in his Supreme Court petition that such a denial enabled the City to create "the perpetual unaccountability machine," by using shell alter ego corporations.

Although the City was forced to dissolve it's forty-year-old nonprofit corporation, the City Manager Shannon Yauchtzee and Manuel Carrillo, under the control of Manuel Lozano, just started up a new nonprofit called the Baldwin Park Charitable Relief Fund. Like ghouls and zombies, sham nonprofits can also be undead beings that come back from the grave and can't be killled (one reason that they're not people, like us).

What all this means is that the City can lie, cheat, and steal through its shell corporations and never be held accountable for such misconduct; this is precisely one of the reasons that a good number of people were upset with the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizen's United, which held that corporations are people too. In simpler English: In using sham nonprofits, governments can do whatever they want, and we can't do anything to stop them.

(I have an analogy for my generation on alter ego nonprofits. Do you remember playing Legend of Zelda? One of my favorite video games. (I used to be called Nintendo Boy at one point.) Remember, the evil boss was Gannon, the evil pig-wizard. Gannon had two personas, the wizard-Gannon and the Pig-Gannon, the latter was his real self. Now imagine that the Wizard self is really a ghost; so, attacking it doesn't really hurt the real boss.

Well - that's how it works folks. When you attack the shell, it doesn't really hurt the people controlling the shell. That's why all these public officials featured in the Panama Papers, like Iceland's former prime minister, revel in shell corporations; it protects their identity, while they commit evil against us.)

Back to the case. Well, the appellate court's denial of review forced Casas to appeal his case to the California Supreme Court. Now, I'm not holding my breath on this one.

In the fiscal year of 2012 to 2013, the Supreme Court granted 32 petitions for review out of 1,108 petitions. That's only 2.8%. (Do you think lightning will strike in the same place twice?)

In any event, I wanted to let the people know that I wrote the best petition I could for the Supreme Court. I also believe I've done everything I could for this case, and in many ways, I've brought it to the people's attention that it's illegal for a public agency to run a nonprofit corporation and to spend taxpayer money to run and defend such a corporation, which really is just a malignant cancerous growth. (The effects are profound, like having cancer, which forms it's own life and parasitic agenda, ultimately leadings to the death of the host organism.)

The City, through its attorney, Robert Tafoya (also known as Robert Nacionales-Tafoya), had this to say about the lawsuit: "You have lost every appeal ever taken and you have lost every CPRA filed against the City while I was City Attorney. But, keep filing and I will keep defending and we will see how that works out for you."

I have to say: I'm very disappointed with not only the City's misconduct but the results of exposing everything - which seems to be that governments can harm us and not be called out on it. Casas also had a response: "We expect people [including public officials] to behave with respect and courtesy. But when they don't, isn't that why we have law?"

Such sentiments were also echoed by the exiled Russian Nobel Laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "It is time in the West to defend not so much human rights as human obligations."


  1. Dear Paul~I realize this would alter your schedule but I think you should seriously consider changing Baldwin Park from the inside. With a lengthy campaign (starting now), you could easily apply your talents to becoming known to regular voters who don't read the papers/internet. The rest know you. Run for city council. With the rapidly rising Asian population here, you would gain additional votes. Your third vote on the council (along with Rubio and Baca) would effectively neuter Lozano and Garcia. Pacheco will be out soon for his corruption. This would totally change the direction of Baldwin Park for the better. The three of you could pass all sorts of ordinances banning the practices you have been fighting in the courts for several years. The phony shell corporation could be ended. Election counting practices could be made more honest. The possibilities for cleaning up the corruption in this town are endless. I'm positive Rubio and Baca would support this. Anyway, don't decide now but please think strongly about it. But should you decide to run, start campaigning immediately, don't wait until a few months before the election. Good luck in your efforts for a government for the people.

  2. Hi Mr or Mrs. X.,

    Thanks for your suggestion, but I think I want to get as far away from American politics as possible. I'm going to do all I can here to expose Gang of Three here and their henchmen and women, but after that, I need to change occupations.

    I doubt I really want to work with Rubio sisters either. Where was she when Julian got fired? But they take, when they need. What really needs to happen in this City is another trial, like Bell, that exposes the truth about all that's happened here.

    I've been offered a job to teach in South America; or to teach executives in China; or become a Member of Parliament in New Zealand. All these options are far more preferable than working with the crooks in politics here.


    1. Well, you could do this best from the inside since you've worked all the other options. If you recall, at the time of the terrible wronging of yourself and Julian, it seems Susan was dealing with Roger which was hellish for her, so she was unable to help. No one says you have to finish the full term--people leave for all sorts of good reasons. But, wouldn't it be nice to clean up the city and get rid of the corrupt in BP (including Tafoya and both Mannys)? However, you'd need to get out the message door-to-door. Hard to imagine anything being more satisfying after what you and Julian have been through.

  3. PS: Although this case may not have worked out, I wanted to thank everyone involved, especially Julian, who lost his job over this case. I learned a lot, and even though the courts didn't provide adequate relief in it, I can only hope that all the work and all the blood, sweat, and tears cost in exposing Manny Carrillo's corruption will not be in vain.