How do we not cry about the abuse of taxpayer monies… Even our forefathers would find this unacceptable..
The Police Asset Forfeiture Fund (Equitable Sharing) is a restricted fund and has very clear guidelines on its intended purpose. Losing this fund couild be devastating to the Riverside Police Department. I question Ms. Aquino’s motives. Are you protecting the taxpayer? or is this personal?
In June of 2010 Dvonne P., Mary S. and Irma F. went to visit Ms. Aquino to question the use or misuse of the Police Asset Forfeiture (PAF) Fund. Her comment at the time was there is not any abuse in this department. Ms. Aquino directed them to look at Public Utilities.
On or about July 2010 we received the PAF Fund detailed accounting and audits from 2006 to 2009; 2010 was not available at the time, we now have 2010. The misuse of the PAF Fund has been ongoing in the City of Riverside since I’ve began studying Equitable Sharing. I took my concerns to the City Council, the District Attorney Paul Zellerbach, the Grand Jury and Councilman Paul Davis. All of which disregarded our complaint.
Here are some of the questionable items we found that were paid from the fund:
1. Running gear for officers to compete in the Baker to Vegas run (tennis shoes)
2. Payments to Connie Leach, the then Police Chief’s wife
3. Payments to the Multi-Cultural Youth Festival- Connie Leach’s youth program.
4. Al Johnson Florist
5. A birthday cake
6. Canyon Crest Cleaners- Russell Leach had his uniform cleaned, couldn’t he pay his own $8.00?
7. Hotel visits to the Ritz Carlton, $400 a night for Leach and Gonzales.
8. Office furniture which totaled $100, 000.00
9. Dell Computers for the Magnolia Police Station, $200,000.00
10. Lunch, lunch and more lunch for Leach and his friendemies.
Ms. Aquino knew over 3 years ago RPD management was misusing PAF Funds. The incident with John De La Rosa, the Baker to Vegas Run, happened November 2009. Why didn’t she alert the media then? Why now?
When Russ Leach wanted to pay his wife, go out to lunch, get his uniform cleaned, buy a birthday cake and stay at the Ritz Carlton, this was acceptable. When Vicino wants to go out to lunch and golfing it’s not acceptable. When your job is safe and secure it’s acceptable to turn your head at the misuse of Police Assett Forfeiture Fund and say or do nothing. When you’re placed on adminstrative leave it’s not acceptable to misuse these funds. You cannot have it both ways Ms. Aquino. Were you a willing partcipant or a victim?
I’m going to speculate what will be coming next from Ms. Aquino. There will probably be a tort claim filed, including all the malfeasance in RPD. It will surely contain all the bells and whistles which we’ve been saying for years. There probably will be a multi-million dollar law suit against the taxpayers of the City of Riverside. I will say this again, are you protecting the taxpayer or is this personal.
To be continued….
HUSH MONEY PART 2
Telling the story of how this all began is an important one in order to understand why I have made the very important decision to run for the position of Mayor, Dvonne Pitruzzello, for the City of Riverside. Approximately two years ago I attended a city council meeting and a friend told me about the city manager and his $50,000.00 discretionary spending. It seems that the City of Riverside’s then city manager Bradley J. Hudson had an open checkbook to spend our money with no council approval. For those of you who know me, you also know that this would be something that I would find unacceptable. So I requested that the city council put a mechanism in place to not only track his spending but to have it reported and approved by the city council. A quarterly reporting would suffice. Alas, my curiosity got to me. I wondered just how much Mr. Hudson had spent and even more, what had Mr. Hudson spent our money on. Now the journey begins.
