Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – 12:13 PM
COURIER EXCLUSIVE: Upon accepting the nomination for his return to Board of Education president on Tuesday night, Brian David Goldberg read a stunning letter asserting that he was targeted by Beverly Hills Police Chief Dave Snowden and unjustly arrested by BHPD. Below is Goldberg’s letter in full.
When I first ran for the school board I was a bit naïve and idealistic. I believed if I did my homework, made a compelling argument for or against a certain position that my colleagues and the community would be open to what I had to say and seriously consider my positions and ideas.
Once being elected to the board I soon realized that was not the case. I also learned early on that although Beverly Hills is one of the most recognizable “cities” in the world, it is still a very small town and local politics is like any other very small town, meaning very personal and very ugly.
Soon I upset very powerful people and interests.
Through these experiences I learned that people and institutions have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and each group or issue has a group of stakeholders who directly benefit from keep things the way they are and will fight to maintain their own particular interest. I also learned that if you follow the money you will understand the motivation for people and organizations. The cost for taking on these groups was merely an unrelenting series of personal attacks on me, my family and anyone who supported me. Typical negative campaigns with orchestrated letters to the editor, ads in the local papers, snubbing at public events, whisper campaigns and biased coverage in the press. Unfortunately all par for the course if you dare to challenge the status quo.
That all changed when I took on the City Council and Police Chief Dave Snowden over the issue of reinstating the School Resource Officer Program and requested reimbursement for partial costs for the districts contract with EBI, Inc. a private security firm.
One of the things I have also learned is that it is important to connect the dots for people.
So bear with me as I connect the dots on EBI, Inc., Chief Dave Snowden, Captain Mark Rosen, Lt. Lincoln Hoshino, Judie Fenton (President and Founder of FTA), Steven Fenton (Former board member and co-author of a book with Carter Paysinger) and Josh Gross (Publisher of the Beverly Hills Weekly).
I have been a vocal advocate and thorn in the City Council’s and Police Departments side with regard to restoring the School Resource Officer Program at our five school sites. Chief Dave Snowden and Captain Mark Rosen have been the most vocal opponents of reinstating this program. The City Council has relied on Chief Snowden’s opposition to reinstating the SRO program as the rational for not reinstating this very successful program that was in existence for many years at our five school sites.
On the advice and recommendation of the Chief Dave Snowden I voted to hire EBI, Inc. A firm fronted by John McLaughlin, a former employee of Chief Snowden’s when Snowden was Chief of Police in Costa Mesa and retired. Lt. Joe Chirillo a retired Beverly Hills Police Department officer who had run the highly successful and award winning School Resource Officer Program under Chief Snowden. Based on Chief Snowden’s blessing I voted to hire EBI, Inc. in 2013.
Unknown to me or any of my colleagues Chief Dave Snowden was a paid consultant for EBI, Inc. Chief Snowden collected his consulting fees throughout the time period of the contract with BHUSD even after EBI, Inc. had disclosed to the district that they were in financial trouble and could not perform on the expanded service contract Chief Snowden had recommended. Chief Snowden’s EBI pay was not disclosed to the Beverly Hills Unified School District and in fact he lied about being paid to Dr. Gary Woods when asked about being paid, he lied in Facebook messages to me and in interviews with the Beverly Hills Weekly.
On July 24th, 2014 I participated in a City/School Liaison meeting where the issue of school security, school resource officers and EBI were discussed. I remember making it very clear that my first choice was for the City of Beverly Hills to restore the School Resource Officer program. My suggested was categorically rejected by Chief Snowden as not possible and not even on the table for discussion, after Chief Snowden’s rejection of the idea of restoring the SRO program the conversation turned to EBI, Inc. and the City potentially covering part of the cost in providing these outside private EBI, Inc. services.
Chief Snowden recommended that the School District expand the current contract with EBI, Inc. from one armed office at the High School to two armed officers at the High School. Mayor Lili Bosse made this expansion of services a condition of her support for the School Districts request for the city to cover partial cost of the EBI, Inc. contract.
President Margo brought this proposal for expanded services and fees back to the full Board and it were voted on at our August 2014 Board meeting. By October of 2014 we were hearing about financial troubles within EBI, Inc. and EBI, Inc. was not sure that they would be able to perform on their contract with the District. At this time I began to hear rumors that Chief Snowden had a financial interest in EBI, Inc. At this point I had never been told nor had any indication from Chief Snowden, City Manager Jeff Kolin, any member of the City Staff or City Council that Chief Snowden was involved with EBI, Inc. in any capacity, let alone that he was being paid. I requested that Dr. Gary Woods look into these rumors; Dr. Woods reported to me that he had a conversation with Chief Snowden and that Chief Snowden denied any financial interest in EBI, Inc. Lie number 1 by Chief Snowden.
