Adelanto Sacks Flores

The City of Adelanto has terminated the contract it has with Jessie Flores to serve as its economic development consultant manager, effective a week from today.
Though Flores was able to fly under the radar during the nearly ten months he has had a consultancy to attract businesses to and generate economic development for Adelanto as well as during the two years he served on the Adelanto Planning Commission prior to that, early this year his checkered past and questionable political and professional associations caught up with him.
In 2006, Flores initiated a relationship with Bill Postmus, who was then First District San Bernardino County supervisor, obtaining a job as a member of the First District supervisorial staff. When Postmus departed to become county assessor in 2007, Flores remained in place in the First District office as a staff member of Postmus’s handpicked successor, Brad Mitzelfelt.
Within two years, Postmus and his career as a public official would implode in what is arguably the largest political corruption scandal in San Bernardino County history.
Undaunted by the end of his political career, Postmus enlisted Flores; Charles Steven Cox; Mitzelfelt; Dino DeFazio, one of Postmus’s business partners and the owner of D & D Real Estate; Adam Aleman, who was formerly one of Postmus’s field representatives and later one of Postmus’s assistant assessors caught up, arrested and convicted in the aforementioned political scandal; Hesperia Unified School District Trustee Anthony Riley, a Postmus political ally; Sentry Home Loans owner and Boys and Girls Club President Helene Harris and her husband Hendon Harris; Mitchel E. Pullman, a principal in Arrowhead Properties, IV, LLC; and Peggy Baker, Charles Steven Cox’s sister-in-law, to create an entity, the Adelanto Charter Academy, which was successfully chartered by the Adelanto School District on August 19, 2009. Postmus, Flores, Cox, Mitzelfelt, DeFazio, Aleman, Riley, the Harrises, Pullman and Baker then looted the charter school, an alternative education venue established using government funding but operating with the sponsorship of, and independently from, an existing public school system.
The group set up a series of for-profit ventures that were hired by the charter school to manage the day-to-day operations and provide academic supplies such as books, paper, pens, pencils, desks, chairs, projectors, computers, etc, at highly inflated rates.
In November 2010, an audit cataloging significant shortcomings in the school’s operations was released, and on May 17, 2011, the Adelanto School District revoked the charter it had granted to the Adelanto Charter Academy. The Adelanto Charter Academy immediately appealed the decision to the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, who upheld the Adelanto School District’s decision on August 1, 2011. The Adelanto Charter Academy appealed the decision to the California Department of Education and continued to operate until notified on April 17, 2012, that “your administrative remedies are exhausted” and “any further appeal of revocation must be sought in a court of local jurisdiction.”
By that point, the eleven individuals behind the school had diverted somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.1 million in money that had been intended for the education of students to their own pockets and bank accounts. The vehicles used to do that included Greater High Desert Lawncare Services, owned by Flores, which billed the charter school; Professional Charter Management, Inc. a since-dissolved corporation with Jessie Flores as its chief executive officer and Dino DeFazio in the capacities of chief financial officer and secretary and Kari Murdock as agent for service of process; and Diamond Limousines, owned by Flores and which billed Adelanto Charter Academy for the use of its limousines. The Adelanto Charter Academy paid those bills.
A group of Adelanto citizens retained the Los Angeles-based Sutton Law Firm, which through attorney Bradley Hertz made three public records requests with the city earlier this month for records pertaining to Flores’ employment, invoices, payments made, reimbursements and emails.
On January 19, Adelanto City Manager Cindy Herrera posted to Flores a letter in which she said, “the city is terminating the independent contractor agreement entered into between Municipal Economic Development Service, Inc. [Flores’ company] and the City of Adelanto on March 29, 2016. The official date of termination will be February 3, 2017. The city is not accusing, or insinuating that, you engaged in any unethical behavior, but the city has a duty to investigate the repeated allegations of misconduct and must suspend this agreement in the meantime.”
Flores has not responded for comment. He has, however, previously asserted that his efforts on behalf of the city were instrumental in establishing the Adelanto Grand Prix and Adelanto Rodeo events and attracting the semi-professional baseball team, the High Desert Yardbirds of the Pecos League, to fill the gap created by the city having terminated the arrangement it had with the California League’s High Desert Mavericks,who for 25 years used Stater Bros. Stadium as that team’s home field.

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