After sifting thorough thousands of pages of documents I kept finding reoccurring expenses. Connie Leach, Ironwood Construction, Provider Food Service, etc., etc., Thus began my relationship with the California Public Records Act. You see all documents, except attorney client privilege documents are public records and must be given to those who request these documents, for a fee or course. I’ll save the details of the power of the public records request act for another posting. My first public records request act was for several items that kept revealing themselves in Brad Hudson’s discretionary spending. Over 200 million dollars in less than five years. WOW! And our city council current and former gave Mr. Hudson a blank check to spend our money. So how did this all happen, was Hudson qualified? or was he as rumored, just a shoe in by the Tavaglione family?
But onward, I was not able to conquer all of this information single handedly, no, I had help, a few close friends that had been victims of the cities oppressive policies. Many meals around the table and later it was decided that the Connie Leach expenditures were extremely suspicious. Also take note that the amount of spending that had occurred was so disturbing I could not walk away. Approximately 200 million dollars in less than 5 years, what kind of city council would allow this? Now that’s a lot of tax money. We wanted to find out exactly why this, “Blank check of trust” was given to a man who had a criminal record, but was hired by the city council and mayor regardless.
Our quest had deepened and we began to get our feet wet investigating the expenditures of Connie Leach. Our lead investigator on the case Vivian Moreno worked tirelessly for months to help us understand why the then police chief’s wife Connie Leach had been paid in excess of $600,00.00, as a consultant to the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. You see, when I, Dvonne Pitruzzello, was employed with the city and worked under Mayor Loveridge I did the same job for free. As a part-time employee I assumed the duties associated with the Youth Advisory Council. During my departure Connie Leach had approached the Mayor and stated that she would like to volunteer with children. I thought, what a great opportunity for the youth council to have a high profile person giving credibility to their council. It was to my dismay to find out less than a year after I left, Connie Leach began to receive payment(s) for her volunteer work. Doubly dismayed because we already had in place a Youth Action Office where these duties should have been assumed by the director, not Mrs. Leach, to pay someone else to do the job was again, unacceptable.
On to what we found. Contracts for over $300,000.00 and the remaining $300,000.00 were for various items paid for on behalf of the Youth Multicultural Festival, for which Mrs. Leach was a consultant also. Connie Leach did have a business license on file with the City of Riverside, Impact Consulting, both she and her then husband Chief of Police Russell Leach signed the business tax license. The question was, if Mrs. Leach collected donations from the community then why were these funds deposited into the general fund and not in a separate fund for specific expenditures for the Youth Multicultural Festival? By the way Mrs. Leach’s contracts were paid from the Parks and Recreation budget, the Economic Development budget, Development Department, etc. Depositing these funds properly would have been as simple as depositing them into the International Relations Council’s, non-profit account, Youth Multi-Cultural Festival, a perfect place for these donations. Of course everything would have been on the up and up if this had occurred……Nevertheless, it did not happen. When Mrs. Leach got paid for every taco she ever ate, and every cola she ever drank from Jack-in-the-Box, our suspicions grew ever greater. We asked for every check and/or wire transfer that was distributed to Connie Leach from the City of Riverside, and here is what we found.
Connie Leach had been paid $35,000.00 from police asset forfeiture funds, these are extremely restricted federal funds and can only be used for the sole purpose of gang or drug intervention programs. These funds under the supervision of her then police chief husband had been distributed to Connie Leach for her consulting fee as the advisor for the Youth Multicultural Festival. A grand jury report had been filed, but funny it seems that the person most likely to be interviewed, Ms. Moreno who did all of the investigation was never interviewed. Approximately two weeks after the grand jury served a subpoena on the City of Riverside for five years of police asset forfeiture records the complaint was dismissed, no reason given. Wow, how did the grand jury read all of of those documents in such a short time frame?
Let’s move on. Connie Leach was reimbursed for party hats from the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, we know how much students love these hats. She also had several parties at her house to reward the students for their hard work with all kinds of fancy cheeses and appetizers, students can’t resist the delicious Danish havarti cheese, these were receipts from Ralph’s grocery store. $300,00.00 dollars later, even though she only collected $100,00.00 in donations, our former CFO/Treasurer Paul Sundeen stated in a finance committee meeting that Connie Leach had done a great job and deserved every penny that we paid her. Shortly thereafter, his bound contract to the City of Riverside was found to be illegal, and he then faded away into the darkness of the Riverside sunset.
