Baldwin Park Police Chief accuses mayor of corruption and cronyism in promotion decisions
BALDWIN PARK, Calif. - The Baldwin Park Police Chief is accusing his mayor of nepotism and corruption.
And he is taking legal action over it.
The chief claims the mayor ordered him to change the police department’s promotion process so it could benefit candidates the mayor preferred and when he refused he was retaliated against.
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Baldwin Park Police Chief Steve McLean has had a tumultuous first six months on the job after serving as Santa Paula Police Chief for six years. He came to Baldwin Park late last year with a goal of reforming the police department, but claims local politicians are only interested in cronyism and called them out at a recent city council meeting.
“Mr. Mayor, Mr. City Attorney, Mr.Hernandez, Mr. CEO, I will see you in court the corruption stops tonight, and we’ll talk soon.”
Chief McLean has filed this government claim against the City of Baldwin Park alleging that Mayor Manny Lozano stopped him from implementing an exam that candidates would have to pass to get a promotion.
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According to the claim, Mayor Lozano instead “wanted a process whereby his chosen cronies would get promoted and that only Latinos be promoted.”
The claim cites one officer in particular who helped the mayor with his election campaign and was allegedly offered a “quip pro quo” promotion for his help.
Attorney Brad Gage is representing Chief McLean in his claims against the city.
The chief wanted to have a fair process that would determine who was the best qualified to promote and certain people in the city did not want him to have a fair process so they could promote those people they wanted.
And Gage says that Mayor Lozano only wanted Latino candidates promoted.
According to Gage, after Chief McLean refused the city clerk read out loud an anonymous letter during a June 3rd city council meeting that he says was defamatory.
Gage said, "He was falsely accused of being racist against Latinos, he happens to be Latino.”
When we reached out to the mayor and the City of Baldwin Park for a response to these claims FOX 11 received the following statement which reads in part:
"The city is aware that at a recent city council meeting Chief McLean conveyed irregularities on behalf of the city as it pertains to employment opportunities in the department. To that extent, the City of Baldwin Park has asked a third-party investigator to perform a full investigation of these assertions.”
As for the chief, he’s now on temporary leave and his future in Baldwin Park is looking rocky
Gage says, “He’s being defamed and forced to leave his post as the Chief of Police, which is wrong.”
Gage tells FOX 11 they’re in the process of gathering together all of their evidence then they will file a formal lawsuit against the City of Baldwin Park.