Friday, June 12, 2020

Baldwin Park City Council Member - Ricardo Pacheco Resigns

Baldwin Park Council Member looking angry for losing
Free Speech lawsuit
After 23 years of being an elected official, Baldwin Park Council Member Ricardo Pacheco finally resigned around June 10th, 2020. Pacheco's resignation follows an investigation that exposed him for maxing out a government credit card at strip clubs. The expose also forced him to resign at West Valley Water as assistant general manager - a position that Baldwin Park's former Chief of Police created just for him. Pacheco's tenure as council member has been marked by corruption, retaliation against Free Speech, and huge financial damage to public agencies and the places he's worked. Pacheco leaves behind a legacy of harm.

In an unprecedented lawsuit, which was adjudicated in March 26 of 2019, Pacheco cost the City over $9 million, because a jury found that he sexually and racially discriminated against the former Chief of Police - Lili Hadsell.

Pacheco also cost the City significant legal costs for retaliating against citizens for criticizing him. In his first lawsuit, he sued local businessman Greg Tuttle, who was investigating Pacheco for soliciting donations from lobbyists in Santa Barbara. The court warned him that citizens have the right to Free Speech; nonetheless, he persisted in retaliating against those who criticized him.

In his second lawsuit, Pacheco fined and enforced a collection agency against Tuttle, because he hung a sign of Pacheco depicting him as a jackass and alleging that Pacheco was corrupt. The federal court awarded damages to Tuttle, holding that Pacheco and the City's retaliation was unconstitutional.

Sign that's triggered another First Amendment Lawsuit
A third lawsuit is now pending, in which Pacheco sought criminal charges against a citizen and resident for hanging a jackass sign, alleging Pacheco to be corrupt. Pacheco also fined the citizen $12,400 for hanging this sign.

Also back in the spring of 2014, Pacheco voted to fire boxing coach Julian Casas for complaining about receiving a forty cent an hour raise, after working at the boxing gym for 20 years.

These First Amendment lawsuits have been estimated to cost the City about one million in legal costs and damages. Currently, the Mayor of Baldwin Park is alleging the city is now in a budget crisis. But Pacheco pursued these legal actions, because in his mind the taxpayers, instead of him, were paying for it. Now, the State of California's Controller's office has finished its audit and will soon release its report.

Pacheco's career history has a wake of forced resignations, in which taxpayers were seriously harmed. In 2003, Pacheco was forced to resign from the City of South Gate as city manager, after being accused of sexual harassment by an employee. The taxpayers ended up paying him $93,000 to resign, which after adjusting for inflation, is closer to a $150,000 today.

At West Valley Water, Pacheco was paid approximately over $142,000 for being forced to resign, after being exposed for using a government credit card at a strip club.

Pacheco, unemployed, in his new white Mercedes
And even though he's resigned, Pacheco and Mayor Lozano voted to have lifetime benefits for being elected officials. The estimated costs for these life time benefits is over $1.5 million to the taxpayers.

The reason for Pacheco's resignation have not been confirmed, but there have been allegations that the FBI is investigating him. Pacheco was asked if he had anything he'd like to contribute to the story and whether it was true the FBI was scrutinizing him. Pacheco provided no comment.

Pacheco's resignation announces the beginning of the end of a generation, in which Baldwin Park has suffered financial and civic harm for over twenty years. But as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

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