By Mark Gutglueck
Terry Elliott, who is seeking election to the San Bernardino City Council in the Second Ward on June 7, has an extensive history involving fraud, theft and financial misdealings that have resulted in the loss of at least two of his pastorships, civil judgments against him, a bankruptcy and criminal convictions.
Despite his checkered past, Elliott remains as a preacher with the Ship of Zion, a church in San Bernardino, and the San Bernardino Police Department has allowed him to serve in the capacity of a police chaplain. Earlier this year, Elliott was able to leverage his status as a chaplain with the department into an endorsement by the San Bernardino Police Officers Association in his run against incumbent Councilwoman Sandra Ibarra to represent the city’s Second Ward.Ibarra, who was endorsed by the police officers association in her maiden and successful 2018 campaign, found herself on the wrong side of the police department, its management and its officers when she questioned the passivity of the department’s response in the face of looting that took place in sections of San Bernardino on the evening/early morning of May 31/June 1, 2020 when protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police on May 25, 2020 grew unruly. The commercial district along Highland Avenue was as hard-hit by that social maelstrom as anywhere in the 62.45-square mile city. The south side of Highland Avenue falls within San Bernardino’s Second Ward.
Merchants there expressed dismay at the destruction of their stores and the loss of merchandise they experienced while members of the department, who were present that evening nearby en masse, did not physically engage with or obstruct the looters. When Ibarra publicly referenced those businesses’ owners’ discomfiture, the department took that as an affront.
Ibarra stated she did not think the San Bernardino Police Department’s response was aggressive enough in protecting property and businesses that were under siege. She suggested that there were institutional problems with the department that preexisted the May 31/June 1, 2020 riots that had become apparent with that event. Those included, she said, a department that was top heavy and overweighted with brass, one that had too many upper management positions and too few uniformed officers on the streets. She questioned whether the sergeants, lieutenants and captains in the department were “helping the people who work and live in the city.”
A number of police officers took umbrage with Ibarra’s assertion, maintaining they had done the best they could under the circumstances. The police department’s defenders expressed the view that if the police had been more confrontational, given the circumstances, a degree of force that would have led to injuries and death might have occurred, creating an even greater contretemps than what the city already had to deal with.
In response, the San Bernardino Police Officers Association in an open letter blasted Ibarra, saying she had “blatantly attacked the integrity of the men and women of the San Bernardino Police Department,” asserting “Ms. Ibarra’s claim that the San Bernardino Police Department was ineffective is… false.”
Members of the department and the police officers association were intent on seeing Ibarra removed from the council. To their chagrin, however, no opponent from within the Second Ward organically surfaced to challenge her. Just prior to the opening of the filing period for this year’s city council race, Elliott, previously a resident of the city’s Seventh Ward, established a bootlegged domicile in the Second Ward that did not have rental permits with either the city or the county. Members of the police department, it was reported, had encouraged Elliott to make the residency transition to allow him to challenge Ibarra in this year’s contest. That encouragement, according to one report, included financial assistance to Elliott in making that residency accommodation.
In conferring the endorsement on Elliott, the police officers association purposefully neglected to carry out a background investigation on him, bypassing an official or even unofficial production of a report with regard to several specifics about what at least some of the association’s members already knew.
Elliott, a 1982 graduate of Cajon High School, in his twenties embarked on a career path to become a Baptist minister. He settled in Los Angeles County where he became affiliated with a congregation there. But a criminal arrest in 1986, the details of which have now been sealed, followed by another arrest for grand theft on January 26, 1994 that resulted in a felony charge being filed against him on April 21, 1994 and led to his guilty plea on June 10, 1994, complicated his status as a man of the cloth. That plea, taken together with allegations that in his capacity as a preacher he sought to cozen his parishioners out of money, led to his departing from the church he was associated with in Los Angeles County to San Bernardino.
In San Bernardino he became active with two congregations.
In 1998, Reverend Henry Campbell, who in December 1962 had established a church in San Bernardino known as The Ship, passed away. Elliott stepped in to replace Campbell.
1n 1999, Elliott, together with James Marshall, founded the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church as a California nonprofit corporation. The house of worship was located at 1895 Del Rosa Avenue in San Bernardino, on property they had obtained by entering into a purchase agreement with Dan Bochner on the basis of a $1.3 million deed of trust secured by a promissory note that was recorded against the property. Elliott was shown as the pastor and president and Marshall was designated as the chairman and head deacon in the church’s charter.
