Retaliation at the West Covina Chamber?

 

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Two top executives on the West Covina Chamber of Commerce were fired last week, but at least one of them who got the pink slip is hoping the15 member board changes its mind on Thursday.

Apparently, a couple of weeks ago there was an incident involving board member Luis Chacon. Executive Director Gary Lawson, left, decided it was best that he and two other chamber staffers file a restraining order against Chacon, who allegedly acted unprofessionally and emotionally toward several staff members when Chacon’s estranged wife was speaking with the staffers. 

Just a day or so later, the board held a special meeting to discuss the restraining order. And what they came out of the meeting with was a decision to fire marketing director Monica Cabrera and Lawson, who has served as executive director for 3 1/2 years.

Board members are so far keeping quiet about the “transistion” over at West Covina Chamber of Commerce. Calls to three board members have gone unanswered, and board member Audrey Lynberg had no comment.

At 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, there will be a board meeting to discuss the firings. But Lawson remains “optimistically confident that the team will continue to work together.” This story will appear in tomorrow’s paper.

FYI: The Chamber has a nearly $500,000 budget. It received $75,000 last year from the city, and that number is expected to be cut in half next year as a result of the economy. Lawson makes $65,000 a year.

  • Alot of Nonsense

    So some guy goes bananas because he’s emotional over his estranged wife and who she’s talking to and the guy and gal in charge gets canned? Something doesn’t seem right to me. And to top it off the guy that gets canned is optimistic about continuing to work together?? Must be more to this. Doesn’t make any sense.

  • What is this really about?

    Has anyone stopped to consider why people are not “responding” or not making “comments” towards this incident? Perhaps there IS more to this “firing” story then what has been written in this sad excuse for an article. If there is a need for a restraining order then why feel the need to continue working with a board member who allegedly is hostile? If it was me in an uncomfortable situation where a man is so emotionally distraught over the presence of his wife and is allegedly caring firearms, Id be on out of there and making sure to keep myself away from those who could potentially endanger me, i.e. Mrs. Chacon who is the sole reason for this restraining order. If that REALLY is the reason, Id do my do-diligence to see I have no future connection both friendship and work wise until I felt I was safe. So why would Lawson hope his firing will be a hiccup and want to further work in the presence of hostility even if the boards’ reasons are due to economic hardships? I raise my eyebrows in those scenes. Mr. Lawson, is there something you are not sharing with everyone? Is there something you feel the need to so badly put a restraining order on someone who you clearly know so little about? Does he know something potentially harmful to your career that you feel threatened by him? Are you and your Team covering the errors of your ways or perhaps a scandal? Hmmm, this is where Im most curious. So, there seems to be injustice at play on the behalf of two Chamber members. What does the estranged wife of Mr. Chacon have to comment about this accusation on her husband and why he is being issued a restraining order? Is this restraining order justified? Did Mrs. Chacon too feel threatened? And, if that is not the case, then why is she keeping silent? Clearly she must have something to say since this issue was brought on due to her and her husbands altercation? Why was she not the one to place a restraining order? Her life is the one most at stake. Isnt it? So, since there seems to be no comment from Mrs. Chacon documented in this article, it seems to me there is more behind the reason those two got fired then anything having to deal with their safety. Cover up is what I think. Or it could very well be a result of the economy as being stated. Im also confused about why there was a mention of the 2006 article Was this just to add unnecessary recognition to Mrs. Chacon or was it to assist in publicizing her, what for really? It appears redundant to include it with this story. If she has no take on this issue with her husbands restraining order and the two chamber members then why note in this article a past one about her? There seems to be a lot of nonsense going on here and a couple of issues behind closed doors that seem to be masking as poor accusations and a good possibility of slander.

  • What is this really about?

    Has anyone stopped to consider why people are not “responding” or not making “comments” towards this incident? Perhaps there IS more to this “firing” story then what has been written in this sad excuse for an article. If there is a need for a restraining order then why feel the need to continue working with a board member who allegedly is hostile? If it was me in an uncomfortable situation where a man is so emotionally distraught over the presence of his wife and is allegedly caring firearms, Id be on out of there and making sure to keep myself away from those who could potentially endanger me, i.e. Mrs. Chacon who is the sole reason for this restraining order. If that REALLY is the reason, Id do my do-diligence to see I have no future connection both friendship and work wise until I felt I was safe. So why would Lawson hope his firing will be a hiccup and want to further work in the presence of hostility even if the boards’ reasons are due to economic hardships? I raise my eyebrows in those scenes. Mr. Lawson, is there something you are not sharing with everyone? Is there something you feel the need to so badly put a restraining order on someone who you clearly know so little about? Does he know something potentially harmful to your career that you feel threatened by him? Are you and your Team covering the errors of your ways or perhaps a scandal? Hmmm, this is where Im most curious. So, there seems to be injustice at play on the behalf of two Chamber members. What does the estranged wife of Mr. Chacon have to comment about this accusation on her husband and why he is being issued a restraining order? Is this restraining order justified? Did Mrs. Chacon too feel threatened? And, if that is not the case, then why is she keeping silent? Clearly she must have something to say since this issue was brought on due to her and her husbands altercation? Why was she not the one to place a restraining order? Her life is the one most at stake. Isnt it? So, since there seems to be no comment from Mrs. Chacon documented in this article, it seems to me there is more behind the reason those two got fired then anything having to deal with their safety. Cover up is what I think. Or it could very well be a result of the economy as being stated. Im also confused about why there was a mention of the 2006 article Was this just to add unnecessary recognition to Mrs. Chacon or was it to assist in publicizing her, what for really? It appears redundant to include it with this story. If she has no take on this issue with her husbands restraining order and the two chamber members then why note in this article a past one about her? There seems to be a lot of nonsense going on here and a couple of issues behind closed doors that seem to be masking as poor accusations and a good possibility of slander.

