Thursday, November 1, 2018

City of Baldwin Park authorizes estimated $10,000 in attorney's fees to collect $6.56

Ricardo Pacheco, Monica Garcia, Manuel Lozano
(From left to right)
Mayor Manuel Lozano and Council Members Monica Garcia and Ricardo Pacheco authorized an estimated $10,000 in attorney's fees to collect $6.56. After Cook filed an unsuccessful appeal, the City, through the firm of Albright, Yee, and Schmit attempted to collect $357.16. On October 30, 2018, the trial court awarded the City $6.56, which the city disputed as unfair. The judge hammered the city, stating that their wasting attorney's fees in collecting such a small amount.

The underlying case regarded two unsuccessful appeals. The City was ordered to release records under court order called a writ. The City was shown to have lied about not releasing records, but the court excused them from releasing more. Also, attorney's fees should have been awarded, but were not. The appellate court, unfortunately, did not call on the City to release more information.

Robert Tafoya, looking shameful,
for drafting the Chief of Police's questionable contract.
As a result, Lozano and the city attorney have reflected a retaliatory attitude. In an email dated on August 16, 2018 - the City Attorney wrote - "I beat you down, you appealed, and lost again, and now I am collecting fees and costs against you for Baldwin Park. I understand why you are so bitter." Well, congratulations to the City for spending wasteful thousands of dollars to get a judgment for $6.56.

Unfortunately, the problem with the vindictive and retaliatory attitude of the Mayor and the City Attorney is that they're spending other people's money and not their own. At some point - that's bound to run out. In short, it's a lot of money to spend to try to get even, especially when the City is running a potential deficit of $14.5 million this year.

Clifton Albright
Baldwin Park's poor judgment, however, reflects a bigger problem with government, attorneys, and the sordid relationship between the two. The Tafoya firm was accused of billing fraud of $127,000. Since being city attorney, Tafoya has charged about $400,000 every year since he's been city attorney of Baldwin Park. Hiring someone to be an in-house city attorney should only cost $120,000 a year, especially for a small city.

We should all be asking: How much of this money is going back to the Mayor and council members?

The City has yet to disclose how much it's spent on the Albright firm's billing. Yet, we do know that their billing specialist is an ex-convict, who has scammed victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The City of South Gate also sued the firm to recover $1.8 million from it. Albright claims that the double billing was often an "accident". Perhaps, Albright is willing to engage in this behavior, because he's over-leveraged all his properties and owes quite a bit of money on all his real estate throughout the United States.

In any event, the City's bitter defeat is a win for the people - especially because it exposes their wastefulness and nastiness. The real problem in our democracy is that we can no longer hold these people accountable and get rid of them from office.

I'd like to end with the words of Aleksander Solzhenitsyn again: “You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”


  1. Tafoya is also mentioned in this article:

  2. Here is another article about former Baldwin Park City Attorney Robert Tafoya and Baldwin Park's former Police Chief Michael Taylor at the West Valley Water District: