May 29, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two former Chivas USA youth coaches have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Major League Soccer team, claiming they were fired because they aren’t Mexican or Latino.
The suit was filed Tuesday by Daniel Calichman and Theothoros Chronopoulos in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The suit also claims harassment and retaliation based on ethnicity and race and seeks unspecified damages.
The two men worked for more than a year for the team’s academy, which provides soccer programs for youths.
Once the team was fully acquired by Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes, who also control Chivas Guadalajara in Mexico, there was an effort to replace players and staff who had no Mexican or Latino heritage, according to the lawsuit.
Last November, Vergara allegedly said at a staff meeting that non-Spanish speaking employees would be fired. He asked those who spoke Spanish to raise their hands and then asked those who spoke English to also do the same, the suit said.
“‘If you don’t speak Spanish, you can go work for the Galaxy, unless you speak Chinese, which is not even a language,’” Vergara allegedly told employees, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims Chivas USA is trying to mirror the “Mexican-only” policy of its Guadalajara counterpart.
“While that may be acceptable in Mexico, in California and in our country you can’t make decisions on employment based on ethnicity or race,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Greg Helmer.
Cristina Maillo Belda, a spokeswoman for Chivas USA, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The team’s roster was overhauled during the offseason, with players being traded or cut and replaced with those who are Latino. Coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola gave a simple explanation during a Los Angeles Times interview in January: having more Mexican players on the MLS team makes them eligible to play for either Chivas team.
The policy, however, wasn’t just limited to the pitch, according to the suit. Chronopoulos said Jose David, the team’s president and chief business officer, directed him in December to gather ethnic and other data about the children enrolled in the academy and their parents.
Calichman said that during a meeting with David and a human resources manager, David said the team was going back to its Mexican roots and indicated neither youth coach would be part of that effort, the suit said.
Calichman and Chronopoulos, who both played in the MLS, complained about alleged discrimination and harassment earlier this year and were told there would be an internal investigation. Despite repeated requests, neither man has received the investigation’s results, Helmer said.
Both men were suspended and fired in March for “unprofessional conduct that created an unsafe work environment,” according to the lawsuit.
“I just think it’s morally wrong,” said Chronopoulos, 40. “Normally when you get hired, you get hired on your merit and skill level and not by the color of your skin or ethnicity.”
Chivas USA is currently last in the Western Conference.
April 26, 2013
What would happen if Latinos stood up against what they believe is an oppressive, Anglo-dominated United States? That answer comes to light in Pancho Land, the final novel in Raul Ramos y Sanchez’s trilogy.
Beginning the series over 8 years ago with American Libre then continuing with House Divided, Pancho Land culminates the Latino rebellion taking place primarily in southern California but could end with nuclear proportions in a Midwest City.
Inspired by the Cuban revolution which ousted Batista and replaced him with Fidel Castro, the trilogy sheds light on what could happen someday in the United States if ethnic tension continues to escalate, but the election and re-election of Barack Obama shows the strength and importance of democracy, Ramos said.
“The democratic process has become a good tool to avoid the books happenings,” said Ramos. “The second election of Obama with the overwhelming majority of Latinos voting for him shows the strength of Latinos.”
Ramos, who is Cuban born and raised in Miami, said the GOP must not demonize Latinos or undocumented immigrants or the party will become too small to have influence.
“The danger has not gone away,” said Ramos, citing the Boston marathon bombings. “We do know there is terrorist activity, there are wacko people still out there.”
A revolution is not about guns and weapons Ramos said. He said acceptance of government is through the mind, and the people at any time, can revolt and the number of weapons either side has, will not be the determining factor.
“People don’t realize a government exist between the ears, government is a fragile concept, there are not enough police to keep the peace,” Ramos said. “We can very quickly change things, things can change.”
According to Ramos, guns do not play a major role in revolution; he said above all, you need the right social conditions, and the right political climate, as people feel less and less able to create change, their actions become more extreme to affect change.