  • Makes No Sense

    Why would Gary Lawson believe that being fired is retaliation for placing a restraining order on Luis Chacon? To me, it seems as if there was more going on when it comes to both Lawson and Cabrera’s work ethics. It seems a little sketchy as to why Carolina Chacon has yet to file a restraining order, or even better, commented on this whole situation, when in all actuality this has everything to do with her and not Lawson or Cabrera. I’m led to believe that there is more to this story, as mentioned above by “What is this really about?”, and think that there quite possibly could be some sort of scandal going on. If Lawson was so afraid of Chacon coming back with firearms the day of the supposed incident, then why would he stick around and risk his life? This all makes absolutely no sense to me. I believe that Chacon was accused of something that is not true because Lawson and Cabrera are threatened by what kind of information he might have on them. They must have come up with some type of incredible story, which in turn Jennifer McLain believed and has printed, and ran with it so that they could stay out of the lime light and get rid of Chacon. I believe that this would be considered defamation of character and that Mr. Chacon should counter sue both Lawson and Cabrera.

  • Somethins Zup

    Well after reading the above blogs and the article in the paper today it appears that Lawson was fired as retaliation. If Lawson believes the vote to fire him was incorrect and will be reversed this week as stated in the article, then seems to me the board members that let him go are up to something. Perhaps they have somethin to hide. By the way who were the board members that voted to fire him, and why wasn’t the entire board included in the decision??? Somethins Zup…

  • anonymous

    Well one thing is crystal clear: “makes no sense” won’t being getting hired by any law firms in the near future. While I enjoy the passion of his rant, his legal advice is WAY off base.

  • Chamber Member

    So of the board members who were present? Mike Miller doesn’t own a business unemployed, Yolanda Davis Quarre doesn’t own a business unemployed fired by Citrus Valley Health Partners lives in La Canada Flintridge, Luis Chacon doesn’t own a business unemployed lives off estranged wife who he was yelling at, not sure where his wife’s paying his rent. His allowance must have been late! Trya Mason I am not sure what she does, Laura Santos Royal Coaches in Baldwin Park spokesperson she is an elected official lives in Bassett, Audra Lynberg doesn’t own a business unemployed, Nathan Kirschenbaum Stellar Business Bank in Covina. This was an underhanded move so Mike Miller could finally get a job. Watch people one of these board members are trying to get the job of the Ex. directors, that’s what this is all about. If the entire board does reinstate the leadership one of these people will get the job. How do you have a board meeting of 15 members and only invite 7 with out calling the other 8 members? Sounds dirty Miller!!

  • Okay So

    Well Chamber Member it seems you are in the know. So anotherwords these seven board members have a plan to oust the current directors and give a couple of other board members those positions…Wow sounds really bizarre and not too professional. I have always thought chamber members were buddies, but this is ridiculous. Question, if a couple of these board members do get the positions of the ousted folks won’t they get paid to do the job or are they going to work for free??????

  • Chamber Member

    Okay so, I like your question! The chamber used to be Business owners and managers of businesses in West Covina. Now it’s a group of people that don’t own a business and/or are retired or unemployed people. In the past they weren’t members, you needed to own or work for a business in West Covina and normally lived in West Covina. Now it’s people living somewhere else representing businesses from somewhere else not West Covina or the unemployed 5 of the 7 are unemployed. One third of the board is unemployed close to half don’t own businesses and half don’t own businesses in West Covina. It’s a social club not a Chamber of Commerce, they should hold their meetings at the unemployment office. They are already getting paid by the State of California.

  • WOW

    Gary Lawson is an upstanding guy. He’s been around forever doing great things for the kids in our community, not to mention helping that chamber even with all its crazy politics. Can’t imagine him wanting to stay there, I’d move on and let them self destruct. They seem to be doing a great job of it!

  • Interesting

    I agree, Gary Lawson has always been an upstanding guy. I guess when you have a job that is controlled by a handfull of people that are volunteers, there is some difficulty. Now, saying this, those “volunteers” CAN be replaced. Why should Mr. Lawson leave his job because of those angr,job-less people?

    It smells fishy… I sure hope the truth comes to the surface.

