Fiona Ma may have to testify in Gerry Serrano Lawsuit!

by Duane Roberts, cross-posted from his “Anaheim Investigator.”

State Treasurer Might Have to Testify in Court
if Lawsuit by Santa Ana Police Union President Isn’t Quashed.

In a stunning development, an anti-SLAPP motion recently filed in Orange County Superior Court by attorneys representing David Valentin, chief of the Santa Ana Police Department, names Fiona Ma, the state treasurer, and suggests she might end up being called to testify as a witness in court if they are unable to convince a judge to quash a lawsuit initiated by Gerry Serrano, president of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association.

The motion in question, which was submitted on February 22nd, seeks to have Serrano’s lawsuit dismissed on the grounds it was “brought primarily to chill and punish Chief Valentin for engaging in constitutionally protected activities” and that its claims “are not legally cognizable, lack factual merit, and are barred by relevant defenses and immunities” because they “arise out of protected speech and petitioning activity.”

But if Valentin’s lawyers can’t get the suit tossed, it’s possible Ma could be subpoenaed as a witness if it goes to trial. One key argument they make is that Serrano has not only waged a campaign to “personally and maliciously attack” the police chief and other city officials as part of an effort to “reverse a CalPERS decision” which limits his future pension earnings, but that he has even used “union money” to pursue this goal.

(excerpt from Valentin’s anti-SLAPP suit)

On page 11, the motion devotes an entire paragraph to evidence The Anaheim Investigator uncovered showing that Ma tried to help Serrano increase his pension by backing two new laws that would exempt him from rules which prohibit the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) from giving him service credit for “special compensation” earned while on a leave of absence from his duties as a police sergeant.

Emails revealed that the state treasurer, her executive staff, and employees of CalPERS not only drafted these laws exclusively for Serrano’s benefit, but even shared the proposed text with him. Furthermore, while all of this was occurring, the Santa Ana Police Officers Association Independent Expenditure Committee funneled $15,900 into Ma’s bid to get re-elected, making them one of her biggest campaign contributors.

It should be noted Ma isn’t the only public official named in this paragraph. Marcie Frost, the CEO of CalPERS, is mentioned. There is also a reference to a “CalPERs official” known to The Investigator as Anthony Suine, Deputy Executive Officer for Customer Services & Support. And Tina Arias Miller, a Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee, is identified as being the “girlfriend of one of Serrano‘s associates.”

Read the rest on the Anaheim Investigator,including Valentin’s entire anti-SLAPP suit…

About Duane Roberts