D.A. Quietly Prosecutes Ex-Councilman Edward Escareno
on 12-20-05 for "Grand Theft"
Escareno was campaign manager for council members John Noguez, Ofelia Hernandez and Mario
Gomez in 2003.
January 16, 2006
Huntington Park, CA. – According to the Los Angeles Superior Court's website, Edward Escareno, former Huntington
Park mayor and ex-councilman, was convicted on 12-20-05 in Los Angeles Superior Court on one count of "GRAND
THEFT", a "Felony". No sentencing information was available at press time.
A second charge is pending for "MISAPPROPRIATION OF MONEY". The Los Angeles County Sheriff's website,
www.lasd.org indicates that Edward Escareno was booked on 11-18-05.
The media was not informed of Edward Escareno's conviction nor was a press release issued as is typically done with
high profile political corruption cases of local elected officials. Rosario Marin was Escareno's mentor; She is the former U.
S. Treasurer and ex-council member in Huntington Park. Rosario Marin is good friends with fellow Republican Steve
Cooley, L.A. County's District Attorney. Escareno, also a registered Republican, has a second case pending against him
for "Misappropriation of Money".
According to the Los Angeles Superior Court's website, Edward Escareno was charged with two counts:
Count 1 - Charge Code 424(A)(1) PC
"Misappropriation of Public Funds";
Disposition - "Pending";
Disposition Date - 12-20-05.
Count 2 - Charge Code 487(A)PC
"Grand Theft: Property over $400";
Disposition - "Guilty/Convicted;
Disposition Date - 12-20-05.
Edward Escareno, a registered Republican, was the campaign manager for current council members John Noguez, Ofelia
Hernandez and Mario Gomez during their 2003 campaign. John Noguez's niece was Escareno's live-in girlfriend and
campaign treasurer for John Noguez, Ofelia Hernandez, and Mario Gomez.
Escareno's conviction has the potential to damage the political careers of certain intimate friends and city contractors
closely associated with Rosario Marin's Protege in Huntington Park's city council; Escareno openly boasted that he spoke
to Marin on a daily basis while she was U.S. Treasurer. Rosario Marin is currently the Chairwoman of the State's
Integrated Wast Management Board (www.http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov). Marin was appointed to the Board by Governor
Schwarzenegger in 2004. The post pays $122,000 per year. Marin is a California Republican Party voting delegate and
was the state GOP's Secretary.
Rosario Marin promoted and actively campaigned for Escareno's 2001 city council race, despite the fact that he was
unemployed. State Senator Martha Escutia even donated $1,000 to Escareno's campaign. Once in power, the council
majority led by Escareno started to award city contracts to Rosario Marin's friends that donated to her 2004 Senate race
against Barbara Boxer. They included a $3.9 Million transportation contract to George Cole's Oldtimers Foundation and
Victor Caballero's Fiesta Taxi.
In March 2005, Rosario Marin endorsed and actively campaigned for current Huntington Park council member Elba Romo.
State Senator Martha Escutia also donated $1,000 to Romo's campaign.
Escareno was responsible for hiring a good friend of Marin's, the current city attorney Francisco Leal, in closed door
session without competing bids.
The current speaker of the House, Assembly member Fabian Nunez, personally showed up at the kick-off campaign of
Marin's slate in January 2003 held at Leonardo's casino.
Fabian Nunez called Edward Escareno and John Noguez good friends and men of integrity on that day, and indicated that it
was a good day for Huntington Park to have these men at the helm.
This website has been reporting on the highly questionable actions of Marin's slate of elected officials in Huntington Park
and their use of Public funds. WatchOurCity.com has noted in previous reports that strong public records evidence
supports the claim of Pay for Play and that Rosario's close friends have received preferential treatment when it comes to
awarding lucrative city contracts.
When another Huntington Park council member, Linda Guevara, was convicted in 2002 by the D.A's office for not living in
the city while holding elected office, Escareno was quoted in a local newspaper as stating that finally the city is rid of
corrupt officials. Escareno's and Rosario's slate of John Noguez, Ofelia Hernandez and Mario Gomez was not yet in office.
