Armed investigators from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office raided the Mexican American Community Services Agency (MACSA) Youth Center at 660 Sinclair Dr. in East San Jose Thursday.
The raid began some time this morning. By 5pm, at least five officers with badges around their necks and guns on their belts were loading two unmarked police vehicles from a side door of the community center.
With neighborhood kids and MACSA employees looking on, the plain-clothes officers stacked packages wrapped in brown butcher paper and yellow tape marked “Evidence.” The packages were stamped with stickers that read “Santa Clara County Bureau of Investigation,” and notes such as “Server” and “Banking Docs.” The packages appeared to contain computers and boxes of papers.
“We are collecting documents as part of an ongoing investigation,” said Lt. Mike Sterner, an investigator with the DA’s office who was on the scene. “It’s been pretty low key. We’re working cooperatively with MACSA.”
This raid came one day after a story detailing the experiences of two former MACSA teachers ran in Metro and SanJoseInside.com.
The teachers, Miguel Baldoni and Gordon Smith, claimed that their pension contributions were essentially stolen. They also challenged statements by former MACSA Chief Operating Officer Xavier Campos, now a candidate for city council, who claimed to know nothing about the alleged pension diversion.
Today’s police raid on MACSA is the first tangible investigative step the office of Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr has taken to investigate the controversial non-profit.
In late August 2009, Carr received a 38-page report concerning MACSA, commissioned by the county Office of Education. In a letter to Carr, county Superintendent Charles Weis wrote that the report “found evidence of apparent illegal fiscal practices and misappropriation of funds” at the school.
According to the report, MACSA surreptitiously skimmed $400,000 that was earmarked for its employees’ pensions—practically cleaning out the account. Without the faculty’s or staff’s knowledge, the money was instead used for operational costs to keep the insolvent school up and running.