FPPC Complaint filed Against Councilman Najarian
After an extensive investigation by the Glendale Coalition for Better Government on how the 2017 Glendale city Council Election was hijacked, the Coalition is please to announce that a complaint has been filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) about violations by Council member Ara Najarian. The complaint can be read below:
complaint id COM-12082017-02319
During the April 2017 Glendale city council election, Council member Ara Najarian was running for re-election. On 3/20/2017, two weeks prior to the election, a group named “Glendale Voters for Good Government, Supporting Najarian for City Council 2017” was formed and funded exclusively by Southland Transit Inc., a transportation company in El Monte that donated $25,000.
An investigation by the Glendale Coalition for Better Government into the affairs of Southland Transit Inc. lead the Coalition to a network of 14 transportation and investment companies all related to each other through Mr. Timmy Mardirossian. (Exhibit C)
Mr. Mardirossian is a well connected transportation service provider with companies such as, San Gabriel Transit Inc, Arcadia Transit Inc, California Transit Inc., LA City Cab LLC, G&S Transit Management Inc, Tri-City Transport Inc., Network Paratransit System Inc. and of-course Southland Transit Inc. Southland seems to be the most prominent at this time with a total contract award as of 2016 in the amount of $67,850,970 for providing MTA bus operating services. (Exhibit E). Mr. Najarian is a board member of the Los Angeles MTA and has voted for numerous contracts related to Southland Transit Inc.(Exhibit E).
Conflict of interest Violations Gov. Code § 87105
Among the 14 companies of Mr. Mardirossian one is named Stanley Funding LLC. A Glendale company that in October 9, 2012, sought the approval of a subdivision for a 4 condominium project in Glendale from Glendale City Council. As a Glendale City Council Member, Mr. Najarian indicated a conflict of interest at the time without any explanation as required by Gov. Code § 87105 and excused himself from deliberation of that issue. (Exhibit F). Video can be seen on Glendale City Council video archive.
This was a violation of Gov Code 87105 when Mr. Najarian did not explain the conflict.
Conflict of interest Violations Gov. Code § 87100
Given the lack of explanation at the 10/9/2012 City Council meeting, one could reasonably question whether there was a conflict of interest since 2012 on any matter that Mr. Najarian voted related to Mr. Timmy Mardirossian, or entities that Mr. Mardirossian controlled during MTA meetings. We know that Mr. Najarian did in fact vote affirmatively to extend a Southland contract in December 2012 without declaring a conflict of interest at the MTA Board meeting (Exhibit I) merely 2 months after declaring that there was a conflict with another business of Mr. Mardirossian. Mr. Najarian also voted for Southland Transic Inc. each year thereafter through 2016.
Prohibition on independent expenditures by Candidate Controlled Committee Gov. Code § 88501
The group “Glendale Voters for Good Government, Supporting Najarian for City Council 2017” had retained the services of Empirica Consulting, a political consulting firm, who is managed or operated by Mr. Areen Ibranossian, the chief of staff of Los Angeles City Council member Paul Kirkorian (Exhibit G). Mr. Kirkorian is also on the MTA board approving contracts for Southland Transit Inc. Empirica Consulting was also hired by Mr. Najarian during his 2013 Glendale City Council Election.(Exhibit H)
This was a committee formed less than 2 weeks prior to the election. Given the connection between Mr. Najarian, Mr. Mardirossian, The Los Angeles MTA and Empirica Consulting, there is sufficient facts to be presumed as a candidate controlled committee.
We believe sufficient evidence exists in finding Mr. Najarian in violation of conflict of interest laws and campaign contribution laws. We will now wait for the determination by the FPPC.