“When it appears that the mainstream is switching against your opinion, your left with the extreme people, and once the blood is on the ground people start hardening on their views.”
Born on the brink of revolution, Ramos speaks from experience, a young child during the Cuban Revolution, his father operated a used tire business which secretly helped the then resistance led by Fidel Castro. Ramos’s mother, not wanting her young son growing up in an unstable country fled to the United States leaving his father back in Cuba. Ramos remembers leaving and in the first book on the three part series (American Libre), there is a scene drawn directly from his childhood memory.
“In the first book there is a scene where the wife and the husband have a verbal fight,” said Ramos. “The, “you have children why are you doing this? It’s for the children,” conversion came from real life.”
Ramos later noted his mom made the right decision in leaving for America, where now he travels all over the country promoting his books and sharing his experiences and opinions on the current and future social and political climate of America.
“If nothing in the book comes true that would be the happiest thing.” Ramos said.
He believes the Latino vote is what prompting the current proposed immigration reform bill in Congress, and the reform bill may come to be an important piece of legislation that quells the fears and concerns of those with Hispanic descent currently living in the country.
The Dayton resident said the bill, as currently introduced, is too big and may be difficult to get through both the House and Senate; he predicts a political battle similar to what took place with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
“We’re going to burn up all the political capital,” Ramos said. He suggests breaking the bill into pieces.
“It would have a better chance of being passed than a bigger bill,” he said.
Ramos feels it is important to fix immigration. He runs a Web site dedicated to immigrants who wish to share their stories with others. Originally developed for immigrants to share their success stories, the site he says, has become a place for immigrants to voice their issues.
“People just keep falling in from of the cracks,” Ramos said. ”I thought it was going to be American success stories but it became about families being separated.”
Ramos recalled one story when a U.S. born wife called United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS – which oversees lawful immigration into the United States) and made an appointment to discuss her husband’s case and how to have him stay legally in the country. When the couple arrived for their appointment, immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) were waiting and the husband was immediately detained and then deported.
Through his three books, American Libre, House Divided, and Pancho Land, Ramos has traveled all over America; including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and yes, Dayton.
May 11 he will be one of ten speakers at the 2013 Ohioana Book Festival. The event will be from 10am to 4:30pm. The address is 546 Jack Gibbs Boulevard in Columbus.
Though he has traveled all over America, there is one place he has not been in half a century, a place close to his heart and always in his memories; for the first time in over 50 years, Raul Ramos is going home.
“If you told me that (I was going home) two years ago, I would have said you were crazy,” Ramos said.
Ramos has not been to Cuba in about 50 years and after making contact for the first time with relatives about two years ago; he now has plans to visit the island within the coming months. And he credits his potential return to the increasingly positive relationship between Cuba and the United States, and in particular, President Obama and current leader of Cuba, Raul Castro (Fidel Castro’s brother).
“It has been the biggest change in my lifetime,” Ramos said. “There has been an incredible change the last five years.”
Ramos said Raul Castro has liberalized Cuba considerably, allowing privately owned businesses to develop and grows. He suggests the United States take away the economic embargo currently placed on Cuba saying it hasn’t worked over the years. Ramos said the United States has the communist country of China as a major trading partner so there is little reason to keep the embargo on Cuba.
“It’s obvious the embargo isn’t working”, said Ramos.
Ramos said the way to end communism is to follow the model used with the Soviet Union – that is too open the economic doors to the country and show the benefits of capitalism to the people, and slowly communism will fade away.
“There’s a whole infrastructure that keeps Cuba away,” said Ramos. “Opening up the economic doors would be a change that happens without bloodshed.”
All three of Ramos’s books are available on Kindle and the first two books, American Libre, and House Divided are available in print as well.
April 24, 2013
BOSTON (AP) — Gabriel Gomez is hoping to be the new face of the Republican Party.
