2020 has played out to be the year of political “hiccups,” and the City of San Bernardino seems to be no exception. In 2018, a lawsuit filed by Latino business owner Manny Acosta of Pepe’s Towing, claims that in the last election, other tow companies that have contracts with the city gave John Valdivia financial contributions towards his 2019 campaign. A former employee of Mayor Valdivia, Don Smith, testified that he witnessed Danny’s Towing owner, Danny Alcarez, give Mayor Valdivia an envelope of cash during a private meeting at a restaurant around 1 AM back in the fall of 2018. Smith claims that it was said the money was from towing companies operating in the city of San Bernardino and a way to thank the mayor for his business. Claims have been made that documents dating back to 2016, five days before the city tow contracts were renewed, could show that other contributions were made towards Valdivia’s campaign by tow companies.
The suit filed by Pepe’s insists that Mayor Valdivia has been denying them city contracts by unfairly mandating the current tow contracts operating across San Bernardino. Manny is a minority business owner who’s worked extremely hard to build his company over the last two decades, all the while never being offered a city contract in over 20 years.
For 20 years they have not let us participate in contracts with the City, but particularly in the last five years, I became more aggressive when I realized that they have benefited six companies that happen to be the ones that contribute electoral money to the San Bernardino mayor’s campaign.–Manny Acosta of Pepe’s Towing
Even worse, Pepe’s Towing is stating they have been asked to jump through several hoops that aren’t traditionally required for other vendors; “Then they wanted to impose a lot of requirements on me for the yards that they don’t ask of the companies they hire today.”
According to Manny’s legal team, it’s very clear that he and his company are victims of discrimination and unequal treatment because he has not been allowed to compete for work as a contractor. Their claims point towards Mayor Valdivia favoring companies that contribute election money to his campaigns which make for an extremely unfair playing field for businesses that aren’t willing to “pay to play.” As the court date nears, Pepe’s Towing is bringing forth more evidence which they state validates their claims. The City of San Bernardino and its residents deserve an honest system protecting them. When money but the direction of the political system, it’s no longer for the people.
If you have any information related to these allegations, please contact the Law Offices of Pelayes & Yu at (844) 998-1033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.