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City treasurer labels donation to SDSU illegal

October 11, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — City Treasurer Rudolfo Moreno has a problem with the city Redevelopment Agency giving $10,000 to the San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus.

He didn't say anything when the City Council, seated as the RDA board, gave a $3,500 donation in support of the annual Farm Worker Appreciation Breakfast, and later gave $1,500 to the emergency food and shelter program of Imperial County.

Moreno was at the meeting when the board approved the $3,500 donation to the farm workers breakfast, left before the board gave the money to the food and shelter program but only commented publicly on the SDSU scholarship issue.

Moreno said the RDA boards of Brawley, El Centro and Riverside all decided not to make similar scholarship donations with agency funds.


He said the "legal opinion" that City Manager Richard Inman said the city had was actually only a letter from a development consultant who claimed to have spoken to an attorney.

Moreno held up a photocopy of the letter, "This is not a legal opinion."

He said it didn't matter if this City Council, seated as the RDA board, approved the donation to SDSU.

"This is not a legal expenditure and I will refuse to sign it (the check)," he said.

Mayor Pro Tem John Renison abstained from discussion or a vote on the matter. He is the development director at SDSU-IV.

City Attorney Michael Rood said he would seek a specific legal opinion and bring it back to the board.

As Moreno sat down and the issue was tabled, Mayor Victor Carrillo thanked him for "keeping us up to date on what is happening in Brawley, El Centro and Riverside."

Later in the meeting, after Moreno had left, the board voted on the food and shelter program's donation.

Councilman Frank Montoya asked Rood if the city was safe legally if it approved the donation.

Rood said the expenditure would be legal if care was taken to make sure the RDA funds given to the program would be earmarked by the countywide organization for residents living in Calexico's redevelopment areas.

After the unanimous vote to approve the donation, Carrillo said it was interesting that Moreno had not commented on the farm worker's donation but did have issues with the SDSU scholarships.

"I didn't pay any attention to it," Moreno said today, referring to the farm worker's donation.

He said he will wait until Rood secures a legal opinion regarding donations by an RDA board before commenting on the other donations.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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