The son of Colombian immigrants, Gomez first learned to speak English in kindergarten, then went on to become a Navy pilot and SEAL, earn an MBA at Harvard Business School and launch a successful career in private equity.
As Republicans search for candidates to expand their appeal to minority voters, Gomez appears to fit the bill. But while Gomez may have the perfect resume, it’s unclear how the campaign newcomer will fare in Massachusetts’ famously rough-and-tumble politics.
The 47-year-old Cohasset businessman, one of three Republicans in the state’s special U.S. Senate race to fill the seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry, has embraced his heritage, speaking Spanish in campaign ads and portraying his life story as the American dream.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my heritage and the fact that my parents decided to stay here after I was born,” Gomez, a first-generation American, said in an interview.
Born in Los Angeles, Gomez was still a toddler when the family moved to Washington state, where his father sold hops for a living. Gomez said those formative years helped set the course for his life.
“I saw how this country embraced my parents and gave them a chance at the dream, gave me a chance at the dream,” he said. “I wanted to serve. I wanted to pay back.”
Gomez served first as a Navy pilot, flying off aircraft carriers along the East Coast, before taking a gamble and applying to the elite Navy SEALs. He was warned if he failed, he’d also lose his pilot status.
Gomez served as a SEAL from 1992 to 1995 and was stationed in South America, where he met his wife, Sarah, who was working in the West Indies as a Peace Corps volunteer at a school for special needs students.
After leaving the Navy, Gomez graduated from Harvard Business School and entered the world of private equity.
He eventually landed a job at the Boston-based investment firm Advent International, where he’s worked on pension funds and retirement systems. He’s also helped launch regional businesses like apparel company Lululemon onto the national stage. He resigned to run for Senate.
Gomez says he’s a model of how Republicans can broaden their appeal to independent and Democratic voters by talking about basic GOP principles like fiscal discipline and smaller government.
“It’s strong coming from someone who grew up just like them,” Gomez said.
While Gomez has adopted conservative economic policies, he’s also embraced more moderate social policies.
He supports gay marriage, but says it should be decided state by state. He personally opposes abortion, citing his Catholic faith, but hasn’t advocated overturning Roe v. Wade.
He said some his beliefs come from personal experience. He recalled one of his best friends in the Naval Academy who was forced out after acknowledging he was gay after being asked even though he was ranked third out of a class of more than 1,000.
“I would have been very proud to serve with this young man anywhere, anyhow, anyplace,” Gomez said.
Gomez’s campaign has hit bumps, most notably a letter he sent to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick in January asking to be appointed to the Senate seat on an interim basis.
In the letter Gomez pledged to support President Barack Obama’s positions on guns and immigration. He’s since taken positions at odds with Obama and said he was simply offering to serve his country.
Gomez said he supports expanded background checks but opposes an assault weapons ban.
“If they pass all the checks and they’re qualified to use a weapon, I don’t think we need to restrict what kind of weapon they use,” he said.
On immigration, Gomez said the nation should secure its borders, but also find a pathway to legal status for those in the country illegally. He said that pathway “can’t be easy, but it can’t be impossible either,” and should include a criminal background check.
Gomez said he’d also like to see more veterans enter politics, calling it “a shame that we don’t have more senators and more congressmen that have worn the uniform.”
Of the three GOP hopefuls, including former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Representative Daniel Winslow, Gomez has reported raising the most money — nearly $1.2 million — although that includes $600,000 he loaned his campaign.
He reported having $499,743 left in his account heading into the final stretch to the April 30 primary.
April 12, 2013
There are about 11,000 Latino veterans currently living in Ohio, yet only one is in the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. And that’s why the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame is looking for Latinos to enter their hall.
Veteran’s hall members met with commissioners of the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA) and stressed the lack of Latinos currently in the hall.
According to OCHLA, the only Latino currently in the hall is Representative Rick Perales (R – Beavercreek).
