Anaheim Investigator

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Partners In Power: Kennedy Had Anaheim Police Chief Speak At Home Of Wealthy Laguna Beach Donor

Swayne Family Residence Google Maps

Last November, Rusty Kennedy, Executive Director of OC Human Relations, had Anaheim Police Chief John Welter speak about their “partnership” at the home of a wealthy Laguna Beach donor.

By DUANE ROBERTS
Editor & Publisher

In an eye-opening email the Anaheim Investigator has obtained from the City of Anaheim through a recent California Public Records Act request, Rusty Kennedy, Executive Director of OC Human Relations, had Anaheim Police Chief John Welter attend a “special reception” in Laguna Beach last November to talk about their “partnership” in pacifying angry Anna Drive and Ponderosa Park residents in the aftermath of several fatal officer-involved shootings.

Although it is not unusual for Chief Welter to be invited to speak at different events outside of the city, further research has revealed this “special reception,” organized under the auspices of OC Human Relations Community Partners, an elite group of donors who contribute $1,000 or more each year to OC Human Relations, was held at the residence of a multi-millionaire who funnels tens of thousands of dollars each year into Kennedy’s non-profit.

The email in question, entitled “Chief’s Schedule Today” and dated Thursday, November 15, 2012, was sent by Kennedy to Cindy Hernandez, an Executive Secretary who works out of the Office of the Police Chief. Marked “high” priority, he requested she “re-confirm that John could get to this event in Laguna Beach at 5:30 p.m.,” emphasizing “its a very important event.” For clarification, he re-posted text from an email sent to Welter earlier in the day.

Kennedy wrote as follows:

John

Just a quick note to remind you that you are speaking at a special reception for OC Human Relations Community Partners today at 5:30pm in Laguna Beach.

What we were hoping you would do is speak for about 5 to 10 minutes about our partnership, with a focus on the Ponderosa Park Forum, Civil Unrest Support, as well as the importance of the work we have done together to build trust through the years, that made you feel comfortable calling on us, and helped us know how to apply our expertise in a collaborative way.

Chief’s Advisory, Youth Serving Organizations Convening, Police/Community Reconciliation Program, Hate Crime response, pre-shift briefings, community relations crisis consultation, etc.

In closing, Kennedy included his cellphone number and that of Alison Edwards, Deputy Director for OC Human Relations. He mentioned “Keith’s house” in Laguna Beach as being the location where the “special reception” would be held, giving its address. The City of Anaheim, however, redacted both numbers and the address of “Keith’s house,” citing provisions in the California Public Records Act which exempt the disclosure of confidential personal information.

Last week, the Anaheim Investigator attempted to contact Robert Dunn, Public Information Officer for the Anaheim Police Department, via email and telephone to inquire about the location of “Keith’s house” and seek additional comment on the Nov. 15th email. But as of publication date, he has yet to respond. Calls made to the Office of the Police Chief were met with a response of “I can’t comment on this” and were referred to the City Clerk, who had no knowledge of the matter.

Nevertheless, the Anaheim Investigator has confirmed that “Keith’s house” was the residence of Keith Swayne, the retired CEO of Case Swayne Co., a major developer and processor of specialty sauces and seasonings that was sold to Best Foods/Unilever for $185 million in 1999. Property tax records available from the Orange County Treasurer/Tax Collector show his swanky Laguna Beach home, built in 1916, currently has an assessed value of $2,626,382.

According to a person who attended the Nov. 15th event,  Swayne brought together well-heeled friends interested in learning more about OC Human Relations and how they can support its work. Speakers not only included Kennedy and Welter, but Dr. Jerome Hunter, the former Chancellor of the North Orange County Community College District, and Dr. Gurpreet Singh Ahuja, a Pediatric Surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Swayne is a longtime member of the OC Human Relations Community Partners Board. Both he and his wife Judith have been major donors to OC Human Relations, contributing at least $130,000 to that non-profit since 2004. In their 2011-2012 annual report, the Swayne’s are recognized as “Platinum Donors” who gave between $10,000 and $24,999 that year. Several earlier annual reports state they have given larger amounts in the past.

The Swayne’s are also founders of The Keith and Judy Swayne Foundation (aka, Swayne Family Foundation), which has given thousands of dollars to OC Human Relations and other non-profits in California and Hawaii since its inception. The latest publicly available Form 990-PF the foundation filed with the Internal Revenue Service states it has $3,792,747 in assets, mostly consisting of blue chip stocks donated by the Swayne family.

