CHART: Key Mozingo resumé issues
By Royal Calkins
The documents Carmel City Attorney Glen Mozingo provided to the City Council to back up various claims on his resumé suggest that he may have been qualified to practice law in the United Kingdom as he says, but they mostly address elements of the resumé that have never been contested.
The documents made public under court order Thursday principally confirm basic information such as his college and law school graduations and his membership in various law-related organizations. They do not address his false claim of having received a Congressional Gold Medal or his claims of having done considerable legal work for several Southern California cities before being named to his current post.
In the documents, Mozingo does not address the claim in his job application that he has never been sued for malpractice, although he has been twice.
In response to another of the issues raised by Voices of Monterey Bay and others over the past several months, he provides a somewhat supportive letter from the widow of former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates. In the resumé, Mozingo writes that he worked as “special counsel” to Gates for eight years, assisting him in reviewing potential municipal ordinances and preparing for city council meetings. Gates’s wife, Sima Lalich Gates, writes that Mozingo had provided her husband with significant advice over the years.
“… My husband consulted with Mr. Mozingo regarding many issues pertaining to proposed actions from the Los Angeles City Council as it would affect the Los Angeles Police Department and budgetary and procedural matters,” she wrote in a May 2018 letter to Mozingo. She said Mozingo later assisted the family with estate planning and probate issues and funeral planning.
Private and city attorneys working for Gates at the time said earlier this year they had never heard of Mozingo. City financial records contain no record of payments to Mozingo.
Mozingo, 72, worked almost entirely in estate planning and business formation throughout his four-decade career but his resumé seriously inflated his experience in government law. For instance, he wrote that he had been hired by then-San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson to work on eminent domain issues surrounding the Horton Plaza shopping center, the city’s most ambitious redevelopment project through the 1980s. Wilson’s chief of staff at the time, Bob White, and the city’s redevelopment director at the time, said earlier this year that neither they nor Wilson have any recollection of Mozingo.
To address that, Mozingo, provided no details but included a photo of the San Diego city seal and a small gold plaque that reads “Thank You, Pete & Gayle Wilson.” Mozingo’s name is not mentioned.
Voices and the Monterey County Weekly began raising questions about Mozingo’s resumé last year, leading to several articles challenging key elements. Research into his background was made more difficult by the lack of dates and other pertinent details within the resumé and his refusal to entertain questions on the subject.
In June, Mozingo met with the City Council in closed session, in which he made a PowerPoint presentation of the materials released this week. Following that meeting, Council Member Carrie Theis announced that the council had confirmed that his resumé was “100 percent” accurate. The city rejected public records requests for those documents but Voices and a group called Transparency in Government sued the city, alleging violation of the Public Records Act. Monterey Superior Court Judge Robert O’Farrell last month ruled in favor of Voices and this week signed the formal order prepared by Voices’ lawyer Neil Shapiro.
The City Council had contemplated appealing the order but agreed last week to turn the paperwork over instead. Mozingo’s employment and the council’s decision earlier this year to grant him a five-year contract are proving to be significant campaign issues in the race for mayor and two open council seats. Also at issue is Mozingo’s decision to hire two lawyers as assistants to help him with a caseload that traditionally had been handled by one part-timer.
Voices has repeatedly questioned Mozingo’s claims to have graduated from Oxford’s Balliol College with a degree in international law and his claim to be licensed to practice law in Great Britain. A representative of Oxford said earlier this year that the college does not offer such a degree and a representative of the British bar, the Law Society of England and Wales, said that Mozingo was not a current member and that a record of previous membership could not be found.
The documents made public Thursday appear to provide support for some Mozingo’s claims regarding Great Britain, but they fall short of showing that he has ever actually practiced there or is licensed there now and the appear to show that he exaggerated his training.
Correspondence from the College of Law of England and Wales but not Balliol College, the Oxford operation mentioned in his resumé, says he had earned an international practice diploma in international arbitration law and another letter says he had attended a course in international law offered by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Oxford and its law school are consistently ranked among the world’s best while the College of Law of England and Wales is a for-profit school that offers a course load more vocational than academic. When various entities rank Britain’s law schools, it often does not make the list.
