When I think of my high school days, I rarely have a memory that doesn't include my best friend, Steven. We played football together, we rented a limo to prom together and we hung out almost every day playing video games.
I'm proud to say Steven is still my best friend. Since I don't have any brothers, he was my best man and baptized one of my kids. It's very hard to break a bond with someone you've known since your formative years and spent almost every single waking hour with.
Why do I bring this up in a blog about the city of West Covina? Simple: City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman and local businessman/developer Henry "Hank" Attina.
Word around the campfire is these two are like two peas in a pod. They've been friends for ages. Best friends? I have no idea. But neither one has ever denied being friends. Our friends (well, we're not friends yet but I'm hoping to be) at the Foothill Cities blog lays out the relationship nicely with an article from former Whittier Daily News Reporter Ben Baeder.
Still, you ask, what does this have to do with West Covina?
Because what has been done in Montebello has happened in West Covina but no one knows about it. Why? I don't know.
This is what I do know: The West Covina Senior Villas was built with Telacu. The city gave Telacu about $4 million to build them back in 2002. They started negotiations and such in October of 2001, according to this document. And who was working to bring the Villas to West Covina? Why Hank Attina, of course. And who would be the negotiator on behalf of the city? The city attorney. In this case, Arnold Alvarez-Glasman.
Now, according to the story by Mr. Ben Baeder, Alvarez-Glasman hasn't worked as Attina's lawyer in years; certainly years before this negotiation between the city and Telacu. So it's all good, right?
Wrong, is what a source out of the city of Rosemead tells me (she read my first blog posting and wanted to give me a juicy tip). Apparently this woman wanted to keep Alvarez-Glasman out of her city and dug up a couple of skeletons.
Apparently, Mr. Attina had a little too much to drink one night back in May 2001 and decided to drive home. He got pulled over, arrested and charged with a DUI (he's practically a celebrity already!). When he appeared in court he had an attorney representing him. The attorney: Arnold Alvarez-Glasman. How that guy hasn't gotten his bar card pulled by now is beyond me.
Now I ask, is there a conflict of interest here? I think so, but it's not my opinion that matters. It's the folks at the California Bar Association. I heard a complaint was lodged against Alvarez-Glasman for this very issue, but that is all speculation, fourth-party hearsay and whatnot. He's obviously still practicing law so that means no complaint was lodged, or the bar threw it out.
I don't know what will come of this post, but I hope something. Anything. I just feel uncomfortable about how cozy everyone in leadership positions are with people who want our money to build things or buy our land on the cheap.