Claremont Insider: Sunday Alvarez Update

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Alvarez Update

Count on our old friend Xavier Alvarez for some interesting non-mayoral news.

The Daily Bulletin today has an article by Will Bigham that says Alvarez, who represents South Pomona on the Three Valleys Municipal Water District board, will be sentenced in a Los Angeles federal court tomorrow after taking a guilty plea for a misdemeanor charge of falsely claiming to be a Medal of Honor winner.

Bigham's article gives the backstory to Alvarez's conviction. It turns out the the story first came to light back in June, 2007, during a VIP trip sponsored by Southern California Edison to a hydroelectric facility in Big Creek, CA.

Bigham tells us that the event planner, Melissa Campbell, heard Alvarez say he was a former Marine and a Medal of Honor recipient:

Campbell's 10-year career as a Marine ended in 1996. She went to college and raised children before returning to the work force full time with Edison in 2004.

As part of her duties as an event planner, she would frequently accompany elected officials and community volunteers on trips to the utility's hydroelectric facility in the Sierra Nevada mountain town of Big Creek.

In June 2007, one of the guests on the trip was Alvarez, who seven months earlier had been elected to his seat on the Three Valleys water board.

He introduced himself to Campbell as a former Marine and a Medal of Honor winner, and Campbell says she was overwhelmed with excitement at being able to meet someone she initially believed was a highly decorated war veteran.

She contacted her husband at home in San Clemente to share the news, and he searched the Internet to find information on Alvarez's medal.

His searches were fruitless. He notified Campbell she was dealing with an apparent fraud.

The article said Campbell and another Edison employee later started questioning Alvarez's claims, and their questions apparently prompted Alvarez to complain to people higher up in Edison chain of command.

Just to show that no good deed goes unpunished, Edison suspended Campbell without pay two weeks after the Big Creek trip. Two weeks after that, Edison fired Campbell, citing performance issues. Edison claims that Campbell's termination had nothing to do with the Alvarez incident.


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