Wednesday, December 18, 2013

City Manager Caught Forging The Budget

On Monday, December 18, 2013 Craig Graves, interim finance director, revealed that former City Manager Vijay Singhal defrauded the citizens of Baldwin Park by forging the budget.

Under the command of the Garcia-Lozano regime, which was led by the ex-Council Member Marlen Garcia, Singhal demanded that Graves "cook the book," otherwise known in the industry as "creative accounting."  The previous finance director resigned after a small business owner threatened to report her to the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Board for forging documents.

As a result, Singhal learned his lesson and this time hired a finance director who didn't have a CPA license.  This way, there was no way he could fear losing something he didn't have.

The phony budget and the actual one both showed that the City of Baldwin Park is losing one and a half million dollars a year; every year.  A big portion of that cost comes from the large management team salaries and two lawsuits the City was held liable for: a breach of contract claim by the Hilton Hotels and a business tort claim by the City of Rosemead.

The Singhal version of the budget, however, lied about a key fact.  The Lozano-Garcia regime stated that the Police Department cost $21 million a year.  In contrast, the Sheriffs department cost $17 million a year.  Therefore, as the propaganda went: the City would save $4 million a year in costs that it so desperately needed.

Really, the Baldwin Park Police Department cost $17 million a year.  Singhal increased the cost of the police on paper by adding $980,000 of cost from Community Development, which is responsible for animal control and street crossings.  He then added in another $3 million dollars of the retirement payout of former police officers that the City is responsible for.

What Singhal and the Lozano-Garcia regime didn't state was that the City would still be responsible for the $3 million dollars, which it owes in retirement benefits, even if it fired all the police officers and replaced them with the Sheriffs.  The other million would still have to be paid, even with the Sheriffs, because it's a community development cost and not a police-associated one.  Therefore, bringing in the Sheriffs would result in a net savings of nothing.

Sadly, ex-Council Member Marlen Garcia, Mayor Manuel Lozano, and Council Member Raquel Monica Garcia directed Singhal to lie about the law enforcement cost to rid themselves of the police.

To validate the lie, Singhal outsourced the Vasquez account firm, which the City paid $21,000 to during June to July.  Singhal also published the budget in September, when it was due in July.  Therefore, the budget was three months late.  The actual figures only took only three days to compile and present.

Mayor Lozano and the two Garcia Council Members misrepresented these facts to the citizens of Baldwin Park.  Thus, when the actual figures were presented, Mayor Lozano and Council Member Garcia said almost nothing.  Instead, Raquel Garcia buried her face behind her notebook computer.  And Lozano constantly looked at text messages, which told him what to say to calm the public's anger. 

The underlying reason for "cooking the books" is that the regime was attempting to bust the police association, which held it accountable by speaking out against its illegal and self-dealing decisions by picketing, protesting, and asking questions about them.  The Lozano-Garcia regime has eliminated almost all organizations that have challenged its power.  It stole the sports programs from the Boys and Girls Club, refused to appropriate money to the Chambers of Commerce, and aired its propaganda through the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

In defense of Singhal, the Mayor stated that former CEO amassed $7 million in reserves.  This too was a lie.  One, it is only $5.2 million.  And two,  the ex-CEO did so by confiscating these funds by not depositing them into employees' pension accounts.

Now that the truth has been revealed, the City will have to recover from being inflicted by Lozano-Garcia Disease.  The primary symptom is that they've run out of other people's money.  The secondary symptom is that the community has incurred great harm for the benefit of the three people who have used their public office to enrich themselves individually: Manuel Lozano, Raquel Garcia, and Marlen Garcia.

No comments:

Post a Comment