Bejarano said that he doesn’t know when the business will be dissolved. He said that long before he was appointed chief of police, “I had made every offer to remove myself from the partnership but was unsuccessful. Then, finally, in September or October I was compelled to file a civil lawsuit to remove myself from the partnership.… Since my appointment, I have not been involved in running anything involving the business, I’m not involved in day-to-day operations, I don’t talk to employees or clients, no involvement other than on paper. I have a financial interest. And again, all this has been disclosed to the city manager.”
Presidential Security has had contracts with a number of Chula Vista companies, including South Bay Expressway. It also has had a contract with South Bay Community Services, a nonprofit agency that helps families in crisis and is funded in part with taxpayer money. In 2009, Chula Vista’s city council authorized $819,728 in funds to the organization “for homeless prevention and rapid re-housing activities.”
Bejarano sits on the board of South Bay Community Services. The contract that his company, Presidential Security, has had with the agency for several years is for $97,454. (The contract expired on June 30 and has not been renewed.)
There is some dispute about when the contract was initiated. Patty Chavez, the agency’s community relations director, said she believes Bejarano originally brought in the contract in 2005 under the name of U.S. Security and that he was invited onto the board later, in November 2006. “I was not on the board when the contract was obtained,” Bejarano stated in a June 1 interview.
However, Moreno has provided the Reader a copy of the original contract dated November 2006. A November 20, 2006 email from the agency supports this time line. Other documentation indicates that Bejarano was a director at South Bay Community Services as early as 2005. That year, the agency listed Bejarano among its board members on Form 990, an Internal Revenue Service form that nonprofits are required to file.
Chavez says that the agency’s bylaws, which are consistent with state law, allow up to 49 percent of the directors to have contracts with the agency. Contracts with directors, however, are subject to California Corporations Code section 5233, which pertains to self-dealing transactions. Before approving a contract with a director, the board must either obtain approval from the state’s attorney general or determine that it “could not have obtained a more advantageous arrangement with reasonable effort.”
In 2008, Form 990 asked the question, “During the tax year, did any person who is a current or former officer, director, trustee, or key employee have a direct business relationship with the organization?” The agency answered no, despite its contract with Presidential Security. When asked about this discrepancy, Kathryn Lembo, the agency’s chief executive, said, “We answered wrong. I’m going to take full responsibility for this, and I’m going to ask to have it amended.”
Many people in Chula Vista were surprised to discover that Lembo had a hand in picking the city’s new chief of police. She sat on the Community Advisory Panel with three other people to give input last summer. Regarding this procedure, Bejarano said, “She was one of the community representatives on the panel, and she also disclosed to the city manager that, in fact, three finalists all were board directors for South Bay Community Services, and they were all interviewed by Kathy and the rest of the panel. The other members that were finalists for this position are former captain Don Hunter, who was a former captain here, and also Chief Adolfo Gonzalez. My relationship has always been professional with Kathy Lembo. I don’t socialize with her, never have.” Hunter has subsequently retired from the police department and become a full-time director at South Bay Community Services.
Is there or has there been an investigation into Moreno’s charges? According to Bejarano, in an interview on May 7 with Channel 6 News, “I’ve actually been investigated, reviewed, by an independent law enforcement agency. They have come to the conclusion — this was two months ago — that the allegations are totally unfounded and they’re baseless.” Asked in June the name of the law enforcement agency that had conducted the investigation, Bejarano said it was the district attorney’s office. The district attorney’s office, in accordance with its policy, was unable to confirm or deny that an investigation had taken place. On May 26, more than a month after filing charges, Moreno received a letter from Chula Vista’s city attorney, Bart Miesfeld, stating that an initial investigation is under way and that the complaint has been forwarded to the district attorney’s office.