The Corpuz Connection
Former employee alleges Seaside City Manager interfered with police chief's investigation.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Seaside City Manager Ray Corpuz says he made the decision to place Seaside Police Chief Steve Cercone on administrative leave, shortly after Cercone placed Deputy Chief Louis Lumpkin, Officer Barry Pasquarosa and Cmdr. Mike Kimball on leave.
"I placed the chief on leave and he placed the others on leave," Corpuz said Tuesday.
The District Attorney's office has confirmed that Cercone requested a criminal investigation shortly before he was ousted.
The case appears to be related to a sexual harassment claim against Pasquarosa made in 2008 by Seaside code enforcer Vanessa Alcaraz. Corpuz said he is not legally permitted to comment on whether Cercone's leave is related to that of the other three officers.
A former department employee, who asked not to be identified, says Corpuz retaliated when Cercone asked the DA to investigate the Alcaraz case: "Now the chief is being punished for making an inquiry."
Corpuz says he can’t comment on that allegation: "That would be certainly inappropriate and not wise on my part," he said. He referred related questions to city counsel Rick Bolanos of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, who could not be reached by press time.
The paid administrative leaves "shouldn't be viewed as punitive," Corpuz added. "All these leaves have to do with making sure people's rights are protected, the city is protected, et cetera."
Cercone said he is not permitted to comment. Stephen Willis is interim chief in his absence.
Read the update in Thursday's print edition of Monterey County Weekly.