Nominees must have been honorably discharged from one of the branch of the United States military branches and gone on to a distinguished career in Ohio after their discharge.
Induction qualifications focus primary on post military work such as elected office, advocacy and non-profit work, therefore distinguished military service in not necessary.
OCHLA will work with the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame to screen potential candidates from among the annual Latino Military Service of Distinction Award and provide a link to the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame on the OCHLA website
You can nominate people for induction here, and learn more about the Hall as well. Nominations for the 2013 class must be submitted by June 30.
For more information, contact Karen Kish, South High Street, 7th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215; by telephone at 614 752-8941, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
April 9, 2013
Editor’s Note – The views and opinions expressed in this article are of those of the author only. They in no way reflect the views and opinions of hispanicohio.com or its partners and affiliates.
Recently, I was able to attend a “Career Fair”, designed for both job seekers and those looking to change careers through education. Certainly a great opportunity considering according to January records provided by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), the county unemployment rate is 9.0 percent – 2.6 percent higher than the recently released national average. The career fair was in whole not beneficial, at no fault of the attendees but because there was no actual reason to attend. Digging a bit deeper, for the most part, those looking for jobs were pointed to a computer.
Those who attended the career fair had the opportunity to meet human resource coordinators from dozens of employers, which were looking for new employees from every level of education and expertise. Employers at the career fair were very friendly and the location of Lorain County Communication College was ideal, being the county capital. The career fair brought men, women, young, and older. There were men in suits, men in jeans, women looking for full time employment and women looking for part time. Truly an opportunity to find jobs, the career fair appeared to provide opportunity for every demographic of person looking for employment or a change in careers through higher education.
Whether you were trying to get your GED, or already had a master’s degree there were employers looking for someone.
Unfortunately as one traveled from one booth to another and sparked a conversation with the respective human resource person, all too often people were directed to the company Web site to apply, and all too often they were told no jobs were available but positions would be open in the future, so apply online and they will “get back to you.”
I then posed a question to a one of the people working a booth, why come to a career fair if you have no job openings? Why come to a career fair “dressed for success”, with resumes in hand only to be told to go home and apply online? What is the advantage is there to attend the fair over those who do not attend and simply apply online in their pajamas?
Unfortunately those questions could not be answered fully. Someone who attends a career fair should not be directed to apply online; a person who attends a career fair should be a higher priority than those who do not attend. Several employers said they would not have job openings until mid-summer or fall.
Then why are you at a career fair if you have no job openings?
Most of the attendees appeared to be mid-career white women, hardly the population which needs employment. In Lorain County, the youth unemployment is nearly triple; the minority unemployment is roughly 10 percent, according to ODJFS.
In the end, for most who attended, the career fair at best seemed to provide a contact person when applying for a job, and at worse was an exercise if interview preparation. The career fair needs a change, or promote the event differently, not as an opportunity to gain employment, but as a networking event, because as a whole, that is exactly what it was
March 17, 2013
LORAIN – Diabetes, a disease that can leave you blind, it can leave you with loss limbs, it does not kill you directly, but it is the cause of thousands of deaths each year.
In 2007, diabetes was listed as the underlying cause on 71,382 death certificates and was listed as a contributing factor on an additional 160,022 death certificates. This means that diabetes contributed to a total of 231,404, according to the American Diabetes Association.
That is why the Ohio Hispanic Heritage Coalition (OHHC) held their fourth of 12 salsa socials was held at Club Copa (939 Broadway) Saturday March 9 in Lorain. The event, dubbed “Salsa Social for a Cause” took place to raise awareness of diabetes for Hispanics, which are almost 2 times more likely to have diabetes than a non-Hispanic white.
There are 18.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes and 7 million people living with diabetes and do not know it. Ed Morales, program coordinator said the month’s salsa social had a goal to bring awareness of the issue to the Hispanic community, he said the community needed to be exposed to the issue and a good way to do is was through salsa dancing, and Dee-Dee Marrero agreed.
