San Bernardino Mayor Censured for Misuse of Public Funds

The San Bernardino City Council voted unanimously last week to censure Mayor John Valdivia, who is accused of misusing city funds. The unanimous vote could dampen prospects for Valdivia’s re-election in June.

An investigation conducted by an outside law firm concluded that Valdivia used public funds for thousands of invitations to a private event meant to promote himself. He also failed to report a $5,000 contribution from the Inland Empire Health Plan, according to the firm's report.

“That was a private event only to benefit himself. He did not invite us [the city council], he did not invite everybody from the city. The previous events that have been held in our city, we’ve had well over 100/200/500 people attend, and it was open to the public,” said Councilwoman Sandra Ibarra.

“We will no longer accept mediocracy, thievery, blatant denial of oversight, marginalization, disenfranchisement, corrupt mentalities, nor folks running for office who have negative reputations that will continue to bring our city down,” said Councilwoman Kimberly Calvin.

In addition to the censure, the council is considering pressing criminal charges against Valdivia.

Former Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco represented the mayor at the meeting. He accused the city council of attempting a “political assassination.”

Read more from ABC 7 and the San Bernardino Sun.