Vice Mayor of Bell Relegated After Revealing Millionaire Agreement

Date: 
October 2, 2013

Ana Maria Quintana has been relegated from various committees in the city of Bell after revealing millionaire legal agreement.

It all started a couple of months ago, as a matter of "censorship" against her, says Ana Maria Quintana, Vice Mayor of the city of Bell. But now, she says that in this city, marred by an unprecedented corruption scandal, again there is "abuse of power and a millionaire contract made under the table."

She refers to an alleged agreement with the law firm of Aleshire & Wynder for legal services to the city, amounting to $2.68 million, and which Quintana says, was never approved by the City of Bell, or discussed publicly.

So by her bring it to light, has cost her to have been removed from various committees of decision of the city, and was informed during the meeting last Wednesday, the intention of the other council members to terminate her position as Vice Mayor. "I'm very sad. I thought we were coming out of our problems and I see that we are dealing with more of the same," Quintana told La Opinion. "Until when, are we going to stop paying millionaire salaries. When will we be able to have money for what people need, the children of Bell "asked the vice mayor, who is serving her second term as councilmember of this city.

In the month of May, she said that she noticed, a debt of $1 million dollars for legal services in the financial books, when the Council had only approved a budget of $300,000 for this item. 

Therefore, she requested an audit from the firm Macias, Gini & O'Connell on June 30. Then she learned that the city attorney, David Aleshire, had already been paid more than $1.84 million during the fiscal year 2012-13.

In response, the attorney sent a memo in which he clarified that he was not paid that amount, but $1.4 million, but admitted he was owed $ 1 million .

Quintana was outraged to learn of such debt, as she credits "irresponsibly" by the city manager, Doug Willmore, since the total budget for the city is $ 13 million and 20% of this was used to pay the lawyer, who says he has been assigned for their services, a payment of up to $4 million, from September 2011 to date.

Willmore denied to this newspaper that he has authorized such payments, claiming that it was the council who approved it, including Quintana.

"The council was right to authorize the attorney's services. He has managed to bring forth $3.5 million in legal settlements, possibly another $8 million, and has prevented up to $50 million in claims against Bell," said.

Ali Saleh, former mayor and now councilmember, supported the statement by Willmore, and confirmed that Quintana was removed from the committees because the Council considered that she represented "a danger," by not being willing to be "accurate and responsible" with information.

Such committee removal recommendation, came precisely from the same lawyer Aleshire, through a letter to the council and the city manager, at the request of Councilman Nestor Valencia.

In the same manner, the mayor of Bell , Violeta Alvarez, clarified that no such "agreement" with Aleshire exists and it has not yet been approved that they will pay him $2.4 million. She recognized that what was approved for the legal budget was $300,000, but actually said the five council members knew that this budget would not be enough.