On November 17, 2014 at 10:47 a.m. I received a private email message on Facebook from Chief Dave Snowden: “Hi Brian. From what I am hearing you and I need to talk.”
I responded at 11:30 a.m.: “About?”
Chief Snowden responded at 2:58 p.m.: “About your comments about me making a ‘backroom deal with Jake Manaster’ on EBI.”
At this point I was taking this exchange as a threat and was concerned. I responded at 2:5.8 pm. “Not my issue Gary said he brought up to you based on what he was told and you told him nothing to it. I have never said or implied anything about you and Jake but happy to meet if you need/want to.”
After this unusual message exchange with Chief Snowden I decided to look deeper into the allegations of Chief Snowden having a financial interest in EBI. Inc. As President of the Board I sent a letter to Mayor Bosse on January 26, 2015 and cc’d my fellow board members and Dr. Woods regarding a closed session meeting with Captain Mark Rosen regarding the SRO program. Mayor Bosse forwarded my letter which was highly critical of the BHPD position and rational for not supporting the SRO to Chief Snowden and other City Staff. This letter was eventually published by the Beverly Hills Courier.
Following this letter being published in the Beverly Hills Courier, The Beverly Hills Weekly in their February 5, 2015 issue had an interview with Chief Snowden titled “Setting the Record Straight.” In it Chief Snowden admits he was a paid consultant to EBI, Inc. and that City Manager Jeff Kolin knew and approved it (news to anyone on the Board of Education or the public) but stated that Chief Snowden stopped receiving compensation from EBI, Inc. as of June 30, 2014, well before Chief Snowden advocated for an increase in services and revenue for EBI, Inc.
A few weeks after that article ran in the Weekly I received a copy of a check made out to Dave Snowden for over $2,500 dated October 14, 2014 from a person with the same name as the Vice President of EBI, Inc. Snowden lie number 2 and 3, first lie that Chief Snowden was not receiving compensation from EBI, Inc. Second that Chief Snowden followed City Code and third that Snowden stopped receiving compensation from EBI as of June 30, 2014. I forwarded a copy of the check to Mayor Bosse and to Vice Mayor Gold, cc’ing Vice President Howard Goldstein, Dr.Gary Woods and Vince Ewing, general counsel for BHUSD.
On February 26, 2015. I received an email confirmation from Vince Ewing that Mr., Ewing had forwarded this check on to the District Attorney’s Office. I believe at this point in time Chief Snowden is aware that the District Attorney’s office is looking into his involvement with EBI. Inc. his violation of City Code and his possible inaccurate filings on his Form 700 disclosures. In addition it has been reported that Chief Snowden spent several nights a week at the home of Paula Meehan Kent, who owned the Beverly Hills Courier until her death and which is now owned by her estate. It is reported that Snowden would spend several nights a week at her home, free of charge.
Twelve days after sending a copy of the check made out to Dave Snowden I was arrested for an alleged misdemeanor simple battery based on a citizen complaint. I have since learned that BHPD practice is not to arrest but to issue a citation and release with a court date to appear, similar to a moving violation, and a citation was eventually issued to me). It was not until a more senior officer, I believe a Sgt. arrived on the scene that the decision was made by the Sgt. to place me under arrest based on a request for a citizen’s arrest. Even though there was video evidence available to the officers for review and I had made multiple request for the officers to review the video they decided to place me under arrest. I was processed, photographed and fingerprinted at the Police Department and held of nearly 12 hours on a citation release misdemeanor citizen’s arrest.
Now here is how we connect the dots. I was released just after 8:10 am on Tuesday March 10th. The only press that was directly contacted was Josh Gross the publisher of The Beverly Hills Weekly, who on February 5th had run the interview with Chief Snowden, titled “Setting the Record Straight” where Chief Snowden lied about his compensation from EBI, Inc. It is alleged that Steven Fenton is a financial investor in the BH Weekly, this I cannot confirm but I do know from firsthand knowledge that Steven Fenton and Josh Gross are very close friends. Steven Fenton is the son of Judie Fenton, the founder and president of FTA, Chief Snowden’s wife Ellyn Snowden is a paid employee listed on the FTA Web site. Coincidence?
Captain Mark Rosen oversees the detectives at BHPD; Detective Schwartz has been assigned to my case. BHPD did not request all the video available from the multiple surveillance cameras that recorded the alleged incident, I had to seek permission from the homeowners association and pay the security firm a fee to come to the building and make an official copy of the various feeds and cameras pertaining to the alleged incident. My defense attorney had to than make this available to BHPD. Had I not made this available I do not believe BHPD would have asked for it. Remember this video was available for review the night of the alleged incident. In support of my continued efforts for full disclosure as soon as BHPD concludes their investigation I will make all the video available for the public to review through my Goldberg Perspective.