Old habits die hard, however, and Elliott entered into untoward and unethical financial relationships with some of his church’s congregants, and in one case engaged in acts a federal judge said amounted to fraud when Elliott conned one of the members of his church who had turned to him for help in a time of need, netting more than $75,000 in doing so.
Mt. Zion found its niche, or seemed to, attracting a sizable congregation. By the early 2000s, Elliott had established himself as one of San Bernardino most prominent black evangelists, drawing to himself a degree of notoriety. He at one time was the chairman of the San Bernardino Human Relations Commission, president of the California Bible State Baptist Convention, president of the local chapter of the Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and a member of the San Bernardino Sun editorial board.
Publicly, what was arguably the apex of Elliott’s status and influence came in March 2007. At that point, he scored a considerable coup by hosting the Reverend Jesse Jackson in his tour of San Bernardino, which Jackson crowned with a rousing speech on the effort to counteract the twin demons of crime and urban decay.
Below the surface, however, Mt. Zion for years had been beset with challenges, such that Elliott’s focus had been on mammon as much as on God.
By the early summer of 2004, a Mt. Zion parishioner, Tina Satterwhite, was facing tribulations of her own. She was beset with difficulties at work, and as they mounted, she lost her job, plunging her into financial straits, to the point she could no longer make her mortgage payments. Her lender was on the verge of initiating the foreclosure of her home.
In July of that year, Satterwhite turned to Elliott and Marshall, as her pastor and the head deacon at her church, for spiritual counseling. Elliott advised her that she should sell her home before it was foreclosed upon. Elliott put her in contact with a real estate broker.
Satterwhite’s circumstance worsened when a fortnight later her son was murdered. Distraught, she again turned to Elliott. Satterwhite, inconsolable over the loss of her son and the prospect of being put out on the street, had another meeting with Elliott, this time alone. Elliott confided to Satterwhite that her uncle, Albert Cain, had told him that Satterwhite’s mother, concerned over the deepening state of crisis in Satterwhite’s life, was pursuing the imposition of a conservatorship over her. Elliott said he had looked into what Cain had intimated to him and had indeed verified that there was paperwork relating to the initiation of conservatorship proceedings. Satterwhite then conveyed to her pastor that her family had been less than supportive during her recent set of travails. Having been betrayed by her own flesh and blood, Satterwhite said she was distrustful of her entire family.
Elliott told Satterwhite he could prevent her diminishing assets from falling into the hands of her mother and the others orchestrating the conservatorship over her if upon the completion of the sale of her home she entrusted to him the proceeds from that sale, whereupon he would create a trust account for her by which her money would be safeguarded from her family and managed for her benefit, such that the funds therein could be doled out to her as needed.
Because she believed him to be a “man of God,” Satterwhite would later testify, she took Elliott at his word and put her house up for sale with the real estate agent the minister had recommended. Upon the closing of the sale of the home, Satterwhite, who was alone, met Elliott at the bank where his church had its accounts. Upon his telling her to do so, she endorsed the $107,147.89 check she had received for the house over to the Mt. Zion Church and gave it to Elliott.
Satterwhite’s later testimony stated that Elliott took the endorsed check to one of the bank tellers and she thought he was opening a trust account for her. Bank statements introduced as evidence at trial after Satterwhite sued Elliott, however, demonstrated that Elliott had deposited the check into the “Mount Zion Community Redevelopment Corporation account.” When Elliott returned from the teller window, he gave Satterwhite a money order for $1,000. Satterwhite would later testify that she had tithed a portion of the house sale net proceeds to the church, and believed the balance was placed into a trust for her.
For a time, upon Satterwhite’s request, Elliott periodically provided her with money orders with the notation “TVS Trust” or “TS Trust” written on them, as well as some cash. Eventually, however, Elliott informed Satterwhite that he could not disburse any further money to her because the state was conducting an audit. Thereafter, Elliott began avoiding Satterwhite.
Ultimately, according to Satterwhite, she received $19,783 from the proceeds from the sale of her home.
