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HMG EXCLUSIVE: Central Basin Water Candidate Stinnett Campaigns While On Probation For Drug And Alcohol Related Crimes

[Far right} Media Specialist for the City of Commerce Jason Stinnett.


His claim of integrity rings hollow as history of DUI’s, drug and alcohol convictions, and paternity suit are uncovered by HMG-CN.

By Brian Hews and Randy Economy

A months-long investigation by Hews Media Group-Community News has revealed that the city of Commerce’s Media Specialist Jason Stinnett who is also a current candidate for Central Basin Municipal Water District Division 3 has, since 1996, been convicted of drunk driving, reckless driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, knowingly operating a vehicle with a suspended license, and ordered to pay $5,000 in back child support as a result of a heated paternity lawsuit filed in 1996.

The violations and convictions were confirmed by legal court documents requested and obtained by HMG-CN.

In a stinging rebuke of the city of Commerce’s employment background inspection policies, Stinnett has been on and off probation since March of 1996, and is currently on probation until Nov. 8, 2014.

Said one source inside Commerce City Hall who did not want to be identified, “Commerce City Council-members Tina Baca Del Rio, Ivan Altamirano, and Joe Aguilar have known Stinnett had these convictions for years, Stinnett has the votes, which is why he is still employed here.”

Stinnett received donations to his campaign and was endorsed by  Baca Del Rio, Altamirano, and Aguilar raising even more questions as to whether the council members knew of and were concealing Stinnett’s criminal past.

Stinnett was also endorsed several other area politicians including California District 58th Assembly-woman Cristina Garcia, 33rd District Senator Ricardo Lara, Artesia Mayor pro tem Miguel Canales, Cudahy Mayor Chris Garcia, Downey Mayor pro tem Luis Marquez, Maywood Councilmembers Oscar Magana and Eddie De La Riva, El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero, and Long Beach Councilmembers Al Austin and Lena Gonzalez.

Court documents obtained by HMG-CN show that on March 5, 1996 Stinnett was charged with three counts of drunk driving. He was convicted on one count of driving under the influence and sent to alcohol abuse and prevention programs.

He was also placed on three years probation and his license was suspended.


During his time in those programs he failed to check in twice, causing his probation to be revoked and two bench warrants issued in the amount of $28,000.

On July 15, 1996 Stinnett was charged with knowingly driving with a suspended license. He was again placed on three years probation and fined $561.


Three days later on July 18, 1996, Stinnett was charged with failing to appear in court and another bench warrant of $15,000 was issued. He subsequently showed up for another court date and plead guilty to failing to appear with the stipulation he would not miss additional court dates.

His probation was reinstated and the warrant was revoked.


In October of 1996 Stinnett had a judgment entered against him by then district attorney Gil Garcetti and the Bureau of Family Support Operations and ordered to pay $5,015 in child support and begin paying health insurance for his child. The case was filed Sept. 23, 1996.






Less than five years later, on March 14, 2011, Stinnett was once again charged with driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

He pled down and was convicted of reckless driving where alcohol and drugs were involved in the incident. He was once again placed on probation for three years and ordered to pay a $1,500 fine.


When contacted by HMG-CN, CBMWD Director Art Chacon remarked, “If Jason is campaigning based on his integrity, I don’t think the voters will agree with his standard for honesty.  He doesn’t seem shy about bashing his opponents, but given his past that speaks volumes about his character.”

Norwalk Planning Commissioner Scott Collins commented, “This guy is a hypocrite, as well as being a dead-beat dad.  It’s common knowledge that he is aligning himself with “teacher jail” Roybal, “qui tam” Vasquez, and “sexual batterer” and Calderon-surrogate Apodaca.  Given Stinnett’s history, he would be a perfect fit with these criminals.”

HMG-CN first reported that Director Jim Roybal was drawing an illegal salary from Central Basin while also assigned to Los Angeles Unified School District’s “teacher jail”.

Director Leticia Vasquez is pursuing a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit against former contractors and employees of CBMWD which could net her over $2-million if she prevails, and has cost the District over $270,000 in legal fees.

Director Bob Apodaca was the target of a sexual battery lawsuit by a former contractor that was recently settled for $670,000.  Additionally, Bob Apodaca was formerly employed by Senator Ron Calderon and voted to hire Ron Calderon’s brother Tom as a consultant for Central Basin.  Ron and Tom Calderon were both indicted in February of this year on multiple federal criminal charges including money laundering, bribery and tax fraud.

One Commerce community activist who knows Stinnett well commented, “Stinnett is a co-owner of a bar in Fullerton, and is well-known for his “party-hearty” attitude.  During a party at Stinnett’s house, things got out of hand and a person was shot and killed.  Doesn’t the District have enough problems without adding another act to the circus?”

When contacted by HMG-CN a former State Democratic Party official said, “no doubt Stinnett mislead the endorsement panel and failed to mention his convictions and current probation status. This is a big black eye for the party at a time when all three indicted and convicted State Senators are members of the Democratic Party.  This is a huge embarrassment in my opinion.”

Commerce activist Jaime Valencia commented, “what does it say that Stinnett would add his mother’s maiden name of Gardea solely for the purpose of seeking the Latino vote? That action wasn’t done out of sincerity, it was for his own selfish personal benefit.  If he loses this election, I’m sure the Gardea reference will disappear once and for all. If this guy really wanted to honor his Latino heritage, he would have added his mother’s name years ago.  Stinnett’s as genuine as a $3 bill.”

After being confronted with the evidence Stinnett issued a tersely written statement and sent it to HMG-CN late Thursday afternoon. In his prepared remarks Stinnett said the following:

“Let me begin by addressing the so called “heated paternity suit” you mentioned because that directly affects my daughter. As a young father, I wasn’t able to afford representation to address the welfare fraud committed against Los Angeles County by my daughter’s mother. Her mother left when she was less than a year old. I was a single parent and the sole provider for my daughter from childhood to adulthood. There was a custody agreement that was settled amicably in mediation without a hearing which ordered her mother to pay child support to me as the parent with primary custody.”

He went on to say, “it’s sad the Los Cerritos News is writing a story about incidents that occurred almost 20 years ago. I am not going to talk about something that happened in my youth. However, if and when the Los Cerritos News wants to have a discussion about the future of the Central Basin Municipal Water District, by all means, let’s have it.” 

© 2014-Eastern County Newspaper Group-Hews Media Group, reproduction by attribution only.

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