“Our goal is to bring out causes that people otherwise wouldn’t know about,” said Marrero, OHHC president.
The evening began with diabetes educator Mary Horst Nicolay of the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland speaking about the signs of diabetes such has fatigue and blurry vision and she completed with how the disease is treated today.
Diabetes is essentially when there is too much or too little sugar in the bloodstream, and can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, retinal disease, amputation, and nervous system damage.
Once the diabetes education was complete, David Ramirez gave a few salsa lessons, and there was even some time for merengue. Once the lessons were complete, everyone danced, showing off their new talent.
Among Hispanics 7.6 percent of Cubans are diabetic, 13.3 percent of Mexican Americans, and 13.8 percent of Puerto Ricans.
After the education, salsa began.
“One of our key goals is to continue to preserve our culture,” said Marrero. “We thought it would be a good time to utilize our culture and showcase the pride of our culture, to save our culture by giving it to our children and grandchildren.”
“A lot of the tradition is fading away,” Morales said. “We want to bring back the tradition to the community.”
Though the OHHC has a goal to preserve culture and advocate good health at the same time, attendance at the monthly events have been scarce. Organizers are not sure why attendance is low.
“We want a bigger turnout,” Morales said.
The OHHC has promoted their event primary through social media, flyers and word of mouth, organizers say many people know about the event, but for one reason or another do not attend.
“The salsa social is a fun and healthy activity,” said Morales. “You can network with others, and learn to dance salsa.”
“There are a spark, a conduit, and a wire,” said Marrero. “The coalition, we are the conduit, we are looking for the grassroots leaders, they are the wire. We need all three to turn the switch on, once the switch is on the whole community lights up.”
The next salsa social will be April 13 supporting child abuse prevention, the time and location is unknown at the moment, be sure to keep checking www.hispanicohio.com for updates.
March 5, 2013
Oberlin College, known all over the United States as a place of acceptance and higher learning is confronting racism and hate, which many thought was abandoned but now we all battened prejudice is alive and well in the North.
Monday, March 4 students reported someone in a Ku Klux Klan robe late at night, once reported classes were canceled and since then the student body has shown solidarity in the condemnation of the act.
The KKK siting was just the latest white supremacist showing on the college campus, according to the Oberlin Review, there have been racist signs and posters singling out Blacks, Jews, and homosexuals.
Certainly this happening in any college in unacceptable and shocking, but it is particularly surprising considering Oberlin College was the first in America to allow Blacks to enroll (1835) and the first to enroll women in an accredited bachelor’s degree program (1841).
The occurrence should be evidence that our nation has not moved forward enough in accepting all races and creeds as equals. Amongst small circles, one prevailing thought on racism is that the country will just have to wait until the “the old guard dies out”, then we will truly be a nation of acceptance.
Well how old do you think the people were that creating posters and signs with the “N” word, the “F” word (for homosexuals), and wrote on an elevator wall, “N***** oven”?
Our country is more divided then united; we avoid people that are different from us, refusing to learn from our past and refusing to learn from one another. Too many children grow up in communities where the true value of diversity is not understood, where the importance of knowing people of different backgrounds and learning from different cultures is unimportant.
If young people were to be raised exposed to people of different faiths, backgrounds, and ethnicities, events such as what happened Monday at Oberlin college would be drastically reduced, and young college students wouldn’t be hanging “white only” signs above water fountains in 2013.
February 27, 2013
For the third consecutive Democratic 2nd Ward primary in Lorain, Dennis Flores and Andy Drwal will ask the voters to vote for him. On the surface one may think why the voters cannot make up their mind or why one candidate doesn’t just give up, but if you dig in a bit deeper, the answers are obvious.
Without the support of the local Democratic Party, Flores campaigned against Brian Hazelett and won the council seat in 2007 – which makes up part of downtown and central Lorain. The self-proclaimed “people’s councilman”, quickly gained a reputation as a person who is out with residents cleaning neighborhoods and committing his efforts to grassroots projects to improve the ward.
