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Rumores Smear- There is More to the Story!

I previously posted on the smear by Alex Vega and Frank Ibarra on Alfredo Amezcua in Rumores. A little over a week ago, I decided to do a little research into their attack, and what I uncovered is much more sinister than some vicious political attack, but an organized effort to destroy a man’s career and his ability to provide for himself and his family.

Last weekend, I decided to contact one of the phone numbers in the ad upon hearing that they led to a disconnected number. Instead the number led to Alex  Vega, who answered the phone and identified himself. Deciding to do some research, I pretended to be a bitter ex-client of Alfredo Amezcua, claiming he was my lawyer in a divorce case and I had lost my children because of his botched representation. Vega then claimed that I was not alone and he had spoken to others with the same story. He then went on to explain their goals.

He stated one of their goals was to expose to the community what a bad man he was. Then he went further and said another goal was to expose as many cases as possible in Rumores and I was to write down my story and deliver it to Rumores and to leave with the editor my contact information and wait for more instruction. I asked exactly what I would be waiting for.

He said one of their other goals is to take some of the spurned clients and file complaints with the California Bar Association to have Amezcua’s law license taken away. In addition, they wanted to take the same spurned clients and file a class action lawsuit against Al Amezcua for law malpractice. Vega mentioned that a local attorney is helping them get a national law firm to take on this case. When I pressed for the name of this local attorney, he said the local attorney was none other than… SANTA ANA CITY COUNCILMEMBER VINCENT SARMIENTO. UPDATED: Sarmiento’s Side of the Story.

Vega stated that Councilman Sarmiento is very involved in their project and is trying hard to get a powerful law firm involved. Vega went on to say that Amezcua needed to be exposed for the man he really is and that it was not about politics. It is funny that they waited until he runs for mayor against Pulido to suddenly get this urge for “honesty.”

Afterward I decided I would attempt to see if the story would get printed in Rumores. Would they print an unverified false story of a client spurned by Al Amezcua? I wrote up a story and contacted Rumores. A person called me back who informed me to bring it by or e-mail with all my contact information. The person then instructed me to contact Alex Vega again before I sent the story in. I did.

When I called Vega, he answered the phone but claimed to be a cousin of Vega. Some stomping was then heard, as if to fake footsteps, the person then whispered something in Spanish and then a person with the exact same voice began to speak claiming to be Alex Vega. I had to keep from laughing at this. I told him the story was ready and wanted a complete detail of what would happened next.

Vega didn’t disappoint. He said Rumores would cross check the name on the OC Superior Court website to make sure their was a case with that name, in that specific court. He said that would be all the vetting they would be doing. Then he explained what would happen next. Vega stated they would be choosing the top 20 most heinous stories and asking those people to be in the class action lawsuit against Amezcua. Vega then said if I was lucky enough to be one of the 20 I would likely be a little richer one year from now when the case settles. He said it would be like an economic stimulus. Vega kept going, he said like doctors, attorney’s have to purchase malpractice insurance. He said that the insurance would cover Amezcua and their would likely be an out of court settlement, but the insurance would pay some money out to all of the 20 plaintiffs. Vega then said this was too send a message, to Amezcua and other attorney’s to be better attorneys. IN fact, Vega said, they were trying to help Al Amezcua by doing this.

Collecting this information, I now inform you, the public at just how low Alex Vega, and now allegedly bv Vega’s admission, Councilman Vincent Sarmiento are willing to go to keep Mayor Pulido in office. It should be noted that Vicnent Sarmiento is a co-host for Miguel Pulido’s upcoming fundraiser. So is a co-host for Mayor Pulido’s fundraiser openly colluding with an Independent Expenditure? Aren’t there laws forbidding that?

Last of all ask yourselves people, if Pulido were doing such a great job, would there be a need to resort to this. Going after a man’s career is just plain evil and wrong on so many levels.


