|Raquel "Monica" Garcia accepts|
thousands from loan sharks, fraudsters,
drug dealers, and disbarred attorneys.
(C) San Gabriel Valley Tribune
According to the LA Times, after already being disbarred, Paguirigan was sentenced to three years in prison for misrepresenting herself as an attorney in good standing, which she did in order to defraud 11 victims of $32,000. In total, she stole $320,000. Prior to this conviction, the California Supreme Court summarily disbarred Paguirigan for forging a witnesses' signature in a criminal case. The disbarred attorney was also convicted of embezzlement.
Nonetheless, the disbarment didn't stop Paguirigan from profiting in corrupt politics. Around 2003, even after disbarment, Paguirigan worked for the Treasurer of South Gate, Albert Robles - who was also later convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. The LA Times alleges that during this period, Paguirigan, as a litigation consultant, billed the City of South Gate $350,000 in a year.
According to the LA Times, the FBI raided the Albright firm for over billing the City of South Gate in the millions. The City of South Gate sought to recover $.18 million from the Albright firm. During this time, Council Member Ricardo Pacheco was working as the director of the Public Works Department, until he was forced to resign because of allegations of harassment.
The question remains: Why would such a criminal, skilled in the craft of embezzlement and fraud, give so much money to Garcia? There are perhaps two reasons, and both of them follow the Watergate Proverb: "Follow the money."
(1) Did Paguirigan's law firm, which gave $8,800 (including Paguirigan's contribution) to Garcia, reap a benefit?
(2) Did Garcia vote to give the marijuana business, who work with Paguirigan's consulting firm, the Jade Effect LLC, marijuana licenses? (According to the California Secretary of State, Paguirigan is the designated agent of the Jade Effect.)
Both options make it appear that Garcia's vote is available to anybody who is willing to pay.
Regarding the first point, in 2017, the City of Baldwin Park paid Albright, Yee, & Schmit at least $206,458.20. The bulk of the law firm's work has been to restrict the rights of citizens from engaging in Free Speech. It has also defended the city from being transparent by preventing the release of records. Nonetheless, the federal court has obviously held, contrary to the city's undemocratic position, that signs depicting politicians as corrupt donkeys is Free Speech under the First Amendment.
Regarding the second point, around December 14, 2017, the Jade Effect received a benefit from the City of Baldwin Park when it awarded marijuana licenses to the three associated businesses that purchase the Jade Effect's services. According to city staff (who wish to remain unidentified), the three businesses awarded marijuana licenses in connection with Jade Effect are RD Baldwin Park; Cloud Control, Inc.; and Medical Grade Farms BP. In doing so, the circumstantial evidence suggest that Paguirigan was the middle women who negotiated licenses for these businesses for a profit.
Hence, it suggests that Monica only casted her vote for these businesses in exchange for Paguirigan's generous campaign contribution. This is consistent with the fact that Garcia has received money from other marijuana businesses, all of which have also received her vote to be granted a marijuana license. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Garcia received money from a business partner in RUKLI, Inc. Rukli was also conveniently granted a marijuana license and sole distribution rights of marijuana in the City of Baldwin Park.
After being confronted about whether she was bribed, Garcia responded by saying that such allegations are all "politically motivated." In fact, she maintains that her vote is what she believes is "in the best interest of my community[.]"
In any event, Garcia only appears to be following in the wake of Baldwin Park's Chief of Police, Michael Taylor, who also received at least $17,000 in drug money to fund his campaign to become a public official on the West Valley Water Board. In fact, Garcia and Taylor both received campaign contributions from the same donor: Sharon Bertshatski of RUKLI, Inc. Currently, investigations are showing that Taylor's tale to office is looking more like the Rampart Scandal, only here a Chief of Police rises to fame by being funded by drug money.
But we can't lose sight of the forest. The greater scandal here may be the fact that Garcia may be running a scam election. According to Mike Eng's website, Garcia supports Mike Eng, her competitor, for state senate. Why then is she running against him?
Garcia may be using the state senate race to collect campaign donations, of which she has already collected $70,550**. Then after dropping out early, Garcia would have a new boon of $70,550 dollars to spend by herself; for herself. The senate race would then be a front and channel for Garcia to raise money for two types of favors - those that need to be done and those that have already been done.
Really, Garcia's dark economic transactions, evidenced in her campaign contributions, expose a more global problem - which is the brokenness and undemocratic character of our political and economic system. Our elected representatives are meant to make decisions that are supposed to be in the best interest of the citizen majority, which is why democracy is promoted to be "For the people, by the people." But here, it looks like such decisions are easily bought from politicians in order serve the highest bidder, which comes at the cost of the majority and their hard earned tax money.
Nevertheless, Garcia refuses to step down as a city council member. Instead, as a result of becoming more unpopular with the citizens of Baldwin Park, Garcia has resorted to repressive measures to silence dissenters, especially those who attempt to dispel her image as a naive and innocent political player. Feeling threatened by the increasing exposure of her corruption, Garcia filed a lawsuit to shut up one of her most vocal critics, local business owner and race car hobbyist, Greg Tuttle.
Garcia alleged that it was a life threatening emergency to obtain a restraining order because Tuttle was apparently writing that Garcia has sex with her dog. Garcia told the court that her life was also threatened because Tuttle was also calling her "Honey" and "Political Prostitute." (Unbelievable as it sounds, this really is a true story.)
The court, however, denied Garcia's order and found her to be "unreasonable."
Tuttle stated, "I never wrote that she [Garcia] has sex with her dog. I did call her a Political Prostitute, though. She takes money from anyone for anything. And yes, in my book, that makes her a Political Prostitute." (Perhaps it's prescient that Tuttle stated all this almost a year and a half before Garcia filed her campaign contribution form.)
To further soil her reputation for uncleanliness, Tuttle says that Monica is unhygienic. He alleges that Monica doesn't shower before council meetings. Tuttle stated, "She had a funky smell in one of these council meetings. She definitely didn't shower before coming in. It could make you throw up."
John Rios, another critic of Garcia, was also present at the council meeting that day and confirmed smelling an awful odor coming from her.
It begs the question: Does something smell rotten in Baldwin Park?
Garcia's campaign contribution forms for California Senate of 2018 seems to suggest so. In fact, Garcia's forms look more like the black book of the criminal underworld - comprised of world class fraudsters, drug dealers, and loan sharks. Unfortunately, Monica Garcia's life drives home the bleak point: Only in crime, prostitution, and politics does one need to take money from anybody to make a living.
*Cristeta Paguirigan also goes by Klaparda and Criseta Paguirigian-Summers. It is well known that multiple aliases are used by career criminals.
**This sum excludes the money Garcia loaned herself.