For some time, Satterwhite sought to get Elliott to acknowledge that he and his church had her money and to disburse it to her in accordance with her requests. When he continued to put her off, she at last went to local attorney Michael A. Scafiddi, who filed a lawsuit on her behalf against Elliott, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church and the Mount Zion Community Redevelopment Corporation on July 20, 2007. Over the years, as Elliott and his attorney, Greta Sedeal Curtis, sought to maneuver around the lawsuit, Satterwhite and Scafiddi had to amend the suit to be inclusive of the name changes made to the Mount Zion Church, those being Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church of San Bernardino, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, an unincorporated religious association; and The Ship Baptist Church.
Elliott and Curtis employed various versions of sleight-of-hand in seeking to get out from under the demand that Satterwhite’s money be provided to her.
In his trial testimony, Elliott denied that a trust for Satterwhite’s benefit was ever contemplated and he further denied telling Satterwhite that he would manage her financial affairs. He denied telling Satterwhite that her uncle had informed him that her mother was seeking a conservatorship over her. Elliott testified that Satterwhite donated the money in question to the church’s “building fund” and then wanted what she had donated to be returned to her. Elliott denied that he had advised Satterwhite to sell her home, but acknowledged he gave her the name of the real estate agent who brokered the sale. He admitted he was at the bank when Satterwhite’s check was deposited, but denied being involved, testifying that two deacons from the church were also present and engaged with Satterwhite. He said he could not remember or did not know why he and the deacons met Satterwhite at the bank.
Elliott gave conflicting testimony with regard to why Satterwhite had provided money to the church, at one point saying the amount she donated was $50,000 and not $107,147.89 and that some funds were returned to her and that he thought Satterwhite was reimbursing the church for financial assistance the church had provided her.
Banking records demonstrated that Elliott’s assertion as to the amount of money involved was inaccurate.
With regard to the creation of a trust, Elliott claimed that the church applied and interpreted the word “trust” differently than Satterwhite apparently understood it, saying the word to him meant money given by members of a family in memorial of a lost loved one to be used by the church. Elliott testified that the disbursements from the account – the $19,783 Satterwhite had received – was charitable assistance given to Satterwhite as part of the church’s benevolent program.
If 2004 had been a crisis year for Satterwhite, then 2007 would prove an inauspicious one for Elliott. Early on, that year had represented something of a pinnacle for Elliott in his mission as an evangelical, but it also marked the beginning of a sharp decline. Less than two months after Elliott had basked in the glow of sharing a space on the pulpit platform with Jackson, Dan Bochner had commenced foreclosure proceedings on the $1.3 million deed of trust secured by a promissory note which was recorded against the property on which the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church stood at 1895 Del Rosa Avenue in San Bernardino. Faced with losing his church and congregation and what he considered his whole purpose in life, Elliott had attorney Greta Sedeal Curtis file to obtain Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church on May 24, 2007.
The bankruptcy petition, filed in the name of Mt. Zion, was signed by Elliott as president of Mt. Zion and by Curtis as the attorney for Mt. Zion. The bankruptcy petition required Mt. Zion to disclose all other names it had used in the previous eight-year period. The document signed by both Elliott and Curtis indicated “None.” As a result of the bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay went into effect, pursuant to applicable bankruptcy law. The wolf at the door to the church – Bochner – was held at bay, at least for the time being, and Mt. Zion remained as an element of San Bernardino’s spiritual community.
Two months later, Elliott and Mt. Zion were hit with Satterwhite’s lawsuit.
On December 20, 2007, Elliott had gone into one of the Stater Bros. grocery stores in San Bernardino which contains an Arrowhead Credit Union facility, where he attempted to use his automatic teller machine card. The machine rejected Elliott’s card and sent an instantaneous alert to Arrowhead’s loss prevention department with an indication that Elliott had deposited a stolen $6,700 check into his account. The Arrowhead employees working at the grocery branch detained Elliott at the Arrowhead branch location long enough for the San Bernardino Police to arrive. In the face of the allegations being made by the Arrowhead employees and information available to the officers dispatched to the Arrowhead Credit/Stater Bros through the Justice Data Interface Controller which cataloged the Elliott’s 1994 grand theft arrest and conviction, the officers arrested him.
Elliott cooled his heels at the jail long enough for the police to ascertain, by means of communication with Arrowhead Credit Union, that the stolen check in question was unrelated to Elliott or his account, at which point Elliott was released.