Rosario herself provided witness material against Guevara, according to court case documents. Guevara's conviction
merited press releases to all the media outlets. In contrast, Escareno's conviction was kept stealthily quiet, as if the D.
A.'s office did not want the public to know of his conviction. Since Rosario Marin has the ear of the D.A., it begs the
question: Was there a cover-up? WatchOurCity.com broke story based on an anonymous tip.
January 18, 2005
Mayor Ofelia Hernandez is quoted in today's Spanish daily newspaper "La Opinion" as stating that Edward Escareno
acted alone in city council and that he is responsible for his own actions.
In fact Edward Escareno did not act alone. He was only one of five votes in city Council. Ofelia should re-do her math : It
takes three votes to pass a city measure, ordinance, or approve payments of travel budgets and cell phone costs and to
award contracts to friends and campaign donors. Thus, Escareno did not act alone.
Escareno was aided and abetted by non other than Ofelia Hernandez along with councilman John Noguez and Mario
Gomez. Public records and council meeting minutes, along with voting records, clearly reflect a common and complicit
record of voting for approval of questionable warrant drafts, highly questionable awarding of city contracts and highly
questionable use of Public Funds.
Mayor Ofelia Hernandez also is quoted as stating that she asked then-councilman Escareno to pay back any questionable
misuse of funds.
In fact Ofelia Hernandez did ask Edward Escareno to pay back funds. But this was only after eight months that
WatchOurCity.com exposed the misuse of funds. And only then, months after The Los Angeles Times published a report
on WatchOurCity.com. The very first sentence on the Times report stated: "When Huntington Park Councilman Ed
Escareno spent double his city-allotted travel budget for two years in a row, WatchOurCity.com asked him to pay it
Mayor Ofelia Hernandez certainly did not object to a $350 monthly pay raise that was spearheaded by Escareno. They
both could use, and did use, the money since both were unemployed. Ofelia still remains without a means of support
other than city council salary. When the L.A. Times published a story about the salaries of local elected officials,
Huntington Park's came out on top. Again, Escareno did not act alone.
Escareno had accomplices and Ofelia Hernandez was certainly one of them. It takes three votes to pass anything.
Escareno did not act alone. He was on the phone once a day, he boasted, with Rosario Marin while she was in
Washighton D.C. as then-U.S. Treasurer. Was she dictating campaign strategy or city business to him?
Then the California State Legislature takes notice of Huntington Park's exorbitant salaries and passes Assembly Bill 11,
authored by Hector De La Torre. The State Senate version of AB 11 makes particular mention of Huntington Park's
salaries as extreme examples of abuse, thus crystallizing the need for the new State law which imposes limits on how
much cit y officials pay themselves. Already Ofelia and her city council cohorts are figuring out ways to circumvent AB 11
since it took effect on January 1, 2006.
Escareno did not act alone. On the evening in 2003 the newly minted council members John Noguez, Ofelia Hernandez
and Mario Gomez were sworn in by Rosario Marin herself who flew in from Washington D.C. to preside over her victory.
She now controlled 4 of the 5 votes in Huntington Park's City council. A truly momentous event. When she flies back to D.
C., coincidentally enough, Escareno, Ofelia, Noguez and Gomez start mobilizing to award lucrative city contracts to
Rosario's close friends, one right after another. First order on the agenda: select Rosario's scandal-plagued good friend
Francisco Leal as City Attorney, in closed door session, to boot. Others that were awarded highly questionable lucrative
city contracts, also good friends of Noguez and Escareno were:
- George Cole of Oldtimers Foundation and Bell councilman.
- Victor Caballero of Fiesta Taxi and Meta 2000.
- Mag Sweeping.
- Vicente Ortiz, Meta 2000 and Tacos Don Chente.
- Francisco Leal.
Escareno was only one vote. He did not act alone.
Escareno had a good mentor in Rosario Marin.
Is it any wonder why city council and the D.A.'s office kept Escareno's arrest and conviction a secret? D.A. Steve Cooley
and Rosario Marin are Republican party chums.