Other letters say Mozingo was eligible to become a transfer member of the Law Society of England and Wales, the British bar, and an affiliate member of the society’s international division.
That letter explains, “This means you can upload your firm’s profile for publication on the international website.” It does not appear to confer any rights to practice law or anything else.
Mozingo’s profile is posted on that website but it contains the notation that he is not “SRA regulated.” The SRA is the Solicitor Regulation Authority, the entity that governs British lawyers. Mozingo has claimed to be a solicitor-advocate, signifying advanced privileges that he could not have without SRA sanction.
Mozingo also provided a copy of a California Community College teaching credential awarded to him in 1982. Voices had questioned his claim of having a California college teaching credential in part because the community college system stopped awarding credentials in 1990.
Mozingo has consistently claimed to have won the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award issued by Congress. Official lists of the recipients show it has gone to fewer to 200 people, most of them household names, such as Bob Dole and Nelson Mandela. He is not on the lists.
As part of the package distributed Thursday, Mozingo provides photos and considerable information about lesser awards given to him by the Republican Congressional Committee, including one for helping the GOP pass “the first across-the-board tax cut in a generation” in 2003. The awards are gold in color but they are not Congressional Gold Medals.
Among the many items Mozingo included that have not been challenged was a 2001 award by the Republican Congressional Committee naming him as 2001 California Businessman of the Year.
After Mozingo’s closed-door meeting with the council in June, Deputy City Attorney Jon Giffen revealed that his boss had provided the council with numerous items, including a commendation from Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and another from the Secretary of the Treasury.
The commendation from Douglas amounted to a 1979 letter congratulating him on his upcoming graduation from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. The 1990 item from Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady was a short note calling Mozingo “a good Republican and a great American.”
Mozingo also included an invitation to a State Department reception and a picture of him shaking hands with Condoleezza Rice, a former secretary of state. He provided a certificate signifying membership in the Royal Society of St. George and another indicating that his name is on the Wall of Tolerance.
For unclear reasons, Mozingo included a letter indicating that he once served on the board of directors of a time-share apartment building in London. Apparently in support of his claim of having done significant work for the American Automobile Association in Southern California, he provided a copy of a business card indicating that he was working in government relations for the organization at some time.
In divorce papers, Mozingo once said he had been a director of the Charles Schwab investment firm. In the documents released Thursday, he makes no mention of Schwab but does show that he once was a director of Sunwest Bank in Southern California.
The resumé of Glen Mozingo contains numerous accurate statements about his education and experience, numerous statements that could neither be confirmed or deemed untrue, and several statements that appear to be incorrect or misleading. Items in the third category are listed below along with whatever responses Mozingo provided to the Carmel City Council.
Resumé: Says he was special counsel to L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates for eight years, 1984-92. Says the work involved “reviewing and consulting with the chief of police regarding proposed municipal ordinances that would or could affect department policies and enforcement as well as drafting proposed testimony for city council presentation.”
Discussion: Employees of the Los Angeles Police Department and City Attorney’s Office and private lawyers working for Chief Gates at the time say they have no recollection of Mozingo. City Controller’s Office has no record of any payments to Mozingo though it does have records of payments years earlier to his father, who retired as a Los Angeles police detective. Gates’s family says Mozingo did provide some estate planning work for Gates’s widow.
Additional information released by the city on Oct. 12: A letter from Gates’s widow, Sima Lalich Gates, from May 2018. It says her husband had regularly consulted with Mozingo on issues related to city politics and budgetary matters. She also wrote that he later provided the family help with estate and probate matters and funeral arrangements.
Resumé: Says he received Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’s highest civilian honor.
Discussion: It appears that he did win two Republican Party Congressional Committee awards, generally given as thanks for campaign contributions, but there is no record of him having won a Congressional Gold Medal. Actual recipients of the award include Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks.
