Long Beach, CA – May 14, 2014 – A former Deputy Long Beach City Attorney who asked not to be identified claimed that recently appointed City Attorney Charles Parkin knew of actions taken to force deputies and other city attorney employees to pay mandatory contributions towards City Attorney Robert Shannon’s election campaign. Parkin, was a “henchman” charged with ensuring city attorney employees paid money toward Shannon’s re-election, the former worker alleged.
According to the former city employee, deputy city attorneys were given stacks of Shannon campaign materials that they were required to distribute to voters. Deputies were also required to pay for and attend Shannon fundraisers and events. Additionally, one deputy was threatened with termination when they refused to pay hundreds of dollars for a retirement party being thrown for an employee who was a registered sex offender convicted of lewd behavior with a minor.
Election records show that the mandatory contributions appeared to have continued for Parkin’s own campaign. State election forms filed by Parkin disclose that a large number of deputy city attorneys made contributions to his campaign for similar amounts on the same dates in 2013. According to another former Long Beach deputy city attorney who reviewed the reports, the pattern of contributions and dates show that the forced contributions reported by the former deputy working under Shannon are most likely continuing under Parkin. Several current and former city employees who were contacted and asked about whether campaign contributions were forced on them refused to discuss the issue. One former employee said she feared the City would retaliate against her. One of the former Deputy City Attorneys suggested Parkin may be promising future benefits so that current employees who have been forced to contribute will say they contributed voluntarily.
The records also report contributions made to Parkin from law firms that have lucrative contracts with the City. One of the firms that stands to gain from Parkin’s election, Rutan and Tucker, charges the City hundreds of dollars an hour for work that could be done for much less money by City personnel. Mary Katherine Jenson, an attorney working for Rutan and Tucker, contributed money to the Parkin campaign along with numbers of other attorneys at a variety of law firms benefitting from Parkin’s office.
In a July, 2013 memorandum provided by Long Beach City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, former City Attorney Robert Shannon referred to the 50-year stranglehold he and his small group has had on the City Attorney’s office. Schipske has been advocating for transparency and accountability in city government.
The questionable tactic of appointing a person to ensure their election is just one of numerous ways Shannon maintains his influence at city hall, according to Shannon’s July 2013 memo, June, 2013 interview, and various press reports. Additionally, the Long Beach Police Officers Association (LBPOA) erroneously printed materials claiming Parkin was an incumbent by urging voters to “re-elect” him. A voter information card also urged voters to “re-elect” Parkin and included a notation that Parkin had approved the ad even though Parkin had never before been elected to a public office. Not only is this deceitful, but it is also illegal.
Despite funding the Parkin campaign with hundreds of thousands of dollars, the LBPOA and other special interest groups failed to prevent a run-off when former City Attorney candidate Matthew Pappas garnered nearly twenty percent of the vote. “With almost no money, refusing all special interest funds as well as endorsements, my campaign showed people are ready for change in Long Beach. It is time to end the North Korean-like dynasty that has ruled over the City Attorney’s office for almost 50 years,” Pappas said after announcing his support for Councilman James Johnson.
Attempts to contact City Prosecutor Douglas Haubert about Parkin’s actions and the allegations made about forced campaign contributions have been unanswered.
For more information, contact Advocates for the Disabled and Seriously Ill at (714) 931-3576
CONTRIBUTIONS REPORTED IN STATE ELECTION FORMS (partial listing/Parkin 2014) (D.C.A. stands for Deputy City Attorney): Gary Anderson: $250 (D.C.A) 9/13/13, Rich Anthony: $500 (D.C.A.) 8/21/13, Maria Arroyo: $100 (legal assistant) 9/11/13, Kendra Carney: $250 (D.C.A.) 9/30/13, Christina Checel: $500 (D.C.A.) 9/11/13, Annette Cox: $100 (Parkin’s Exec. Asst. to Charles Parkin) 9/11/13, Robert Espinosa: $200 (investigator) 9/11/13, Robert Espinosa: $200 (investigator) 10/21/13, Charles Gale: $500 (D.C.A.) 9/24/13, Barbara Gallagher: $100 (legal assistant) 9/16/13, Maureen Grainger: $100 (paralegal) 10/30/13, Karen Hester: $500 (Shannon’s former executive legal assistant) 10/10/13, Dominick Holzhaus: $500 (D.C.A.) 8/30/13, Anne Latime: $500 (D.C.A.) 10/21/13, Monte Machit: $500 (D.C.A.) 9/11/13, Mike Mais: $500 (D.C.A.) 9/3/13, Karen McCormick: $500 (Mike Mais’ paralegal) 9/11/13, Barbara McTigue: $500 (D.C.A.) 9/23/13, Christopher Mora: $100 (investigator) 9/11/13, Tyler Pike: $500 (office manager) 9/11/13, Julie Pinto: $100 (legal secretary) 11/13/13 , Howard Russell: $250 (D.C.A.) 10/21/13, Tiffany Shinn: $500 (D.C.A.) 9/11/13, Linda Vu: $250 (D.C.A.) 9/11/13, Linda Vu: $250 (D.C.A.) 10/21/13, Amy Webber: $250 (D.C.A.) 9/18/13, Amy Webber: $100 (D.C.A.) 10/21/13, Ted Zinger: $250 (D.C.A.) 9/17/13, Mary Katherine Jenson: $500 (Rutan/Tucker) 10/8/13, Mike Peters: $500 (Contract atty for Civil Service Hearings)10/8/13.