A year later he was arrested for driving under the influence and soliciting prostitution, and that opened the door for Andy Drwal, a Navy veteran and retired Lorain firefighter. Drwal, like Flores is a lifelong resident of Lorain he definitely looks the part of councilman on paper and was a solid contrast to Flores.
Drwal defeated Flores for the council seat in 2009.
Holding only two years in office makes it challenging to establish oneself on council, and soon after Drwal won his seat, it clear Flores would challenge again, and he did.
The two candidates had nothing nice to say about each other during the 2011 campaign; Flores saying Drwal was an easy “yes”, vote for the city’s administration, with Flores’ legal troubles, and the perception of community apathy Drwal carried during his term in office, stories were not hard to come up with.
In a close race, Flores regained his seat.
In an all but déjà vu experience, in 2012 Flores was again, arrested, this time for amongst other things driving while drunk and now for the third time Flores v Drwal in ward two this May.
The voters once again will answer the questions, does Flores deserve another chance? Will Drwal represent the needs of ward 2 like a councilman should?
Many people in the ward like Flores beyond his name recognition he is often the opposing voice in council meetings, he participates in community organizations designed to improve the area. Drwal often speaks of his passion for Lorain and for his ward. He shares his desire to improve the area and work with council to make the city better.
Some voters in the ward say Drwal did not do enough for the area, so despite Flores’ issues, they will vote for him as a councilman who makes change, others say Flores was already given a second change and as councilman he represents what is wrong with the city. Come May 7, voters will decide for the third time in six years.
February 21, 2013
More than 4,200 passenger and crew were stranded for about five days last week on board the Triumph Carnival cruise ship, by now we all have heard tales of what went on during that that time. We know a fire started and passengers lost electricity, but in a one-on-one interview a local radio station (http://www.wtam.com/main.html) was able to interview at a local passenger who said she experienced horrific conditions on the passenger cruise the ship was towed into port in Mobile, Alabama last week.
Maria Hernandez said she was asleep when a friend woke her up at about 4:30a.m. because there was a fire on the ship, at first she didn’t believe them she said, but then her friends opened their bedroom door and she saw the smoke.
“Sure enough there was a hallway full of smoke,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez described how the toilets quickly became backed up, flushing did no good and feces began to spill onto the floor.
Hernandez said a few fights did break out and people were stealing cell phones and cell phone chargers.
“We had stuff taken out of rooms like tennis shoes, cameras, all kinds of devices,” she said. “It was uncontrollable chaos, a lady fell down the stairs and she refused to sign a document.
Hernandez said it didn’t matter where anyone went, they could not avoid the smell.
“We couldn’t eat because the smell was just everywhere,’ she said. “We had to carry rags to cover our mouths.”
Hernandez said people would go to the bathroom inside plastic bags because the toilets didn’t work, and she even shared a bag with her friends. She said it was that, or run out of bags.
Eventually, Hernandez said a rescue team brought food but there was a three to six hour wait
“All we got was condiments and bread,” she said.
Hernandez said she did not shower because the water pressure was too low and it was dark because the lights were out. Also, she said people brought their mattresses to the dock because the smell was so bad in the rooms.
For someone who was not on the ship, imagination can run wild about what went on during the days of no light, and feces everywhere, but Hernandez said for the most part, the passengers behaved well.
“Most people were helping people,” she said. “] My friends and I] felt that we could hold up better,” so she let the children and elderly eat first.
“Everything was controlled, it was more about helping each other,” she added, however she said she is going to go see a doctor.
Hernandez said the food on the ship went bad and she bit into a fish taco.
“Right now I’m getting a little sick, I don’t know if it’s from the trip,” she said. “We did inhale a little bit of toxins.”
Hernandez said she is surprised no person died considering there was no actual security and people were left to their own devices.
