San Bernardino, CA – The City of San Bernardino has 45 days to accept or deny the third claim filed this week by The Law Offices of Pelayes & Yu on behalf of Don Smith, a Legislative Field Representative for Mayor John Valdivia.

The claim outlines details of how Mayor Valdivia subjected Mr. Smith to sexual comments and behavior, verbal abuse, derogatory language against homeless and gays, and a hostile work environment on almost a daily basis. Some specific examples are listed below.

  • On or about January 12, 2019, Mayor Valdivia had Mr. Smith drive him to a fundraiser in Irvine. Mayor Valdivia became extremely intoxicated and “made out” with a woman in the backseat of the car, as well as in a private booth at the bar.
  • On or about April 30, 2019, Mayor Valdivia yelled at Mr. Smith after he had to take time off for his grandmother’s funeral, saying, “I don’t give a f*** who died, you need to be at work!”
  • On or about June 18, 2019, Mayor Valdivia canceled Mr. Smith from attending a conference at the last minute, telling him that “You aren’t smart enough, you can’t understand it.”
  • On or about December 18, 2019, Mayor Valdivia made numerous anti-gay remarks about Loma Linda Council Member Ovidiu Popescu’s daughter.
  • On or about December 23, 2019, Mayor Valdivia called a homeless man a “scumbag,” which was captured on video.
Five victims stand together with their attorney at a news conference
Five victims who have come forward against Mayor Valdivia at San Bernardino City Hall with Attorney Tristan Pelayes during a news conference

Mayor Valdivia routinely had Mr. Smith use city time and resources for campaign-related activity and personal errands such as picking up donation checks, getting his car serviced, and preparing campaign materials. He also had Mr. Smith remove his opponent’s campaign signs in the middle of the night. Mayor Valdivia took gifts and donations numerous times without reporting it, including an envelope of cash he received from contracted tow companies. That information was provided to another law firm in a declaration as part of a separate lawsuit involving Pepe’s Towing. All of these illegal acts have been shared with the District Attorney’s Office for investigation.

Since coming forward, Mr. Smith has been retaliated against. His job duties were taken away, his hours were cut, and his access to files, equipment, and locations has been restricted. It was also discovered that Mayor Valdivia ordered his Chief of Staff, Matt Brown, to make false statements and create fake poor performance evaluations for Mirna Cisneros and Karen Cervantes after they filed a claim against the Mayor for sexual harassment and hostile work environment. Mr. Brown refused and reported it to Human Resources, in addition to the retaliatory actions he and Mr. Smith are being subjected to.

“These incidents outlined in the claim by Don Smith paint a clear picture of who Mayor Valdivia really is; a bully and a crook who doesn’t care about his community.”

Attorney Tristan Pelayes

The city has yet to respond to the first two claims, despite the 45-day time frame; as such, formal lawsuits will be filed by the firm this month.

CLICK HERE to view a copy of the claim, the first two claims, and other relevant files.