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News Release  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2010
CONTACT: Michelle Dawson
Acting Assistant City Manager
951.413.3053   michelled@moval.org

City Attorney’s Office Responds to False Allegations of Prosecutorial Misconduct and Misuse of City Resources

It has come to the attention of the City Attorney’s Office of the City of Moreno Valley that an automated telephone call was made recently to Moreno Valley residents alleging prosecutorial misconduct and misuse of City resources by the City Attorney’s Office. This message indicated that the City Attorney’s Office has used extremely aggressive legal tactics against City Council Candidate Marcelo Co after his decision to run for City Council. The call further indicated that the City Attorney’s Office may be being misused by an incumbent City Council Member for political reasons. These false statements allege ethical violations by the City Attorney’s Office requiring an immediate response.

The City Attorney’s Office has filed two (2) misdemeanor cases against Mr. Co. The first case was initiated on September 23, 2009, for the construction and alteration of an entire building without approvals or permits, as is required for such construction. After attempts at voluntary compliance failed, a misdemeanor case was filed on November 5, 2009, (Riverside Superior Court Case No. RIM 540354). On January 5, 2010, that case was dismissed in the interests of justice following Mr. Co’s correction of the illegal conditions.

A second misdemeanor case was filed on May 11, 2010, (Riverside Superior Court Case No. RIM 10005509). This case is for similar violations relating to unpermitted construction at two different properties owned by Mr. Co and is currently pending.

City Clerk records indicate that Mr. Co filed his intent to run for City Council on August 3, 2010, nearly three (3) months after the pending misdemeanor case was filed and nine (9) months after the initial misdemeanor case was filed. Accordingly, the allegation that the City Attorney’s Office is misusing its prosecutorial authority against Mr. Co after his decision to run for City Council is without merit and untrue. Furthermore, the City Attorney’s Office has not had any contact with any City Council Member regarding the prosecution of individual offenders, including Mr. Co.

The City Attorney’s Office maintains independent authority and discretion with respect to code enforcement prosecutions and does not take direction from individual City Council Members, or the City Council as a body, when making prosecutorial decisions. The City Attorney’s Office has over 200 active code enforcement cases referred from various City Departments after administrative attempts to gain compliance with local laws were unsuccessful. The City Attorney’s Office routinely dismisses cases filed against first time offenders that remediate substandard properties, as occurred in the first case against Mr. Co. The City Attorney’s Office aggressively prosecutes all code enforcement cases, regardless of who the party may be.

All of the above filings are public records, copies of which may be obtained from the Riverside Superior Court or the City Attorney’s Office upon request by any interested person.

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