  1. Gustavo Arellano Gustavo Arellano March 8, 2010

    You should contact Vince to see what he has to say…

    • Claudio Gallegos Claudio Gallegos March 8, 2010

      I am working on getting his contact information to get his side of the story. I am curious to see what he has to say.

  2. Colony Rabble Colony Rabble March 8, 2010

    Every time i read about SanTana I am increasingly grateful to live in the Mother Colony. Would you like the name of an Anaheim realtor?
    Good detective work here!

  3. Howard be my name Howard be my name March 8, 2010

    Great story, Claudio!

    And, no disrespect, Colony Rabble, but this kind of stuff goes on in a lot of jurisdictions. Santa Ana might have slightly greater telenovela tendencies than other cities, but it’s only slight.

    • Colony Rabble Colony Rabble March 9, 2010

      I know these things happen all the time, but this is not an isolated incident. My objection to Santa Ana is the cumulative effect of years of this sort of thing. It is the icing on what appears to be a very disgusting cake. Virtually every contact I have with Santa Ana elected officials leaves me wanting to bathe in Purell afterward. City staff rocks, but the leadership is reptilian. You could not pay me to live there, which is tough for a historian to say. Great neighborhoods, great people, lousy officials. While I am not a Santa Ana voter, I wish you luck in electing some new blood.

  4. JWYANEZ JWYANEZ March 8, 2010

    Great work smoking out the rats. It appears the ethics reform proposed by city council and later passed by the unknowing only applies to those with Ethics.

  5. Lori Gonzales Lori Gonzales March 8, 2010

    Hey Claudio, love the detective work you pulled here! Nice! BTW, it was a nice surprise running into you the other day. 🙂

  6. Chris Prevatt Chris Prevatt March 8, 2010

    Just a point of clarification here. If anyone is wondering about the ethics of posing as someone to get information that you otherwise would not get as part of an investigation, here is what the Society of Professional Journalists has to say on the matter in their code of ethics.

    Seek Truth and Report It

    Journalists should:

    — Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story.

    In this case, Claudio and I discussed these ethical parameters before he engaged in his “undercover” investigation. We discussed what he could say and what he could not.

    Prior to publication of his story, we discussed the necessity to disclose how he arrived at the information he gathered in the context of his story.

    Claudio’s investigation has reported precisely what he found. As this is a political blog where editorial commentary is part of the formula, he did appropriately insert his take on the facts he discovered as he felt necessary.

    TheLiberalOC stands behind the accuracy of this story and we believe that we have accurately relayed to our readers all of the information gathered.

    Occasionally it is necessary to utilize undercover or other surreptitious methods to gather information. In this instance, we took this course to ensure that the information we gathered was not colored by the invividuals who we contacted knowing that what they said and did would be reported.

    Chris Prevatt

  7. Chris Prevatt Chris Prevatt March 9, 2010

    It has been reported over at the local tabliod blog that Vince Sarmiento has denied any involvement with Mr. Vega’s efforts. That is good news. I am relieved that Sarmiento is distancing himself from Vega.

    It also provides additional insight into Mr. Vega’s character. If he is willing to throw around the name of a sitting city council member to bolster his credibility and the credibility of his smear campaign he clearly is someone who should not be trusted.

    Claudio and Councilman Sarmiento are currently playing phone tag, and he will post more information on his side of the story after they get the chance to talk.

    • Solorzano Solorzano March 10, 2010

      He can distant himself all he wants but he still sleeps in the same bed as Vega. They all do!

  8. Sean H. Mill Sean H. Mill March 9, 2010

    “Claudio and Councilman Sarmiento are currently playing phone tag, and he will post more information on his side of the story after they get the chance to talk.”


    Dont you think Claudio should have tried to get Vince’s side of the story before posting this? What was so pressing that the post couldn’t wait until after talking to Vince?

  9. Art Pedroza Art Pedroza March 9, 2010

    Funny how Sean Mill got right through to Sarmiento…

    Shouldn’t Claudio have called Vince before posting his story?

  10. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski March 9, 2010

    Sean and Art — Thanks for coming on over to read our blog story. Alex Vega is the subject of the post, not Vince and Claudio just got off the phone with Vince; we’ll post what’s known as a “follow up” post shortly. Happy now?

    Art, glad to hear you think Vince should sue us for Libel. Vince is a public official. To successfully sue for Libel he would have to prove what we wrote was false; he’d have to prove we knew it was false and published it anyway. Sorry, but our post on this story exceeds even your very low standards for the truth. How many people would have stronger grounds for suing you for libel Art?

    But since you have time to ask us about our stories, when are we going to read about the healthcode violations at the Lee’s Sandwiches shop in Sanata Ana co-owned by Hugh Nguyen on the Orange Joke? How about a story on your blog about three underperforming schools in Santa Ana that are among the state’s worst? And are we going to be lectured about being “Bad Democrats” when Sean is backing Hugh Nguyen in OC over Tom Daly and Tarkanian over Reed in Nevada?

    I’m sure you can both retreat to the long debunked story about Claudio’s bar tab at the Quill because that is certainly the high standard for truth on the Orange Joke. Don’t you guys the bankruptcy filings of someone you hate that you can post online?

  11. Sean H. Mill Sean H. Mill March 9, 2010


    I think what you are doing now is called a “backpedal”. Vince was very much a centerpiece of this post. In fact Vince was the hook that made the post newsworthy at all. Without that you just have Alex Vega collecting dirt on Alfredo, by throwing Vince in the mix you actually have something.

    Your newfound amigo Cunningham’s post is entitled “LiberalOC Links Santa Ana Councilman Vince Sarmiento To Attacks On Al Amezcua”. Sure sounds like the post was about Vince and not about Vega in his eyes.

    Spin, spin, spin away. Yellow and shoddy journalism at best no matter how you spin in.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski March 9, 2010

      Well, being a Republican, that *would* be Matt’s spin.

      Are you seriously lecturing me on yellow and shoddy journalism? Do you read your own blog?

      Didn’t Art just have a post up about Sanchez endorsing Qunag Pham with a photo of Loretta Sanchez? Would that be shoddy journalism? I believe it would be. The Quill rumor has been debunked for months, yet you continue to go there. Is it Claudia or Clownia these days?

      I’ll tell you what; let’s have some noted journalism professors or former editors/news directors compare both of our blogs and critique them on which one has more journalistic integrity.

      But back to the point. A follow up post with Vince’s comment is coming. It’s called a second day story.

      • Sean H. Mill Sean H. Mill March 9, 2010


        Since you and your bloggers are so full of “journalistic integrity” why on earth would the trumped up allegations be made against Vince without so much as a phone call to him?

        A phone call to Vince would have taken a matter of minutes and the original post could’ve gone up with his comments. If that had happened your amigo Cunningham would not have had an angle to rip Sarmiento, but then again the post would have been an irrelevant piece about Alex Vega.

        The fact that your blog chose to go with the story and not verify and check with Vince tells us all we need to know about the “journalistic integrity” around here.

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski March 9, 2010

          Sean —
          Frankly, between Vega’s story and Vince’s, it’s a he said/he said story. It’s impossible to note which one is telling the truth.

          And spare me the faux outrage over journalistic ethics; the Weekly World News had higher standards than the Orange Joke does. Without defending Janet Nguyen, how many “is she moving in on NAME-OF-CITY-INSERTED HERE stories are you going to write withoput a shread of fact?

        • Dump Pulido Dump Pulido March 9, 2010

          Is this Dump Pulido? How much did they pay you to sell your soul?

  12. junior junior March 9, 2010

    I wonder how Vega likes being thrown under the bus?

    Being the sycophant that he is, he will probably just take it and shut the hell up.

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