Complaint that they only benefit a few companies that make contributions to the mayor’s campaign
Manny Acosta, owner of the crane company Pepe’s Towing, sued the city of San Bernardino for discrimination and unequal treatment by not allowing him to bid to work as a contractor; and favor companies that contribute electoral money to Mayor John Valdivia’s campaigns.
“For 20 years they have not allowed us to participate in contracts with the City, but particularly in the last five years they have benefited six companies that coincidentally are the ones that contribute electoral money for the campaign of the mayor of San Bernardino“Denounced Manny.
“The mayor is the one who has control and manipulates which companies are given the crane contracts.”
The businessman, who has owned the Los Angeles-based Pepe’s Towing company since October 1978, said that at first, the San Bernardino authorities argued that they were bankrupt, and that there was no opportunity to accept more contracts.
“Then they wanted to impose many requirements for the patios that they don’t ask the companies they hire today.”
As a consequence, Manny filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court of California in San Bernardino; and another, in the Federal Court of Los Angeles. In the lawsuit, 15 people are involved, including the mayor, councilors and managers of San Bernardino due to their participation in the regulation and approval of contracts.
“From the federal lawsuit, we are going to trial in December,” said lawyer Tristán Pelayes, defender of Manny.
The last time the crane owner tried to bid was in April 2016, as the opening process for new contracts to the public occurs every five years. “They almost always do it behind closed doors, and in 2016, they extended the process until 2017 when they opened space for a seventh supplier, but since I had no other corral within the City with a capacity of 65,000 feet, they disqualified me.”
Manny considers that it was only an excuse because the City would never fill a corralón of that size of surface.
The businessman and his lawyer Pelayes delivered documents to The opinion proving that in the past election, crane companies that have contracts with the City gave John Valdivia $ 22,500 for his 2019 mayoral campaign; while in 2016, five days before the contracts were renewed, they gave him $ 12,500. “It is illegal to give money to a public official, expecting something in return. That is called bribery, ”said Manny.
Attorney Pelayes explained that in another lawsuit, a former mayor’s employee, who was a field representative, Don Smith testified that he witnessed Danny’s Towing owner Danny Alcarez give him an envelope with cash during a private meeting. in a restaurant in the fall of 2018.
He added that the money from the crane companies that operate in the city of San Bernardino was a way of thanking the mayor for the support for his business.
Manny added that Alcarez let the ex-employee know by giving him the envelope that they were going to collect more money from the mayor.
“What I want with this lawsuit is that the City of San Bernardino act professionally and ethically with the business community, that they do things well; and that they treat us all fairly because we are talking about public contracts ”.
He confessed to feeling disadvantaged alongside other crane owners who loosen money to officials to keep their contracts safe.
“I am not going to play that game. I’m not going to do something illegal, and sleep with one eye open, ”he said.
Manny is fighting to be reimbursed for the costs of his legal defense, and all the expenses he has made to demand that he be allowed to be a contractor for the City of San Bernardino.
The attorney noted that there have been conversations with the City authorities, but no agreement has been reached. “All we ask is that they comply with the laws that they themselves have put in.”
Manny has been with the lawsuit against the City of San Bernardino since 2018. “It can last from one to five years,” said the lawyer.
The opinion is awaiting a response from John Valdivia, Mayor of San Bernardino who was contacted via email and phone.