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La Mirada Councilman Sarega Files Questionable Lawsuit in an Attempt to Financially Injure Lamplighter Newspaper

La Mirada Councilman Andrew Sarega. Picture courtesy aschaper1.blogspot.com

 

 

Sarega files lawsuit in “Pro Per” representing himself and paying nothing in legal fees.

By Brian Hews

La Mirada Councilman Andrew Sarega has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior court in a blatant attempt to financially injure the 44 year old La Mirada Lamplighter newspaper and possibly force its closing.

The lawsuit challenges the 43 year-old legal adjudication of the newspaper, a critical source of revenue that enables the Lamplighter to operate.

Sarega filed the lawsuit in “Pro Per” representing himself and paying nothing in legal fees.

However, the owner of the Lamplighter, Hews Media Group and Brian Hews was forced to hire an attorney and pay a substantial retainer to fight the lawsuit.

“The Lamplighter is a free newspaper,” said Hews, “this is a nuisance lawsuit, this is Sarega’s intentional effort to inflict damage on the newspaper.”

HMG-CN’s attorney Scott Talkov of Riverside based Reid and Hellyer said, “Mr. Sarega’s complaint alleges that the La Mirada Lamplighter is not in compliance with rules relating to newspapers of general circulation that are found nowhere in the law. Mr. Sarega is making up legal standards that do not exist.”

Sarega’s actions stem from a series of investigative articles by the Lamplighter that prompted a Fair Political Practice Commission investigation against the controversial councilman, candidate Tony Aiello, and an independent expenditure committee called Residents for a Better La Mirada, (“RBLM”).

The first story, published Feb 26 of this year, documented RBLM’s expeditures supporting Sarega and Aiello that slammed their opponents John Lewis and Pauline Deal.

 

DARK MONEY DONATIONS INFLUENCING LA MIRADA CITY COUNCIL RACE

 

Two days later, the second story broke documenting a strong connection between RBLM, Sarega, and Aiello.

It is illegal under the Political Reform Act for candidates to coordinate with independent expenditure committees.

The story documented several USPS campaign mailers paid for by Sarega and Aiello, along with mailers that slammed Sarega and Aiello’s opponents paid for by RBLM, were printed at the same company in Texas and mailed from the same post office in Texas.

 

LA MIRADA CITY COUNCIL CAMPAIGN EMBROILED IN CONTROVERSY AND POSSIBLE ILLEGAL COORDINATION

 

A third story one week later showed collaboration between Sarega and Aiello on campaign administrative details.

According to Sarega’s LinkedIn page, he is co-founder of SAS Marketing.

An internet records search indicated that SAS and Sarega was the registered owner for Aiello2017.com which was Aiello’s campaign website address.

A similar search shows that that SAS and Sarega was the registered owner for Andrewsarega.com which was Sarega’s campaign website address.

 

Additional Connections Are Troubling Between La Mirada Council Candidates Aiello and Sarega

 

Additionally, the investigation found Sarega’s company, which leases its business space and is not located in La Mirada, was suspended by the Franchise Tax Board.

 

La Mirada District 2 City Council Candidate Andrew Sarega’s Business Was Suspended by Franchise Tax Board

 

On Mar. 24 2017, based on the series, the FPPC opened an investigation on Sarega, Aiello, and RBLM.

 

La Mirada Lamplighter Expose´: Fair Political Practices Commission Opens Investigation On Citizens for a Better La Mirada and City Councilman Andrew Serega

 

Three weeks later, on April 13, 2017, Sarega filed his lawsuit against the Lamplighter.

But Sarega, and his controversial father Ion Sarega, were not satisfied with just filing the lawsuit.

On Tuesday May 16 Sarega and his father waited outside HMG-CN offices in Cerritos for publisher Brian Hews to emerge.

“It was 6 PM at night, I was walking out to my car and Andrew’s dad Ion approached me in a menacing manner. I was surprised and told him to get away from me, and that is when Andrew got out of the car and approached me also. ”

Hews pulled out his iPhone and took pictures and video to document the harassment as the two scurried back into Sarega’s late model Lexus.

“As soon as I started snapping pictures they got back in their car, ” said Hews.

 

La Mirada Councilman Andrew Sarega and His Dad Ion Harassing Lamplighter Publisher

 

“It’s obvious Sarega filed this lawsuit to injure the Lamplighter which shows Sarega is more interested in revenge than the City he was elected to represent,” said Hews.

The Lamplighter is the only community newspaper in La Mirada publishing several stories and press releases for the City each week. We keep the residents informed about what is going on in La Mirada, and we are also the watchdog, keeping an eye on City Hall, no other newspaper does that.”

HMG-CN recently filed court documents to have Sarega’s lawsuit thrown out, the hearing is in August.

 

 

 

5 Responses to La Mirada Councilman Sarega Files Questionable Lawsuit in an Attempt to Financially Injure Lamplighter Newspaper

  1. George Medina Reply

    July 16, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    A groundless attack on the free press is an attack on everyone of us who uphold the Constitution as the foundation of honesty, integrity and decency expected of any one seeking public office.

    Councilman Sarega’s attempt to injure the Lamplighter for doing it’s job is a Trump mentality attempt of silencing the free press for sharing their findings which may expose corruption and dishonesty of public officials.

  2. I hope this is a situation that is covered by state anti-Slapp laws, this is clearly retaliation against Mr Hews for exercising his right to free-press.

    This article leads me to believe he is seeking to deprive the Lamplighter of ad and legal publication revenue by questioning the legitimacy of the paper.

    The loss of this paper would be a tremendous loss to the community leaving La Miradans with the Monrovia-based Whittier Daily News which puts out just one or two articles a month of LM news.

    Sarega should just move on with his life and go out and find a new paycheck since Newport Beach police is done with him.

  3. Cleaver Reply

    August 2, 2017 at 8:16 am

    It’s not a SLAPP lawsuit, so your wishes for an Anti-SLAPP are moot. Further, even if the lawsuit was to restrict Hewes speech, he is using his paper, funded by public funds, to advance a personal agenda. That in itself is troubling. To run around and say the sky is falling when he caused the sky to fall simply to make a story about someone or something he and the rest of the council despises, but who the community voted for, is disingenuous. Hewes should concentrate on the MMBA violations taking place by the other 4 councilmen and their immature antics.

    • Brian Hews Reply

      August 11, 2017 at 9:24 am

      The paper is not funded by the City, I own the legal adjudication, just like the Whittier Daily News, Los Angles Times, and other newspapers, they all get public notices and public funds, your argument is moot. Sarega attacked the paper not for the story but for the adjudication, attempting to financially injure a newspaper that is the only newspaper in La Mirada publishing free press releases (those have value too yes?) free crime reports,etc. Who is disingenuous???

  4. Cleaver, or is it Mr. Sarega, this being a SLAPP suit is a matter for a court to decide.

    It’s pretty obvious the purpose of the suit is to deprive the paper of revenue from ads the city places in response to news coverage of Sarega and the village idiot, Tony Aiello.

    Cleaver you note that there might be dirt to be found on the other members of the city council. Why not spill the beans?

    Funny how Sarega and Aiello allege a witch hunt but fail to address the accusations. If the accusations are bogus, the innocent should clear the air. But that hasn’t occured, right?

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