Thursday, March 22, 2012


Come one, Bonnie. Your Public Integrity Unit looks more and more like its involved in political payback. You never go after corrupt white Republicans. This is all starting to look less like a campaign against corruption and more like legally-sanctioned dirty tricks campaign in support of your political friends.

Wendy Fry
March 20, 2012

CHULA VISTA — District Attorney’s investigators executed search warrants Tuesday morning at the homes of two former elected officials at Southwestern College.

Investigators retrieved pictures, computers, cell phones and documents from the Chula Vista home of former college board President Yolanda Salcido, 54, and the Jamul residence of former trustee Jorge Dominguez, 63.

Teams arrived at each person’s home around 7:30 a.m. Affidavits justifying the searches for a judge are expected to be unsealed within a week.

The D.A.’s office is gathering a case alleging that South County elected officials accepted thousands of dollars worth of gifts, entertainment and meals in exchange for votes on millions of dollars of construction contracts under voter-approved bond programs.

Dominguez and Salcido could not be reached for comment.

The D.A.’s office declined to comment on the investigation, beyond confirming it is in the midst of a broadening corruption probe. Homes of seven other people connected to the college and the Sweetwater Union High School District were searched in December.

A 41-page affidavit used to gain approval for the prior round of searches mentioned Salcido 19 times, alleging she went to meals at the expense of contractor Henry Amigable, who has since pleaded not guilty to bribery charges.

The document says Salcido accepted $960 in meals in 2006 and 2007 from Amigable, a business development executive who worked at Gilbane Building Co. and then Seville Construction Services.

For example, according to the D.A.’s documents, Amigable treated a Sweetwater schools official and his wife, along with Salcido and Southwestern administrator John Wilson, to an $802 meal on Feb. 24, 2007, at Baci Ristorante in San Diego.

The affidavit lists several such meals at which Amigable picked up the tab for Wilson and Salcido before Nov. 18, 2009, when the college board adopted Wilson’s recommendation to grant a $2.7 million contract to Seville Construction Services. The contract was terminated in January.

“Amigable was instrumental in Seville Construction Services being awarded the Proposition R program management contract at Southwestern College due to his close relationship with SWC board member Yolanda Salcido and John Wilson,” the affidavit says.

Regarding Salcido specifically, it adds, “Her dating relationship with Wilson during this critical time frame and Wilson’s relationship with Amigable and SCS clearly appear to be a conflict.”

Amigable’s attorney, Dan Greene, emphasized that none of the entertainment was billed to taxpayers, and all of it was routine business expenses approved by superiors at construction firms.

“These were business expenses, or in other words, part of the anticipated cost of doing business,” Greene said.

The other former board member whose home was searched, Dominguez, is mentioned twice in the previous affidavit, in reference to two $2,000 political contributions he received from Seville Construction Services.

An internal Southwestern probe released last week found that Seville donated $30,000 to Salcido’s failed re-election campaign.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis charged four current and former Sweetwater school officials in January, and they pleaded not guilty to corruption charges. No charges have been forthcoming regarding the Southwestern bond program.

In the November 2010 election, she lost her college board seat to challenger Norma Hernandez, the college’s former president. Dominguez lost his seat to Tim Nader, a former Chula Vista mayor.

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