Adelanto Councilman Camargo Disputes Report He Is No Longer Living In The City

ADELANTO—(April 13) In the last several weeks there have been recurrent and persistent reports that Adelanto City Councilman Ed Camargo is no longer living within the city and that he had moved into his girlfriend’s home in Victorville.
Camargo has denied the accusation, deploring what he said are patently false rumors that malign both him and the city.
“I live here in town,” Camargo stated publicly at the April 8 city council meeting. Camargo decried the effort of some to delve into his personal life and elevate it into a political issue.
“So I was dating someone in Victorville,” Camargo said. “It’s none of your business,” he said. “We talk about being transparent [but] I don’t have to put my whole personal life out there. I’m done with that rumor. I live in the city.”
Camargo said he needs to stay in Adelanto, since his mother, who was wounded in a knife attack eighteen years ago, lives with him. He said he resented his personal issues being trotted out for public display.
“Get my family out of your mouth,” he told his critics. Anyone who wants to dwell on his personal minutiae, he said, should “come talk to me.”
Camargo’s personal life first loomed into the public spotlight late last year, when he voted on November 19 to approve Geo Group Inc.’s proposal to establish at the northeast corner of Holly and Koala roads in Adelanto a privately-run prison to hold 1,050 inmates from the California Department of Corrections.
Camargo’s girlfriend is an employee of Geo Group, which already operates two detention facilities in Adelanto, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility and Desert View Modified Community Correctional Facility.
It was alleged that Camargo’s favorable vote for the Geo Group project constituted an illegal conflict of interest because, it was alleged, Camargo and his girlfriend had commingled their financial affairs. California Government Code 1090, which prohibits a public official from participating in a decision in which he or she has a financial interest.
Camargo acknowledged after the vote was taken that his girlfriend works for Geo Group but he denied that he and she were cohabiting. Ultimately, Geo Group dropped its bid to open a third facility in the cash-strapped city, essentially closing down the conflict-of-interest, particularly a violation of Camargo said he has kept his finances separate from his girlfriend’s, and that they do not cohabit.
There is special sensitivity in Adelanto about residency and elected official eligibility issues. In 2004, Zoila Meyer was elected to the Adelanto City Council. Meyer was born in Cuba and had emigrated to the United States with her parents when she was a toddler. While she assumed she had been naturalized, she had in fact not been. Officials undertook an investigation, her lack of citizenship was confirmed, and she was removed from office and charged with having fraudulently voted and run for office. In April 2006, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fraudulent voting and was placed on probation, fined and ordered to pay restitution. Subsequently, deportation proceedings were initiated against her.
There is no dispute about Camargo’s citizenship. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has a less than stellar record in prosecuting residency cases such as that which Camargo’s detractors allege applies to him. More than two decades ago, in a case prosecuted by deputy district attorney Karen Ferraro, former Fontana city treasurer Ron Hibble was charged with not being a resident of Fontana while holding the elected treasurer position. Ferraro alleged, proved and Hibble acknowledged that he was sometimes absent from his Fontana home and often spent the night at his girlfriend’s residence in Grand Terrace. The jury ruled, however, that Hibble nonetheless still had a residence in Fontana, and he was acquited.

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