    PS – you don’t just get a restraining order if you want one, it has to go through a process and be approved by a judge…… hmmmmmmm

  • Anonymouse

    Seems too many little minded people need to have power over others, such as the board people. But in real life what do they have, probabley nothing. They want to be something important and the only way to make themselfs feel better is to fire good hard working people. Sure seems like something is rotten at the chamber, especialy if you need a restraining order from a guy who might be a bit off center and you feel threatened. Feel sorry for the guys wife not to mention the workers at the chamber. The chamber sounds more like a nasty bar instead of a place of business.

  • One of the MANY effected by the Chamber entourage

    Politics are all rotten from city based to government, this is already apparent and West Covina isn’t the first. No person on the board nor hired by the board can save face value of not aiding to corruptness. Everyone including past and present are at fault whether you like to believe it or not. People in “power” can never not have alterative motives, whether it be to boost one’s ego (which is just about 99.9% of them) or to help get them somewhere else for more publicity. None really have the intensions of helping the “city and the people of that city”. I don’t say this about all of them (as there are always exceptions), however, I have yet to meet one from the West Covina Chamber that actually is an exception. Most have a “selfish” mentality and want to step on whom ever or what ever to get to where they would like to be no matter how unethical it may be. Most are portrayed as kind, helpful and “upstanding” and quite frankly, none are actually able to say with a straight face themselves that that is true about them. So, unless the people of the city (which none really know about this) are willing to do something about it, then nothing will change. And as for feeling sorry for that guys wife, don’t, because she, like the rest, is everything that was described above.

  • Conundrum

    Conundrum

    Chamber Member, why are you a “Chamber Member” if you are not too fond of the Board of this West Covina Chamber? If you see the Board (which you obviously know very well)as such, then why associate yourself with the likes of them. Hmmmmm.

  • Chamber Member

    To Conundrum, Most of the Chamber Members’ aren’t like this. The Chamber is not the problem it’s some of their Board of Directors. I don’t associate with those Board of Directors, I would rather have my teeth pulled without novacaine!

  • Oh So True

    Chamber Member you make some valid points. Some of the board members do have issues with power, importance, phoniness and the like, while some truly just want to take care of business. I have been to some chamber events and have witnessed some of these individuals. The estranged ones want power, the elderly ones want to be important, the phony ones want attention. I’m sure we have all seen the goofy ones. And the ones we typically don’t see are the ones taking care of business.

  • Love West Covina

    Is the Mike Miller everyone is talking about here the older man that lost by thousands and thosands of votes when he tried to get re elected to city council? I thought He told everyone he was “done” and going fishing?
    and if it is the same man what does he do for a living?

  • Chamber Member

    It’s the same Mike Miller! He is going fishing for the job of Executive Director at the Chamber. But he needs to fire the current Executive Director so he can get the position. So He (Mike Miller) his campaign manager Audrey Lynberg and his campaign staff Yolanda Davis Quarre, Luis Chacon and Tyra Mason are trying to help him get the position. They are all Chamber Board of Directors. It all smells dirty!!!!! They all need to quit.

  • Question for Chamber Member

    Chamber Member if you recall in the recent newspaper article, a board member named Santos (I believe thats her name)said the firing is all about finances and lack of funds due to economic times. Well if thats true will Mr. Miller board director get paid or just volunteer? And you never answered Love West Covina’s question: What does Mr. Miller do for a living? Or does he just live off his retirement money from the city??

  • West Covina Watcher

    Its all true Mike Miller is the PAID CEO of west covina chamber.I hear He had help from Roger Hernandez in pushing the deal through

  • Whatever

    If comments by West Covina Watcher are true than why hasnt Jen commented on it? Are you sure you have your facts strait

  • Chamber Member

    Mike Miller owns Mike Miller & Associates a consulting firm but when he was on the City Council he never listed any clients or income. He spends most of his time working with Fred Sykes, Alfred Williams and Roger Hernandez trying to get Council Districts in West Covina, so he can get back on the Council. He lost by close to 2500 votes, so his Campaign Staff moved over to the Chamber and got on the Board of Directors their. Now we have problems there at the Chamber, Good Job Mike Miller we owe it all to you. Same problem when Mike Miller was at the West Covina Historical Society the City had a claim filed against it by a contractor who said Mike Miller wanted some of the money the City was going to spend on the Taylor House. The Claim is on file at City Hall check for your self.

  • Anonymous

    OUCH!

  • Whats Up

    Hey Jen the article your wrote last week on this chamber thing said thered be a meeting on Thurs. but havent seen anything. Whats Up?

  • Akhilesh Gulati

    This does not seem to be an isolated case – at least as far as the culture of this Chamber is concerned. I think of them as folks filling their pockets rather than helping businesses! They sign contracts, get the work done and then do not pay!!!

    To top it off, even their paid CEO does not respond to calls, letters or faxes! That is the audacity of this Chamber.

    The tone of an organization is set by the CEO, and in this case the CEO Mike Miller sets the tone: get the work done and do not worry about paying the small businesses – after all what can they do!!

    What a Chamber attitude.