Former Santa Ana police Chief Carlos Rojas has filed a claim against the city of Santa Ana, alleging he was forced to quit because he was retaliated against for disclosing suspicious activity among city officials.
Rojas, now the police chief for the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, claims he was forced to quit because he “disclosed reasonably based suspicions of illegal activity or noncompliance with rules and/or regulations to other city employees who either had authority over Chief Rojas or had authority to investigate, discover or correct the violation or noncompliance.”
City officials “failed to take the required investigatory or corrective actions. The city’s failure resulted in retaliation and constructive termination,” according to the claim, which was filed June 19 and obtained Friday by City News Service.
The claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — alleges Rojas has been “severely damaged as he was … forced to involuntarily resign his civil service position as a result of potential illegal activity and/or noncompliance among city officials (and his complaining/disclosure re same). He has been forced to obtain employment at an unfamiliar department where he will earn less salary, expend considerably more in living expenses and will live apart from his family.”
The ex-chief blamed the following for his “injury”: Gerry Serrano of the Police Officers Association, Gerardo Mouet, former acting city manager who is now chief of the parks system for the city, Mayor Miguel Pulido and Councilmen Jose Solorio and Juan Villegas.
Pulido, Solorio and Villegas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
When Rojas announced his resignation in April, he characterized his new job as a “fun” challenge.
“I’m excited and humbled to have been selected to lead such a progressive police department,” Rojas said.
Rojas grew up in Huntington Beach and rose up through the ranks of Santa Ana’s Police Department for 27 years.
“It’s been a great experience and I’m grateful I had a lot of opportunities working my way up to the position of chief,” Rojas told City News Service at the time of his resignation announcement. “It’s been quite a privilege to serve Santa Ana and our officers here.”
A message left with Rojas’ attorney, Lawrence J. Lennemann, was not immediately returned.
— City News Service
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