Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hawthorne Mayor Chris Brown: Ethically Challenged

Hawthorne, CA has witnessed two mayors in a row stepping down from reelection following criminal behavior.

Larry Guidi stole a food mixer from the Hawthorne School District. He plead to a misdemeanor, which will be expunged following community service.

Danny Juarez, Guidi's successor, also plead guilty to campaign funds mismanagement.

Now there's Chris Brown, who is already in arrears on two apartments he rented. Evicted out of the first apartment, Brown is delinquent on his rent for the second apartment.

This financial  mismanagement is the tip of the corruption ice berg.

The Daily Breeze reports:

Encouraging new business was one of Chris Brown’s pledges when he campaigned for mayor of Hawthorne.

Voters may not have expected him to take quite so much business elsewhere — in the form of airline fares and hotel stays with expensive room service and restaurant and bar tabs.

The city of Hawthorne has spent more than $22,000 in the past 16 months on Brown’s airline and hotel bills, according to a Daily Breeze review of expense records. Brown, elected mayor in November 2013 and up for re-election this fall, has traveled just about every month since he was sworn in, often flying off multiple times in a month.

Hawthorne Mayor Chris Brown

$22,000 over the past year and a half?

All the travels were paid on a city credit card in City Manager Michael Goodson’s name, and all were approved by Goodson.

For the record, the city council removed Michael Goodson. How can they blame the city manager alone?

Mayor Brown spent $234 on food and drinks during a July 24 stay at Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. He gobbled up more than $200 worth of sushi while staying at the W Hotel in New York Oct. 29-31 — one of several trips for which no official reason is recorded in city expense reports. This mayor, a first-time officeholder who lost a bid for a Los Angeles City Council seat in 2011, knows how to live — on the people’s dime.

Brown organized a trip to meet with federal officials about Hawthorne transportation and infrastructure projects, he was joined by Councilwoman Angie English, several staff members and a lobbyist. The tab for Hawthorne taxpayers was $12,000, according to city staff.

$12,000 to drum up business for Hawthorne. Yes, the city's money is generating business outside of the city, no question about it. I wonder how many lawyers and state prosecutors are going to get business out of the financial shenanigans from Hawthorne's mayor, too.

Brown even spent $641 on a two-night stay at Hyatt The Pike Long Beach last June.

The money Hawthorne taxpayers have spent to send the mayor gallivanting around exceeds by a couple of grand the $20,000 they spent to upgrade his office at City Hall.
“Wasteful spending, fraud and abuse can be dramatically minimized and in some cases eliminated,” Brown wrote in response to Daily Breeze questions when he was a candidate.

. . . .

Brown was evicted from his home in 2014 and ordered to pay $10,000 in back rent. And he has not paid rent since November at the luxury condominium where he now lives, where the landlord is seeking $17,500 in back rent and damages. California Republic Bank filed a court case in February to recover nearly $20,000 loaned to Brown, and allegedly the mayor has stiffed campaign consultants and Surf Air.

Brown is more of a dead-beat than stiffing landlords. How much more will he stiff taxpayers before they vote him out?

Those personal matters are not related to Brown’s official duties, but they paint a picture of a man too ethically challenged to hold public office.

City residents have already called for Brown to step down.

A city councilmember called Brown "silly" and unprofessional. The allegations of misuse of funds, his own and other people's, suggest "sneaky" and "slick" as well.

City residents protested the mayor outside of city hall, and the council meeting was cancelled. The sudden calling off did not stop the residents from picketing and demanding the mayor's resignation.

Only Alex Vargas and Nilo Michelin
showed up to the suddenly cancelled
city council meeting

What will it take for Hawthorne voters to get their act together and get a better mayor and city council into office?

No comments:

Post a Comment