Ex-City Manager Files Suit Against Adelanto
Former Adelanto City Manager Gabriel Elliott has filed a lawsuit against his previous employer, Mayor Rich Kerr, and current City Manager Jesse Flores alleging he was smeared with false allegations of sexual harassment and then fired from the job in retaliation for his decision to expose corruption in the city.
As CityNews reported previously, Elliot filed a legal claim in August. His lawsuit was filed on Oct. 31.
According to Elliott, Kerr and Flores accepted bribes in return for not enforcing code requirements on marijuana businesses in the city. Additionally, Elliott says the two conspired to sell the city’s public works yard and emergency operations center at below-market value to a man who planned to sell it to marijuana cultivators for a much higher price.
Elliott and then-City Attorney Ruben Duran told the FBI about the $200,000 kickback scheme in Nov. of 2017, according to the suit. But the suit also blames Duran, calling him a “tacit co-conspirator in allowing the illegal conduct to occur without protest or resignation” — allegations the former city attorney has denied.
Elliott’s suit claims he also informed the FBI that Kerr was soliciting donations from businesses for his wife’s nonprofit.
After Elliot began acting as a whistleblower, he says Kerr and Flores set out to get him. He was routinely harassed, humiliated, and ordered to fire employees who showed disloyalty to Kerr. Kerr and Flores tried to rally the City Council to fire Elliott, the lawsuit claims, but were unable to gain the necessary support. It was at that point that Elliot alleges they solicited three city employees to file sexual harassment complaints against him. Those complaints ultimately led to his firing in July.
A spokesman for the City of Adelanto told the San Bernardino Sun that it cannot comment on pending litigation.