The website for the Swayne Family Foundation reports Kennedy was appointed to its advisory board in 2011. Additionally, the foundation has disbursed funds to local non-profit organizations here in Orange County that have close links to himFor example, Kennedy serves on the board of the Orange County Congregation Community Organization, a non-profit that has received thousands of dollars from that foundation over the past couple of years.

Kennedy is also tied, albeit indirectly, to Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development through board member Amin David, founder of Los Amigos of Orange County and a former Chair of OC Human Relations. David has been a close friend of “Rusty” since the early 1980s. Several 990-PF forms from the Swayne Family Foundation available online show OCCORD received $10,000 from them in 2009 and $15,000 in 2011

The Anaheim Investigator has also learned Kennedy is one of the highest paid Executive Directors of any non-profit organization based in Orange County. The latest Form 990 filed by OC Human Relations reports he earns $97,120 a year for only 20 hours a week of work. In comparison, Deborah Phares of OCCCO works 50 hours a week and is paid $65,834 per year (according to a 2010 filing), whereas Eric Altman of OCCORD, who puts in the same amount of time, makes $71,058.

The Nov. 15th email uncovered by the Anaheim Investigator obliterates any pretense OC Human Relations is a “neutral third party” that can be trusted to be fair and impartial in matters pertaining to law enforcement. That Kennedy trotted out Welter to speak at the home of multi-millionaire who funnels thousands of dollars into his non-profit–thus lining his own pockets in the process–is compelling evidence he has a financial stake in aligning himself with the interests of the powerful.

As mentioned last month, all of the emails and documents being reviewed at the time suggested Kennedy was wholly obsessed in demonstrating to Welter how useful OC Human Relations was in pacifying Anna Drive residents who were angry–angry at being shot and abused by the cops. Back then it was perceived Kennedy was merely being a lapdog for law enforcement. But now, with the Nov. 15th email in our possession, its clear both men are equals; they are partners in power.

Under Kennedy’s tutelage, OC Human Relations has been transformed from an organization which in the past offered some kind of recourse to the oppressed, to one that now aides and abets the oppressor–and is rewarded handsomely in return. And it’s not just a proxy for the Anaheim Police Department. It’s an apparatus funded by white political and business elites countywide who expect it to help keep Orange County’s darker-skinned rabble in their place during a crisis.

The Nov. 15th email offers compelling proof of this. After all, it details a real-life scenario where the white Executive Director of OC Human Relations and a white Anaheim Police Chief traveled to the home of a white Laguna Beach multi-millionaire who invited his white friends over and had them listen to these men pat one another on the back about “partnering” to pacify brown people in Anaheim angered at being mistreated by the police. It can’t get any clearer than that now, can it?

[Below are electronic reproductions of documents referred to in this article.]

Email to Welter from Kennedy November 15, 2012

Email to Welter from Kennedy re: “Special Reception” in Laguna Beach, Thursday, November 15, 2012 (1 of 1)

990 Form 2011 Filed by OC Human Relations Rusty Kennedy's Compensation

Rusty Kennedy’s Compensation, Page 7 of Form 990 filed with the IRS by OC Human Relations, 2011  (1 of 1)

 

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Keeping The Rabble In Line: OC Human Relations Received Special $5,000 Payment From Anaheim Police Chief As Reward For Pacifying Angry Anna Drive Residents

By DUANE ROBERTS
Editor & Publisher

The Anaheim Investigator has recently obtained copies of emails, invoices, check request forms, and other documents from the City of Anaheim which show that Anaheim Police Chief John Welter approved a special $5,000 payment to OC Human Relations as a reward for “crisis services” they rendered on behalf of the Anaheim Police Department in connection with “Anna Dr. neighborhood unrest and gang member arrests” occurring in July and August of last year.

The payment was made roughly one month after OC Human Relations dispatched two employees to canvass the working-class Mexican neighborhood of Anna Drive and gather information from area residents in the aftermath of “Operation Halo,” a law enforcement operation which arrested members of a local “street gang.” Documents in the possession of the Anaheim Investigator hint some of this information was later forwarded to Chief Welter unbeknownst to the residents.

In an email dated September 12, 2012, Rusty Kennedy, Executive Director of OC Human Relations, notified Welter that per a prior agreement his department currently owed his agency $5,000 for “Police Community Reconciliation Services.” He then reminded Welter of a promise to provide additional funds for “deployment of our staff in the Anna Dr. neighborhood on the morning after the gang member joint action arrests,” requesting he pay another $5,000 for “services rendered.”

