(Photo by Benoit Malphettes. benoitmalphettes.com)
Hardy Brown Sr. | Contributor
It was after the regular West Valley Water District Board Meeting earlier this month on March 7th that Dr. Clifford Young approached me as I was talking with Don Griggs and Anthony Roberson and said “stop telling lies on my friend Don Rogers and me.” I responded by asking what lies and he responded, “Hardy you are in the newspaper business and know that ‘defamation of people’s character’ can get you sued and Don Rogers has a lot of money. I took his comments as a personal and direct threat to prevent me from having my words read by someone at public meetings and for me to stop writing articles of his intimidating abusive behavior toward public speakers before the board and him harassing staff during their presentations.
What I had read to the board on my behalf was: “just in case you do not know Don Rogers is a close and personal friend of Dr. Young and on this agenda item the board is deciding to give his accounting firm a contract for a special financial audit of the district.” I also said I knew Mr. Rogers and don’t believe he would anything unethical so that is not the issue. I closed my comments on that agenda item by saying I only pointed out the relationship to the Board of Directors because they spent a lot of time discussing a Conflict of Interest, just a few meetings before, of another director when someone was seeking a contract with the district while being a contributor to another director’s political campaign.
So at the March 21st meeting I turned into the Board of Directors a copy of the memo of 1/4/2017 by Robert Christman and Dr. Young’s Political Campaign Form 460 that showed on 12/8/2017 Don Rogers contributed $1,000 to Young’s campaign for the West Valley Water District.
The reason Mr. Christman had to issue the memo was because Dr. Young, as president of the board at the time, was under investigation by top management for inappropriate appointment of district staff and involved with discipline, financial misconduct and abuse of power as outlined in a memo directed to then General Manager Matthew Litchfield from his top management staff dated 11/29/2017.
I did not know it would provoke such a response from anyone but it did stir some emotions in Dr. Young strong enough for him to confront me after the meeting before we could exit the building. I was not afraid but he did state that I could be sued for defamation of character for telling lies on them.
I notice he did not say I was lying about the evidence of him getting reimbursed for a political victory Celebration Dinner on 12/7/2017 that he had his Republican Campaign Consultant David Morgan coordinate for campaign workers and selected friends at Sierra Lakes in Fontana. A compliant filed by the West Valley Water District Ratepayers Association with the Fair Political Practice Commission was referred over to the Attorney General Office because of the kind of conduct that was described in the compliant.
He went on to say that he had enough out there on him so I do not have to make up lies. I asked him what was the lie? He responded that this goes way back until 2004 and is personal, having to do with Dr. Young involving the Riverside County District Attorney over non-payment of child support. Dr. Young told me to call the DA because he said, “I have paid my child support…the child is now 36 years of age”. I told him I could print the editorial again if he wished since the child’s mother provided the information to me. He did not take me up on my offer so I will not reprint it nor am I going to contact the DA in Riverside.
I did tell the Board of Directors that I will not stop pointing out things that I or Don Griggs of the WVWD Ratepayers Association see as corruption or a total abuse and misuse of their positions as public servants to the customers they serve.
Hardy Brown Sr. is Publisher Emeritus of The Black Voice News. As a civic leader, he served 12 years on the San Bernardino Unified School District Board of Education. His opinions do not reflect the editorial position of the IE Voice, Black Voice News, or any Voice Media Ventures companies.