Interest money

More special interest money: Cerritos contestant Lynda Johnson took $4,900 from Cerritos Auto Square

Lynda Johnson

Yet another major donation from the biggest revenue generator in town. The CAS has towed other incumbents, including current acting mayor Vo, thousands for his campaign; what do they want?

April 4, 2022

By Brian Hews

I am launching a 100% transparent campaign.

~ Lynda Johnson at a recent candidate forum

Special interest money goes into the Cerritos City Council campaign, and it all goes to one candidate.

A review of campaign donation forms from current Cerritos candidate Lynda Johnson shows a $4,900 donation from Cerritos Auto Square.

The donation is in addition to several other questionable contributions.

Accepting the donation creates a conflict of interest if Johnson were to be elected and a council vote emerged regarding CAS.

The dispute is tripled, with two other elected officials, current interim mayor Chuong Vo and council member Naresh Solanki, taking $10,000 and $1,500 respectively from the CAS.

And the Johnson money tap didn’t stop.

Additional documents show Johnson recently took $1,000 from embattled LASD Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece last Sunday titled, The sheriff’s saga gets stranger – and more destructive, the editorial board wrote, “Alex Villanueva’s irresponsible comments offer a window into his dishonest character.”

The donation creates another glaring conflict of interest; Cerritos pays more than $14 million a year to LASD, whose own station is in the city.

Johnson is also an on-field representative for Villanueva; with the Cerritos station, some have made accusations of inconsistent charges between the LASD and Johnson if elected.

Those same documents show a donation of $4,900 for the Pasadena-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11 Political Action Committee.

The total special interest Johnson has collected is more than $21,000 for work that brings in $29,000 a year. The rest of his donations are modest and total $10,000.

money from interest

Johnson cashed $5,000 in checks from senior executives at the Newport Beach-based developer Picerne Group, which built the upscale Aria apartments in Cerritos. Another $5,000 came from developer KC Towers LLC and associates.

A recent investigation by HMG-CN revealed that KC Towers was linked to the Picerne group. Senior sources at Cerritos City Hall told HMG-CN that there are plans for a large housing development in Cerritos at Bloomfield and South Street.

The HMG-CN investigation obviously hit the mark; in his closing remarks at a recent debate, instead of talking about his platform for Cerritos, Johnson criticized HMG-CN for reporting donations and that “everything was transparent.”

Johnson never explained why these obscure companies would give thousands of dollars to someone with no experience in municipal governance and was shunned by fellow ABC school board trustees as she pined for chairman of the board.

Johnson has been shrouded in controversy during her political career, the last when Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn demanded that she resign as chair of the Cemetery District Directors Board of Directors. ‘Artesia after an HMG-CN investigation into the council’s finances revealed irregularities and the award of a big contract to a dodgy firm.

Similar to Cerritos Mayor pro tem Chuong Vo, a Freedom of Information Act public records request by Hews Media Group-Community News found that Johnson took more than $7,500 in “cash” payments when she was elected to the board of ABC. Cash in lieu is a fraudulent way for Johnson to receive a check each month from the cash-strapped district “in lieu” of health insurance.

She’s just not the first to be elected, said one resident after the debate who did not want to be identified, “she was a hothead on the ABC school board dealing with trustees outside of meetings, and she has helped defeat the first attempt at compulsory education, which was much needed.The administrators were very happy that she lost in her first bid for re-election.