Additional information from the city: Photos and other references to GOP awards but nothing related to the Congressional Gold Medal.
Resumé: Says he was hired by San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson to handle eminent domain issues involving Horton Plaza, which was then the city’s largest redevelopment project.
Discussion: Wilson’s chief aide at the time, Bob White, who also was chief of staff when Wilson was governor and a U.S. senator, says neither he nor Wilson had ever heard of Mozingo and the head of the San Diego redevelopment agency at the time also says he was not familiar with Mozingo.
Additional information from the city: A photo of the San Diego seal and a plaque saying only “Thank You, Pete & Gayle Wilson.”
Resumé: Says Mozingo received a degree in international law from Oxford University’s Balliol College, qualifying him to practice law in the United Kingdom.
Discussion: A representative of Oxford said the prestigious university does not offer such a degree.
Additional information from the city: Considerable paperwork showing that he received a diploma in international law from the College of Law of England and Wales but nothing from Oxford or Balliol.
Resumé: Says he is licensed to practice law in the United Kingdom.
Discussion: A representative of the Law Society of England and Wales, the British bar association, said there is no record of Mozingo being a member. Mozingo does have a promotional listing on the Law Society website but it includes the notation that he is not regulated by the Solicitor Regulation Authority, which is the licensing arm of the society.
Additional information from the city: Paperwork suggesting he had been admitted to the Law Society of England and Wales. Additional research would be required to reach a definite conclusion about his status, past or present.
Resumé: Says he worked as trial counsel for the cities of Escondido, San Diego, Laguna Hills, Vista and Mission Viejo.
Discussion: Officials in those cities could find no record of payments to Mozingo or his law firm though officials in four of those cities say their records check is not necessarily definitive. The city manager of Escondido, Jeff Epp, who started working as an attorney for that city in 1985, says he has no recollection of Mozingo and cannot find any record of payments to Mozingo, who lived in Escondido while attending law school.
Additional information from the city: Nothing.
Resumé: Says he was general counsel to the County of Sacramento Fire District, during which time seven fire districts were merged into one.
Discussion: There is no County of Sacramento Fire District. Mozingo’s reference apparently is to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, though he has never been general counsel to that organization.
At one point in Mozingo’s career, he partnered with a Sacramento lawyer, Don Gordon Price, forming the firm of Price & Mozingo. Late in the 1990s, Price became general counsel for the American River Fire Protection District in Sacramento. In 2000, that district merged with the Sacramento County Fire Prevention District to become the Sacramento Metro Fire District.
“Technically, the firm was the general counsel,” Price said in a telephone interview, “but it was mostly me. His involvement? He might have attended a couple of board meetings when I couldn’t make it.”
Additional information from the city: A chronology of fire district mergers leading to creation of the Sacramento Metro Fire District, and letters indicating the Mozingo and Price were partners.
Resumé: Says he holds a California college teaching credential.
Documents provided by the city: Copy of a 1982 California Community College teaching credential.
Resumé: Says Mozingo handled “hundreds of trials” including 138 jury trials, of which he won all but two.
Discussion: Numerous other lawyers say it would be highly unusual for anyone except a career prosecutor or public defender to handle so many trials and extremely difficult for anyone except a prosecutor to compile such an impressive win-loss record. Most of Mozingo’s four-decade legal career was dedicated to estate planning and business formation.
Documents released by the city: Nothing.
Application: In his application for the city attorney position, Mozingo wrote, “I have never been the subject of a malpractice claim, complaints with the state bar or disciplinary action of any kind.”
Discussion: Orange County court records show that he was sued for malpractice twice. He prevailed in a suit filed by Orange County accountant Caren S. Ober and he reached an out-of-court settlement in an earlier claim filed by Contra Costa County horse breeder Manuel Vierra.
Documents released by the city: State Bar Association paperwork indicating Mozingo had not been subject to disciplinary action at the bar level. Nothing regarding malpractice.
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