The incident, in which a local pastor had been arrested on an erroneous charge of check forging/fraud, reverberated up the chain of command at the Arrowhead Credit Union. On December 21, Arrowhead Credit Union President/CEO Larry Sharp, in an effort to make immediate amends, had a letter of apology to Elliott drafted and sent to him along with a $3,000 donation to Elliott’s church. Elliott accepted the donation. Nevertheless, he filed a lawsuit, alleging false imprisonment, discrimination, negligence, defamation and infliction of emotional distress.
Elliott’s lawsuit did not pan out as he had hoped, and he did not make sufficient money off of it to be able to make an exit from the Mt. Zion bankruptcy.
In the face of Bochner’s challenge of the bankruptcy filing, the bankruptcy court in February 2008 made a determination there were grounds to dismiss the bankruptcy because Mt. Zion had not filed various operating reports, the reports that were filed reflected a continuing loss to or diminution in value to the estate and Mt. Zion was unable, after nine months in Chapter 11, to articulate a confirmable plan for reorganization. Rather than dismissing the bankruptcy outright, the court ordered the appointment of a Chapter 11 trustee, Christopher Barclay.
In August 2008, Elliott and Mt. Zion Church, represented by Curtis, filed a petition in San Bernardino County Superior Court to change the name of Mt. Zion to “Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, an unincorporated association.” Filing the Superior Court petition violated the automatic stay in the bankruptcy court.
Upon the bankruptcy court learning of what had occurred, in January 2009, the bankruptcy court issued an order finding that Curtis had committed various violations of law, including willfully violating the automatic stay in the Mt. Zion case for the sole purpose of circumventing the bankruptcy court’s jurisdiction to bolster claim that the Del Rosa Property was owned by “Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, an unincorporated association” and not Mt. Zion Church, and therefore, was not an asset of the bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy court found further violations relating to the financial arrangements between Curtis and the church. The bankruptcy court sanctioned Curtis and Mt. Zion $18,656.50 in attorney’s fees and costs payable to Barclay. The bankruptcy thereupon disqualified Curtis from remaining as counsel for Mt. Zion. Neither Curtis nor Mt. Zion paid the sanction fees.
Meanwhile, the Mt. Zion bankruptcy filing had resulted in the bankruptcy court imposing a stay upon all debt collection/legal efforts toward that effect relating to Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Elliott, meaning Satterwhite’s lawsuit was put on hold.
In the face of the original Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that Curtis made on behalf of the Mt. Zion Church on May 24, 2007, Scaffidi persisted in his representation of Satterwhite, pressing forward with the case against Mt. Zion Church and Elliott in the California court system, within San Bernardino County Superior Court. On March 9, 2010, Judge John Pacheco entered a $75,166.21 judgment against Elliott and Mt. Zion plus interest of $3,994.46 and another $1,225 in attorney’s fees and costs, for a judgment total of $80,385.67.
Elliott, who was yet in bankruptcy court, listed Satterwhite as another creditor from whom, he asserted, he needed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Curtis dismissed the May 24, 2007 bankruptcy filing in order to make a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing on behalf of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, an unincorporated association on April 30, 2010. This triggered the application of Section 362(c)(3)(A), which provides that the automatic stay would terminate on the thirtieth day after the filing of the second case unless the debtor moved for and was granted a continuation of the automatic stay under section 362(c)(3)(B). Curtis did not file on Mt. Zion’s/Elliott’s behalf to extend the automatic stay, and the automatic stay terminated on or about May 30, 2010. On January 19, 2011, an order was entered in the bankruptcy court confirming the termination of the automatic stay. With the termination of the automatic stay, Scaffidi was able to pursue on Satterwhite’s behalf her California state court action against Mt. Zion and Elliott in parallel with the adversary proceeding to determine dischargeability in the bankruptcy court.
The bankruptcy court granted the discharge of Mt. Zion’s and Elliott’s debts on August 5, 2011.
During a September 28, 2011 hearing, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Peter H. Carroll gave indication the matter could advance in state court, with orders for the judgment to be paid on whatever terms and timetable the court deemed appropriate.