If you read Lt. Lincoln Hoshino’s press release he violates BHPD policy and practice by making affirmative statements regarding my guilt and that my statements to police were inconsistent. I did not give a statement to police that evening, I was never read my Miranda rights, and no statement was taken that evening. I requested that the police review the video. I also requested that this woman be arrested for assault, battery and false imprisonment. It was suggested to me by the officer who was originally on the scene that if I press charges and she presses charges that we both would end up having to be arrested and usually in a situation of he said she said if both parties request arrest both parties generally chose to drop the issue and the police move on.
Officers have reported to me that at the morning meetings on Tuesday, March 10th that the command staff was high fiving and made comments that “we got that son of a bitch and the board of education.”
It has been reported to me that Chief Snowden has been telling people that “Goldberg is guilty and really beat that woman up” Individuals are willing to testify under oath to these statements being made by Chief Snowden. City Council how am I supposed to trust a process when your Chief of Police is prejudging an on gong police investigation? City Council what happened to innocent until proven guilty?
City Council According to the BHPD web page the Values of Beverly Hills Police Department include: Respect: We value the rights of all people and promote mutual trust in our community; Proactive: We work collaboratively to fulfill our paramount duty: the protection of life and property, the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension and prosecution of criminals and the relentless pursuit of justice; Organizational Excellence: We value our employees and strive for personal and professional excellence through training and teamwork in an open and innovative environment; Leadership: We empower and motivate our employees to lead through continuous improvement, creative problem solving and proactive thinking; Integrity: We value honor and truthfulness and hold ourselves to the highest standards of moral and ethical conduct; Spirit of Partnership: In connection with our community and other City Departments, we are dedicated to demonstrating a spirit of partnership through compassion, enhancing the quality of life for everyone.
How would anyone get a fair review of the facts under these circumstances? How is the behavior of Chief Snowden in particular but also his command staff Captain Mark Rosen and Lt, Hoshino in line with the values of Beverly Hills Police Department? How can the City Council do nothing?
It was bad enough when I was being personally attacked and defamed but Chief Snowden and his cronies have now deprived me of my freedom. And why? Not because they believe I committed simple battery, they have the video, the woman and her family making these false accusations is known to the Beverly Hills Police Department.
The Police have responded on numerous occasions to reports of domestic disturbances, they had access to the videos that night, the property manager lives in the building, is friends with the family in question and was in the lobby with the family the entire time the police were taking their statement. Prior to the Sgt/Senior Officer, arriving on the scene the officer said the Police will get access to the video and the Police will review it, than 45 minutes later without reviewing the video a decision was made to arrest me. Coincidence?
As I hope to resume my duties and responsibilities as President of the Board I want to say unequivocally to my political enemies and I say enemies because that is what they are that you can continue to attack me personally and try to discredit me with lies misinformation, half-truths and look through every aspect of my life trying to find dirt, you can even try to take my freedom away but as long as I have any breath in my lungs I will continue to stand up, speak out against corruption and abuse of power.
Let me be crystal clear there is nothing the Fentons, Grosses, Snowdens, Rosens, Hoshinos or their ilk can do about it because I am not afraid of you or what you can do to me. I have faith in the people who will have the ultimate say through the electoral process. That is how democracy is supposed to work.
I also want to apologize to our community for the unrelenting personal attacks on me and my family that you will have to endure as a result of my statements here tonight. It will be vicious and it will be brutal because that is how these people operate. I have proven over my tenure on the Board that I have the intestinal fortitude to withstand the personal attacks and stay focused on the work of running this District.
In closing I want to say that I believe the vast majority of officers in Beverly Hills Police Department are good and well intentioned. To my colleagues I want you to know that if they can do this to me and my family, that they can also do it to you and your family. I offered to my colleagues to review the video before this vote tonight.
To the community I want to say unequivocally that I am innocent. I also ask the community to think long and hard about what is important to you.
You can elect people who will return to past practice where corruption and mismanagement were swept under the rug and the Board pretends it is not taking place or you can reelect those of us on the Board who have worked hard to put process and procedures in place to check these corrupt practices.
I tell my children that if you have to hide or lie about something you are doing then ultimately you know it is wrong, Chief Snowden lied and tried to hide what he was doing with EBI, Inc. because he knew it was wrong. Because I exposed Chief Snowden he is trying to bury me personally, professionally and politically.
My grandmother always said the Fish stinks from the Head.
City Council the ball is now in your court. If you want to change the culture and return to the values BHPD stands for, it begins with you chopping the head of the stinky fish off. In order to clean house you must fire Chief Snowden for cause and remove or demote members of his command staff that are corrupt and abuse there power.