Kennedy wrote as follows:

I wanted to ask about our invoice for Police Community Reconciliation Services. Our first year agreement with you was for $5,000 and we completed that year on June 30, 2012. It is time for me to invoice for another year. I would like to go ahead and invoice you for the $5,000 for FY 2012-13 as we are into it already.

Additionally, you mentioned that you wanted to pay us for the added crisis services that we rendered in connection with the deployment of our staff in the Anna Dr. neighborhood on the morning after the gang member joint action arrests, and perhaps some of the time for the pre-shift briefings that we started this morning, and consultation and support for the special city council meeting at Anaheim high school.

If you are open to that I would add to the $5,000 invoice for the PCRP staffed by James Armendaris, additional services rendered by our staff members: Edgar Medina, Joyce Sanchez, Don Han, Seema Bhakta, Alison Edwards, and myself, for an additional $5,000.

In response, Welter typed:

I already asked my Finance Manager, Jane Done, to send a check for that amount. I’ll check with her on getting the check out ASAP.

I hope you’re [sic] organization will continue to provide great service to OC cities and law enforcement in spite of OC cuts to your budget.

“You mean you already approved $10,000? $5,000 regular and $5,000 supplemental,” Kennedy immediately emailed back.

“Yes,” said Welter.

According to a “Request for Check Form” numbered “1523727” and filled out the very same day by Jane Done, Welter approved the issuance of two checks for the amount of $10,000 to be mailed to OC Human Relations at its current Santa Ana address. One of the $5,000 checks was specifically earmarked to pay for “Anna,” or, as was handwritten in the description: “added crisis services rendered in connection with Anna Dr. neighborhood unrest and gang member arrests, etc.”

Financial records from the City of Anaheim show that since July 2006, OC Human Relations has received $67,955 from the Anaheim Police Department. Of that amount, $22,251, or 33% of the entire total, was disbursed between November 2011 and September 2012 alone. Several invoices and check request forms show even the monies the city uses to pay yearly dues to OC Human Relations comes out of the police budget, not the general fund. All payments were approved by Welter.

These and other documents reviewed by the Anaheim Investigator not only suggest the relationship between the Anaheim Police Department and OC Human Relations is much deeper than originally thought, but that the latter agency is not, as some people believe, a neutral third party. In reality, it functions as a de facto arm of law enforcement–a proxy–used now and then to perform special work on its behalf, whether it be intelligence gathering, public relations, or urban pacification.

All of this raises serious questions about what role, if any, OC Human Relations might play in the proposed police oversight committee that could be formed by the City of Anaheim. Since there is now proof this agency is dependent on cash infusions from the Anaheim Police Department to do some of its “work,” how can any of its employees be trusted to be fair and impartial in matters pertaining to resident complaints about police brutality and misconduct?

Additionally, whose interests does OC Human Relations really serve? In all of the emails the Anaheim Investigator has examined so far, Kennedy seems to be wholly obsessed with demonstrating to Welter how effective his agency was in pacifying Anna Drive residents who were angry–angry about being shot and abused by cops. Given part of Kennedy’s salary is being paid for by the police themselves, should anybody be surprised he’s doing what he can to keep the rabble in line?

[Below are electronic reproductions of some of the emails, invoices, and other documents referred to in this article.]

KennedyWelter 1o2

Welter/Kennedy Email Correspondence 9/12/12 (1 of 2)

KennedyWelter 2o2
Welter/Kennedy Email Correspondence 9/12/12 (2 of 2)

Request for check form 91212--APD

APD, Request for Check Form, # 1523727, 9/12/12 (1 of 1)

APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2010-2011 (1 of 2)

APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2010-2011 (1 of 2)

APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2010-2011 (2 of 2)

APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2010-2011 (2 of 2)

APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2012-2013 (1 of 3)

APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2012-2013 (1 of 3)APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2012-2012 (2 of 3)

APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2012-2013 (2 of 3)

APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2012-2013 (3 of 3)

APD-OC Human Relations Dues FY 2012-2013 (3 of 3)

APD Disbursements to OC Human Relations 3-5-13 (1 of 1)

APD Disbursements To OC Human Relations 1/06-2/13 (1 of 1)

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