Curtis continued to assert within the context of the bankruptcy case and the state court lawsuit brought against Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Elliott that the debt to Satterwhite had already been, through the bankruptcy process, discharged. Thus, for three more years, Satterwhite was frustrated in her effort to recover the money chiseled from her as Elliott through Curtis made representations in state court maintaining the matter of money being owed to Satterwhite was a question under the authority of the bankruptcy court while maintaining in federal court that all of the church’s and Elliott’s prior debt’s should be discharged, meaning a permanent order be entered prohibiting all of Elliott’s and the church’s creditors from taking any form of collection action on the claimed debts, including legal action and communications with the debtor, such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts.
In presenting his case for Satterwhite, Scafiddi did manage to obtain statements from Elliott made under oath in which he acknowledged he did not have advanced degrees, including a PhD, as he has claimed. Scafiffi further demonstrated that Elliott had engaged in action tantamount to fraud.
On June 11, 2014, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge William V. Altenberger rendered a decision and order relating to the final extinguishment of the bankruptcy Elliott had filed on behalf of Mt. Zion Church, which by that point had made the transition from an independently functioning nonprofit church to an unincorporated association and from what was known as Mt. Zion Church to an entity merged with what had been the separate The Ship to become The Ship Of Zion.
In his ultimate finding, Judge Altenberger characterized Elliott, essentially, as a conman.
“This Court concludes that Satterwhite was a more credible witness,” Judge Altenberger said after reviewing all of the evidence and testimony presented. “She was direct and consistent in her testimony. Based upon the debtor’s [Elliott’s] representation that he would hold the funds in trust for her, Satterwhite endorsed the check for the net proceeds from the sale of her house over to the church and gave it to the debtor. Instead of creating a trust for Satterwhite, the debtor deposited the check into the Mount Zion Community Redevelopment Corporation account, and never created a trust account for the benefit of Satterwhite. In contrast, the debtor was at times evasive and uninformed about what had occurred, indicating that other officials of the church knew what had occurred. Additionally, this Court observes that Satterwhite was a person of limited financial means. It is simply not credible that a person of limited financial means would sell her home and give away all of the net proceeds, even to a church.”
Judge Altenberger continued, “The evidence presented by Satterwhite establishes that the debtor deceived Satterwhite into turning over the net proceeds from the sale of her house by telling her that he would open a trust account in her name and hold the funds in that trust solely for her benefit and that he knew at the time he made these representations that they were false and deceptive. The debtor’s intent to deceive may be inferred from the surrounding circumstances. This court finds the facts and circumstances presented by Satterwhite support a finding that the debtor intended to deceive Satterwhite at the time he induced her into turning over the net proceeds from the sale of her house. Finally, this court concludes that Satterwhite’s reliance on the debtor was justifiable under the circumstances of this case, and that she was damaged by such reliance.”
Judge Altenberger went on to state, “Accordingly, this court concludes that the debtor obtained the funds from Satterwhite by false pretenses, a false representation or actual fraud. Satterwhite is entitled to judgment against the debtor in the amount of $75,166.21, and that judgment is nondischargeable in the debtor’s bankruptcy case under & 523(a)(2)(A).”
Ultimately, because of the legal misconduct Curtis had engaged in during her representation of Mt. Zion Church in bankruptcy court, together with her actions with regard to two other cases she handled for other clients in which she was found to have misappropriated nearly a quarter of a million dollars, the California Bar Association took her license to practice law away in July 2014.
Despite the unequivocal findings by Judge Altenberger, for nearly eight years Elliott has yet to provide Satterwhite with the $75,166.21 judgment.
Despite having a church and accompanying congregation in San Bernardino, Elliott has succeeded in ghosting the agents and process servers working with the attorneys representing Satterwhite – Scafiddi, Sarah Powell and George Theios. That would not be possible, the Sentinel was told, without the assistance of the San Bernardino Police.
Elliott has successfully ducked being hauled before a judge to answer for continuing to stiff Satterwhite.
Elliott has had a curious hot and cold relationship with the San Bernardino Police Department. While his December 20, 2007 arrest on what is now acknowledged as mistaken charges of cashing a bogus check was a low point in his interfacing with the San Bernardino’s peace officers, it has been suggested the desire of the department to compensate for that incident, which resulted in his filing a lawsuit alleging false arrest, explains why the department now accords him red carpet treatment. Moreover, Elliott’s status as a preacher with a not insubstantial congregation has provided the department with motivation to restore amicability with him. Since his arrest, Elliott has forged a more positive relationship with the department, indeed has become part of it as a police chaplain. Elliott was appointed to the San Bernardino Public Safety and Human Relations Commission by Mayor John Valdivia. He remains a member of that panel.
In the aftermath of Ibarra’s June 2020 criticism of the police department, a head of steam developed among its officers toward seeing Ibarra removed from office. Reports are extant that the rent on the living quarters at 1364 North D Street that is claimed to be Elliott’s current physical address is being paid for by the police union’s membership and that elements within the police department had knowledge of falsifications that had been perpetrated to fool San Bernardino City Clerk Genoveva Rocha into qualifying Elliott’s candidacy in the Second Ward. Efforts by the Sentinel to verify that Elliott is currently residing at 1364 North D Street have not been successful.
The matter became of far greater significance as the lawyers working on Satterwhite’s behalf intensified their efforts to serve subpoenas and other documents upon Elliott. It is alleged that the police union, intent on preserving the viability of Elliott’s candidacy, has knowledge of his actual whereabouts and is assisting him in sidestepping the process servers who are nipping at his heels.
From its outset, Elliott’s campaign has been unconventional. Generally, candidates for public office seek as much publicity as possible, recognizing that greater name recognition and attention to themselves will increase their prospects of getting elected. Elliott has proven throughout the campaign unapproachable. In light of the accounts of Elliott eluding the court’s order which grew out of the civil case relating to his diversion of the proceeds from the sale of Satterwhite’s home to himself, Elliott’s avoidance of interaction with the public is now a bit more understandable.
Repeated efforts by the Sentinel to obtain comment and/or input from Elliott through multiple phone messages, emails and visits to and messages left at 1364 North D Street have not engendered a response.
The Sentinel this week inquired with Jon Plummer, the president of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association, as to the union’s knowledge of Elliott’s entanglement in the monetary diversion from the sale of Satterwhite’s home. The Sentinel asked Plummer if now that the information relating to Elliott having absconded with Satterwhite’s money has become generally known in the city and particularly among residents of the Second Ward whether he feels it appropriate to allow the union’s endorsement of Elliott to stand. The Sentinel further asked Plummer to explain the union’s process for making its endorsements and whether the union did background checks on the various candidates for city council, including Elliott. Noting that given Elliott’s status as a department chaplain, the department would have a precise fix on where Elliott is actually residing, the Sentinel sought from the department specifics with regard to Elliott’s actual residency status and whether he actually lives in the Second Ward or is still residing in the Seventh Ward. The Sentinel sought from Plummer what it was about Ibarra that so irked the union he heads that it chose to endorse Elliott over her.
Tamrin Olden, the San Bernardino Police Officers Association’s spokesperson, told the Sentinel that the union is standing by Elliott.
“The San Bernardino Police Officers Association is limited in its ability to make any statements regarding the specific claims brought forth regarding City Council Candidate Terry Elliott due to administrative and legal concerns,” Olden said.
“When it comes to the local elections, particularly with the mayor and city council positions, we afford each candidate the opportunity to meet with the San Bernardino Police Officers Association Political Action Committee to share their platform initiatives and answer questions about their plans to improve public safety,” Olden said. “In addition, we discuss what efforts they have already made to demonstrate their willingness and ability to do so. Terry Elliott has been a longtime advocate and partner of the department and association, helping us better serve the community through volunteer work. Examples include helping to create and foster relationships with the community, being there for those in need of spiritual and emotional support through the chaplain program, and collecting donations for the department and community.”
Olden dismissed the suggestion that the union was seeking to place Elliott on the city council because his personality flaws and history of scandal and dishonesty as demonstrated by his inflating of his academic record and theft from a member of his own congregation left him vulnerable to exposure and would allow the police union to control his vote, and exploit that particularly when it came to approving union contracts and raises for the department’s officers.
“To make a statement claiming that our endorsement process, specifically our current council endorsements, is dictated by some alternate agenda is simply incorrect and unfair to both the political action committee and association members,” she said.
Deflecting the hard questions put to him about his department’s relationship with Elliott, Plummer indicated that Elliott met or exceeded the department’s ethical and professional threshold.
“The San Bernardino Police Officers Association endorses candidates that are committed to elevating the standard of public safety in the city, along with providing our police department with adequate tools and resources to enhance the quality of life for those we serve, our citizens and officers in the City of San Bernardino,” Plummer said.
By Mark Gutglueck