CONTRACT 1: AGREEMENT DATE AUGUST 30, 2004: FOR PRO CONSULT SERVICES RIVERSIDE YOUTH COUNCIL: AUGUST 30, 2004 TO APRIL 1, 2005 HOURLY RATE $50/HR NOT TO EXCEED 20K
CONTRACT AMENDMENT 1: AGREEMENT DATE JULY 22, 2005 (AMENDMENT OF JULY 1,2004 TO APRIL 1, 2005/ WITH EXTENTION TO JUNE 30,2005 CONTRACT ) AMEND TO JULY 1, 2005 TO DECEMBER 31, 2005: INCREASE BY 5K TO TOTAL 25K (PAY $25/HR)
CONTRACT 2: AGREEMENT DATE JANUARY 9, 2006: FOR CONSULTANT SERVICES APRIL 23, 2006 MULTI CULTURAL YOUTH FESTIVAL JANUARY 9, 2006 TO MAY 1, 2006 (NOT TO EXCEED 15K)
CONTRACT AMENDMENT 2: AGREEMENT DATE FEBRUARY 8, 2006 (AMENDMENT OF JULY 1,2004 TO APRIL 1, 2005/ WITH EXTENTION TO DECEMBER 30,2005 CONTRACT ) AMEND FROM DECEMBER 31, 2005 TO JUNE30, 2006 INCREASE BY 25K TO A TOTAL OF 50K
CONTRACT 3: AGREEMENT DATE JUNE 30, 2006: FOR CONSULTANT SERVICES AS YOUTH COUNCIL ADVISOR JUNE 30, 2006 TO JUNE 30, 2007 NOT TO EXCEED 50K (PAYMENT MADE BASED ON RECEIPT OF INVOICE)
CONTRACT 4: AGREEMENT DATE JUNE 30, 2006: CONSULTANT FOR APRIL 29, 2007 MULTICULTURAL YOUTH FESTIVAL : NOT TO EXCEED 35K (PAYMENTS MADE BASED ON RECEIPT OF INVOICE)
CONTRACT 5: AGREEMENT DATE JUNE 30, 2007: FOR PRO CONSULT SERVICES FOR APRIL 27, 2008 MULTI CULTURAL YOUTH FESTIVAL: NOT TO EXCEED 42.5K (PAYMENTS MADE BASED ON RECEIPT OF INVOICE)
CONTRACT 6: AGREEMENT DATE JUNE 30, 2007: FOR PRO CONSULT SERVICES FOR YOUTH COUNCIL PROJECT: JULY 1, 2007 TO JUNE 30, 2008 HOURLY RATE $75/HR NOT TO EXCEED 50K
CONTRACT 7: AGREEMENT DATE MAY 5, 2008: FOR CONSULTANT SERVICE FOR RIVERSIDE YOUTH COUNCIL FEBRUARY 16, 2008 TO MAY 16, 2008 HOURLY RATE $75/HR NOT TO EXCEEDD $9,750
In 2008, a PE news release on 05/07 stated she was resigning 05/16. Connie Leach receives a contract for $9,750.00 on 05/08, in lieu that knowingly, the event would be canceled. Regardless if the Council or Mayor knew, they are responsible legally and managerably, regardless of the actions of the City Attorney Gregory Priamos and Former City Manager Brad Hudson. Well, regarding the DA, we get it he is a very busy man.. The Riverside Grand Jury…found no basis, during an incomplete investigation, while awaiting public records on asset forfeiture documents. The City, the judges, the grand jury and the DA’s office simply found nothing responsive to the documents. Zellerbach simply told us, “Is it illegal, or just bad business?” Well we were hoping you know Mr. Zellerbach…afterall you are the Big Kahuna.. This leaves many questions of why was a blog site targeted as opposed to the questions, documents and facts brought forward to your office. Questions of your association with the Grand Jury, City of Riverside officials, Judges etc. Why Mr. Zellerbach was it important to your office that a file on Thirty Miles of Corruption was created? Were you worried that your decision on the Karen Wright arrest could possibly change how the Riverside Police Officer’s Association would view you?
