EXCLUSIVE: Investigation Slams Santa Fe Springs Councilman Zamora for Harassment and Discrimination

 

joe angel zamora

SFS Councilman Joe Angel Zamora

 

BY BRIAN HEWS • September 4, 2020

Hews Media Group-Cerritos News has obtained a confidential investigation report conducted by the Cerritos-based law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo   over allegations that Santa Fe Springs Councilman Joe Angel Zamora made several inappropriate comments aimed at a Santa Fe Springs Fire Department Engineer and his minor son.

an email to the City by Fire Engineer Pat Carrillo described alleged incidents which went from verbal altercations on the golf course, to another altercation in the golf banquet bathroom, to a third in the banquet hall, that took place at the November Blazing Tees Charity Golf Tournament in Whittier last year.

The investigator interviewed Carrillo, the target of Zamora’s alleged slurs, Councilman Zamora, and fifteen others as outlined in the 90-page report dated June 1, 2020.

 

 

The report found that in all cases, Zamora “more likely than not” launched inappropriate, unprofessional, and sex oriented slurs not only at Carrillo and his son, but others on the course who could hear his loud voice.

A Squirrel?

The saga starts on an incident as strange as the other exchanges on the course; towards the end of the round, a screeching squirrel could be heard in a tree. According to witnesses, Zamora said, “well that is my mating call so if you hear that you’ll know where I’ll be.”

 

Carrillo statement squirrel

 

Carrillo and his son were within earshot of the comment at which time Carrillo commented that “it was an odd statement to make.”

Zamora denied the statement, telling the investigator that this whole incident “is a witch hunt.”

After interviewing the witnesses the investigator found that it was more likely than not that Zamora made the statement.

The investigator found that Carrillo’s statements about the squirrel incident were “consistent, direct, and detailed,” in contrast to Zamora’s which were “indirect, non-responsive vague and ambiguous.”

 

Another Course Incident

The second incident on the course directly involved Carrillo and his high-school aged son who were both wearing matching golf shirts and pants.

Pulling up in his cart, Zamora stated, “what’s up with those shirts?” After Carrillo told Zamora it was his son, Zamora laughed and, while looking up and down at Carrillo and his son, replied, “well I don’t know about that.”

Zamora did not stop, Carrillo testified he said, “what’s up with those leopard shirts,” while yelling at a retired fire chief in another foursome, “hey [former fire chief] Crook what’s up with your guys over there?”

 

 

After interviewing the witnesses the investigator found that it was more likely than not that Zamora “teased rather than complimented Carrillo and his son about the shirts.”

The investigator wrote that Carrillo gave more consistent and detailed information while Zamora was once again “inconsistent, non-responsive, vague, ambiguous.”

The incident was supported by other witnesses who testified that Zamora had teased City Manager Ray Cruz for his shirt at another event in at the Ponte Winery in Temecula.

Cruz was wearing a pink-salmon shirt, seeing the shirt, Zamora was overheard saying “Ray, really?” “Nice shirt Ray,” while lowering and making a gesture with his hand in an effeminate manner.

Both SFS Mayor Bill Rounds and Councilwoman Juanita Trujillo testified they had heard Zamora teasing Cruz, with Trujillo adding more to the report telling the investigator she incurred harassment from Zamora at a Las Vegas convention.

Trujillo testified that her and Zamora were going by a booth that was giving away blue gumballs, she told Zamora that she grabbed some blue ones, to which Zamora responded, “oh yes, of course you would, you like those blue balls.”

They walked by another booth operated by Largo Insurance with the representative handing out traveling headrests. Trujillo asked for a headrest for Zamora to which he replied, “Oh Largo, yes she likes it Largo,” while pointing at Trujillo and making a hand gesture that she interpreted as mimicking a large penis.

Restroom

The next incident was most disturbing and occurred in the restroom of the banquet hall when Zamora walked in, saw Carrillo and his son, and allegedly said, “Aw f**k, you guys?”

It was noted by several witnesses that Zamora had been drinking and had “four or five drinks.”

Zamora then allegedly directed a comment towards Carrillo’s son who had asked Zamora what he said.

Zamora replied, “Well, if I’m in here, you guys can’t be in here because you’re in the wrong restroom.”

 

 

The situation became very heated with the elder Carrillo getting upset and confronting Zamora calling him a “fat f**k” several times.

Many of the witnesses testified that if the statement that Zamora made was indeed true they would’ve reacted in the same manner.

This was atypical of Carrillo’s normal demeanor, according to the investigator, Carrillo has always been noted to be professional and courteous in his 24 year career.

Zamora denied everything saying he did not say the Aw f**k comment, and said he commented on the shirts saying, “nice shirts, cute.”

After interviewing the witnesses, the investigator found that it was more likely than not that Zamora “teased rather than complimented Carrillo and his son about the shirts.”

The investigator wrote that Carrillo described in detail what happened in the bathroom and that Zamora, in part of his statement, actually corroborated Carrillo and included the Cruz pink shirt incident as prior proof.

The investigator also pointed out that Carrillo was more credible because his admissions of profanity went against his best interests, and he could be disciplined.

Banquet Hall

As they left the restroom the altercation continued in the banquet hall in front of a host of witnesses.

Carrillo and his son entered the banquet hall and attempted to find seats, shortly thereafter Zamora approached him and his son in an attempt to apologize.

Carrillo got between him and his son and said in a loud voice to, “get the f**k away from my son… you know exactly what you did… you know what you said… don’t ever harass me again.”

 

People came over to separate the two, they sat down, and according to the investigator, Zamora allegedly kept looking at Carrillo so much so that Carrillo yelled “what the f**k you looking at… what’s your problem?

Zamora denied the allegations saying he went over to talk to Chief Marin who was at Carrillo’s table, and that is when Carrillo said, “what the f**k you are looking at?”

But the investigator found that no other witnesses interviewed supported Zamora’s recollection of the event.

The investigator indicated that it is more likely than not that Carrillo’s description of the altercation was more credible than Zamora’s version.

In the end, the investigator found that Zamora violated the City’s Code of Conduct for Elected and Appointed Officials and the City’s Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation policy.

Since Zamora is an elected official, it is within the City Council’s purview to decide what actions to take.

Any actions against Carrillo will be by his employer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a Comment?