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Department of Consumer Affairs admits George Dodd was right & that the California State Athletic Commission isn’t broke

By Zach Arnold | August 7, 2012

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Tomorrow, the California State Athletic Commission will hold its first meeting in the post-George Dodd era in Sacramento at the HQ of the Department of Consumer Affairs. At that meeting, a budget review will take place which will reveal that George Dodd was not lying when he said that there was money left in the bank for CSAC at the end of the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year.

In a publicly-released memorandum from August 1st (the first day of interim E.O. Kathi Burns’ tenure at CSAC), the document reveals that there is $23,000 left in the bank for the start of Fiscal Year 2012-2013. This contradicts and exposes previous communication from DCA as faulty as best and two-faced at worst. Either Denise Brown & Awet Kidane, the two top bosses at DCA, are incompetent with math or they lied to people about their claims that CSAC was in the red by $35,000 at the start of the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 year. Furthermore, the propaganda-esque claims that there would be no spending cuts in FY 2012-2013 would result in a $700,000 debt at CSAC were based on budgeting assumptions that no one said would ever be implemented in the first place. It was made very clear by CSAC at the June 4th San Diego meeting that budget cuts were coming, so DCA’s claims after that San Diego hearing were faulty.

It is important to put the 8/1 memorandum into context with the previous articles that we’ve written so that you can see, chronologically-speaking, what a farce the situation at CSAC has become under Brown & Kidane’s watch.

In late May, DCA (under Denise Brown’s name) sent out an insolvency letter claiming that George Dodd would be liable for any commission debt. This threat was 100% illegal. The fact that Denise Brown would even put her name on this kind of documentation, knowing that someone would possibly fact-check this, is beyond absurd. In that same insolvency letter, she admits to knowing about fraud taking place at CSAC and rather than step in to do something about it, simply makes a list of bullet points for ‘generating additional savings.’ If the head of the Department of Consumer Affairs has time to micromanage an athletic commission over business matters, then she has the resources to send in the Division of Investigation to get rid of the bad apples. She never did. DCA approved of the CSAC budgets and approved of what was going on. DCA had a chance to help out CSAC with the inspector costs by changing the rules for inspector salaries with the State Personnel Board. What was their response? Maintain the status quo. Now that George Dodd is gone and budget matters are in the spotlight, all of a sudden DCA is interested in working with the State Personnel Board to change the way inspectors are paid.

After the June 4th hearing in San Diego, DCA moved quickly to get George Dodd removed. They posted a notice online on June 16th, with 10 day standard notice, for a meeting in El Monte, California to get Dodd out as Executive Officer. According to a source on background, Dodd was not even given any private notice about this expulsion hearing. He found out about it the same way we all did, which was on the CSAC web site. The date of June 26th (a Tuesday) proved to be real interesting because that was also the same date for Denise Brown’s confirmation hearing in front of the state Senate’s Rules Committee, chaired by Darrell Steinberg. As we reported previously, Dodd’s removal at CSAC was going to be an example that Brown was going to use at hearing to show how tough she would be on budget matters. The SRC meeting ended up getting moved to the first week of July, luckily for Brown. Why? The June 26th meeting in El Monte turned out to be a disaster for DCA, as CSAC refused to terminate George Dodd as Executive Officer. Awet Kidane, the former top assistant to the former Assembly Speaker of California (Karen Bass), came across as Fredo Corleone at the El Monte hearing when he and a dozen DCA officials in rented Cadillac Escalades failed to get Dodd fired. Kidane, whose political reputation is that of a big talker, suddenly looked impotent in terms of how much political power he could flex outside of Sacramento HQ.

Once Dodd survived the El Monte hearing, DCA immediately went into revenge mode and had the ambush fake emergency meeting four days later in Sacramento on 6/30 at 9 AM for a loan from the Department of Finance to CSAC. Now that everyone knows DCA’s admission from August 1st that CSAC still had $23,000 in the bank, it makes Denise Brown & Awet Kidane look like crooks for having their fixers like Reichel Everhart come in and set up a loan for CSAC when they knew full well that Dodd’s claim that money was still in the bank was correct. Their shell game of portraying Dodd as the single individual responsible for the budget problems at CSAC has been exposed. What makes this 8/1 admission worse in retrospect is that on the 6/30 meeting, DCA tried to have strings attached to the loan when they filed the motion. The strings attached? Allegedly, Dodd’s removal as E.O. in exchange for the loan.

Think of it this way — DCA is admitting that they knew that there would still be cash-on-hand for CSAC by the end of the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 and they pushed for a loan on the last day of the Fiscal Year knowing that they didn’t really need it. Yes, the finances were extremely tight, but they didn’t need the loan and they pushed for it anyways because DCA wanted more of a political hammer to swing on those at CSAC. Remember, DCA is an entity in which they, in conjunction with the state Senate’s Rules Committee, allegedly told CSAC board members through the Governor’s office that if they didn’t vote to terminate George Dodd’s career that their appointments to the CSAC board would expire.

After all of these shenanigans and our reporting on the tax records of the top inspectors at CSAC, you can quickly see just what a mess the Department of Consumer Affairs has made of CSAC. DCA is part of a vindictive political system that is all about money changing and transferring and nothing about actually protecting the citizens of the state. They know it, too. Denise Brown’s political experience and connections with folks like Roger Dickinson (Assemblyman in Sacramento), Governor Jerry Brown, and former Governor Gray Davis helped her get the appointment as top boss at DCA. Awet Kidane got the backing of Governor Brown, Karen Bass, and other top officials in CADEM (the California Democratic Party). The biggest mistake George Dodd made as Executive Officer at CSAC was actually counting on the Governor’s office to support him when DCA, which is technically controlled by the Governor, wouldn’t do the right thing. It says a lot about Governor Jerry Brown’s office that they supposedly wouldn’t take any phone calls from CSAC officials but they are reportedly happy to micromanage the process of selecting candidates for the next Executive Officer at CSAC.

It certainly adds a new layer of context when you throw in how Bill Douglas was allegedly, as accused by the Sacramento DA’s office, trying to sabotage the CSAC front office during Dodd’s tenure. If the Executive Officer at Pest Control was allegedly trying to sabotage Dodd, who else was trying to destroy the man’s career? Why hasn’t Bill Douglas been placed on administrative leave at Pest Control or, dare I say, been fired? What we now know is that plenty of individuals at the Department of Consumer Affairs made Dodd’s job a no-win situation, no matter what his level of competence was.

The only long-term solution for CSAC’s health is to get it removed from the auspices of DCA. Will it happen? Probably not. Given that CSAC has money allocated in funds like the boxer’s pension fund and the neurological fund, those are sweet and tempting targets for politicians who are looking to raid special funds in order to cover for other budget expenses & political promises they made to various constituencies. A better bet? If the Senate Business & Professions committee won’t sunset CSAC, DCA will in order to take all business dealings private so that nobody has any clue what is going on with the math. Given Denise Brown’s track record, I would expect this kind of move out of her.

Topics: CSAC, Media, Zach Arnold | 3 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

3 Responses to “Department of Consumer Affairs admits George Dodd was right & that the California State Athletic Commission isn’t broke”

  1. Old Fighter says:

    Has DCA taken any money from boxer’s pension fund and the neurological fund?

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