The bottom line is, in an article in the San Diego North County Times, San Diego Police said there was sufficient evidence to charge then City of Riverside Chief of Police Russ Leach with battery and they then fowarded the this case to the San Diego City Attorney’s Office for further investigation.
After all is said an done we find that Connie Leach now resides in the Carribean. What secrets does Carribean Connie know regarding RPD, Police Asset Forfeiture and her prior employment with the City of Riverside and the activities of her Ex-Husband Chief Russell Leach? How much did prior Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge know about all this? Possibly plenty?
When brought to the attention of the Grand Jury, the item in question was squashed. When brought to Big Kahuna himself, Paul Zellerbach, his assistant was more focused on who was behind the infamous blog site, Thirty Miles of Corruption. They themselve had a file of copies of each and every article written. When asked with the evidence brought forward to Paul, he only stated, “Is this bad business? Needless to say, our Grand Jury complaint was dismissed with out completely interviewing all the complainants under the watchful eye of Paul Zellerbach.
NEW PE ARTICLE REGARDING POLICE ASSET FORFEITURE AND RPD. MORE COMING UP ON KAREN AQUINO AND NEW ACCUSATIONS REGARDING RPD. POSSIBLY A LITTLE LATE MS. AQUINO? EVEN WHEN WE ASKED YOU FOR YOUR HELP? DIDN’T YOU KNOW ALL ALONG? YOU KEPT IT UNDER WRAPS SO LONG…WHY BRING IT OUT NOW MS. AQUINO? TMC KNEW ALL ALONG… GOOD LUCK ON THIS ONE DANUTA, WE WILL BE THERE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.
Karen Aquino, Police Administrative Service Manager for RPD
…Aquino has always been a strong advocate for following the established rules and procedures for asset forfeitures, knowing that they have very specific purposes and that she would be the first person blamed if any findings were made in an audit… – Attorney Danuta W. Tuszynska
Attorney Danuta W. Tuszynska
These were Federal Funds and should have also been sent to the DOJ.. Okay Danuta, what now? How does this protect the taxpayer when your client may have possibly known all along the rules and law of Federal Asset Forfeiture? Again is this Personal or in the Best Interest of the Taxpayer? Or in the Best Interest of an Opportunity? Again, contact TMC with your dirt at THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM
TOUGH CALL FOR ONE LOCAL BUSINESS ON WARD 3 COUNCIL POSITION….
Realizing it is difficult decision to take a position on a Ward 3 Candidate, what’s a business to do when both candidates may have asked for support, we find this local business may have the answer…
WHO SEEMS TO BE AGGRAVATED WITH EACH OTHER AND WOULD LIKE TO SEE EACH GONE…COMING SOON! KEEP CONNECTED WITH TMC.
Is Parks Director Ralph Nuñez really retiring at 54 years of age? STAY TOONED TO TMC.
What is going on with the new Riverside Community College Culinary School on University and Market Street?
JUST FOR LAUGHS!
How important is golf in RPD culture?
Mr. D. could you wrap it up, I’ll be late for tee time..
TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND
MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE! TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED. I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO ACLU. PROUDLY RATED ONE STAR (POSSIBLY DOWN TO ZERO FROM OUR LAST ACCOUNTS) OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS.. TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR GOOD REASON, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST, FOR GOOD REASON… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE ( OUR PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO CONTACT HIS PEOPLE)… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT! COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPHALL SPELL CHECKERS! EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR CONTACT US BY THE FOLLOWING EMAIL ADDRESS! THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM