Why Does Our Focus Our Kids Need a Fake News Section?

There are a couple of voices on social media platforms who are spinning fake news stories to try and convince citizens of Beaumont that all The City of Beaumont's current officials, elected and appointed, are continuing the corruption which resulted in 6 former officials pleading guilty to felony charges.

In 2014, I ran for the Beaumont city council. I had learned about the efforts of one of these individuals, a consultant, Elizabeth Uremovic, hired by a Beaumont business owner and a resident of nearby Cherry Valley, Judy Bingham. Ms. Uremovic was hired to search for the corruption Mrs. Bingham suspected had been existing in Beaumont for years.

I first met Mrs. Bingham sometime in 2013 when I reached out to her to find what was driving her and to ask her if she would share with me the information she was receiving through her public records request. This is when I first became acquainted with her consultant, "Libi". Shortly after we met, Mrs. Bingham and Ms. Uremovic worked with me to help me understand what they had uncovered. Shortly afterwards, Mrs. Bingham, along with a handful of other Pass area residents asked to meet with me. They encouraged me to run for City Council in 2014. Mrs. Bingham was one of the first financial contributors to my campaign. Contrary to additional false claims by Ms. Uremovic (Libi), Mrs. Bingham never asked me to return her contribution.

I was able to raise awareness through campaign mailings of the financial problems plaguing our city. The 2014 election resulted in the replacement of three incumbents with nearly 40 years of combined experience on the Beaumont City Council.

The new Council quickly exposed a shell company, The Steiner Group, set up by the former city manager, Alan Kapanicas, to funnel funds to the consulting firm, Urban Logic. Only a few weeks after The Steiner Group's President admitted in open council that Kapanicas had direct her to create the company, the Riverside District Attorney raided City Hall, the City Manager's personal residence, and the offices and homes of Urban Logic's principals. The three princiapls of Urban Logic had been acting as the City's major department heads beginning in 1993. In 2017, City Manager Alan Kapanicas and his Finance Director, William Aylward plead guilty to felonies including embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds. The principals of Urban Logic Dave Dillon, Deepak Moorjani and Ernie Eggers also plead guilty to committing felonies.

Days after the raids of City Hall, in the spring of 2015, the three new council members, along with two who had been serving before 2014, began moving quickly to replace the City Attorney and City Manager. The Finance Director and Chief of Police both resigned.

In the 2016 election, two new council members were elected to the council. In the summer of 2017, one of the council members elected in 2014, Mark Orozco, plead guilty to a felony charge of soliticiting a bribe. He was replaced by an appointed council member at the end of 2017. Beaumont's current council members, City Manager, City Attorney, and Finance Director had no affiliation with the City of Beaumont prior to 2014.

Ms. Uremovic and the friends of Kapanicas, once on different sides of the battlelines, have now joined forces to prevent the new leadership from rebuilding Beaumont. Their campaign involves posting fake news and making personal attacks against the good honest people who have stepped up to serve their community during its darkest hours.

Ms. Uremovic is using her early success in Beaumont to promote the services she offers online. On her business web site, she solicits residents in cities who believe there is corruption taking place in their city to hire her to investigate. One would think after uncovering the corruption in Beaumont, working with the City's staff and Council to pick up the pieces would be the best way to market her skills services to future customers. Instead, she is showing prospective clients that she cares nothing for their city and her goal would be to destroy their local government with no concern what happens then. I can't tell you why she has selected the business plan she has but her desperation to spin the fake news in Beaumont tells me she hasn't been able to gain very many new clients.

The friends of Kapanicas and the others, including a former council member, have a more straight forward agenda, they are motivated by revenge, and a desire to return to power. 

The Fake News section of my website will be dedicated to exposing the fake news articles from Ms. Uremovic and the others and present a focus on the facts. We need to continue rebuilding Beaumont and the trust of its citizens in its leaders.

Trust depends on truth.