“They did take I believe like two people for health reasons off the ship,” she said. ”They shouldn’t have let us out there that long, they could have gotten another ship; they had three other shops cruising around. I was thinking maybe getting the kids the elderly the mothers that had health problems . . . they didn’t even get them out.”
Hernandez said Carnival “had no concern for our health . . . the only people that were concerned [for the passengers] where the workers”.
Hernandez said she was approached by a lawyer but does not know if she will take legal action, possible turning her $300 dollar cruise into a profit.
She said the only time she feared for her life was when she awoke in the middle of the night and saw the ship was on fire.
“The two most dramatic and bad things that I feared and think of is what all my friends and colleagues feared . . . when I got out of that room, we didn’t know if the fire was contained,” she said. “I’m like, ok this is the end. The first thing that came to my head was “all these people are not going to fit on this life boat.””
February 20, 2013
LORAIN — City Councilman Dennis Flores’ lawyer said Tuesday that Lorain police have a conflict of interest and shouldn’t conduct an investigation that the city’s police union has requested into whether his client lied during an arbitration hearing.
“That’s like the fox guarding the henhouse,” attorney Mike Duff said.
Fraternal Order of Police President Kyle Gelenius sent a letter Monday to police Capt. Steve Schmittle demanding an investigation into whether Flores lied about how he learned details about the investigations of Officers Ralph Gonzalez and Jeff Jackson last year. Flores also claimed that he “did not recall” emails and phone calls he received about the investigations, the letter said.
Flores, Gelenius wrote, was attempting to conceal documents and other information that could be used as evidence in the arbitration, which deals with a grievance the police union has filed over how details of the investigations became public and were reported in the media.
Gelenius declined additional comment Tuesday.
Duff said he has been told that a detective has been assigned to the Flores matter and has requested a meeting with his client.
The city has sent a subpoena to Flores demanding the names of his phone and email service providers and Geoffrey Smith, the city’s human resources/risk management director, has said police intend to issue additional subpoenas that will allow them to review Flores’ emails, text messages and phone records.
Duff said Flores didn’t lie under oath. He also accused the police of pursuing a vendetta against a critic.
“I think this is all a vindictive move by the FOP,” he said.
Duff said last week that he believes Police Chief Cel Rivera, who has ordered an investigation into leaks within the Lorain Police Department, wants access to Flores’ emails as part of an effort to create a “hit list” of those who have complained about the city’s police officers.
Smith has said Rivera requested that subpoenas be issued for Flores’ email and phone records, something Duff has said he intends to fight.
City officials contend that even without the subpoenas, Flores’ emails and phone records are public record if they deal with city business.
Duff said he also is considering asking the Lorain Law Department to remove itself from Flores’ pending DUI case. The 2nd Ward councilman has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Lorain Law Director Pat Riley said he hasn’t been involved in the grievance over the release of information about the Gonzalez and Jackson investigations and hasn’t seen Gelenius’ letter.
But he acknowledged that Duff had raised questions about the involvement of the Police Department in an investigation of Flores and said he will review the matter.
Gonzalez retired in September while being investigated after a city-issued pistol assigned to him turned up during a felony warrant arrest in May. He had reported the gun destroyed in a 2011 house fire. A report on that investigation said that two other guns in Gonzelez’s possession are believed to be on the black market.
Jackson remains under investigation for scheduling and attendance issues.
The police union contends that the details of those investigations should have remained confidential under a clause in the union contract that calls for disciplinary issues to be conducted in “a private and businesslike manner.”
Rivera agreed that the information about the investigations shouldn’t have been made public and ordered the internal investigation to discover the source of the leak.
Lorain resident Denise Caruloff said Tuesday that a legal defense fund for Flores has been set up and donations can be made at any FirstMerit Bank location.
She said although she didn’t set up the account, she supports Flores and called the scrutiny he now finds himself under “a malicious, vicious attack.”