District 5 San Jose City Council candidate Xavier Campos still refuses to address any details about the two decades he spent working at the embattled Mexican American Community Services Agency (MACSA).
Five days after MACSA’s Youth Center on 660 Sinclair Dr. was raided by armed investigators from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office , Campos, the organization’s former chief operating officer (COO) insists through intermediaries that there’s no reason for him to address the issue.
The raid was part of an ongoing probe into $400,000 of missing employee pension funds at a charter school operated by MACSA.
With less than two weeks left until the election, Campos will address the issue only through an aide to his sister, Nora Campos, the current District 5 councilmember.
Rolando Bonilla, Nora Campos’ media director, says that Xavier Campos has no responsibility to speak to the subject. Bonilla says the whole scandal is being drummed up by “political hacks” at the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“[Xavier] is in a place where he has time and time again answered questions, [but] never to the satisfaction of those asking,” Bonilla says. “He doesn’t refuse—it’s just that no one wants to accept his answer. Our enemies for sure want somehow that we partake in their concoction. That’s just not going to happen.”
Campos, who has declined to be interviewed by Metro three times in the past two weeks, has not in fact answered any questions “time and time again.” Metro could only find a handful of published statements on the topic from the candidate.
On May 16, Campos told the Mercury News that he “wasn’t involved in delaying payment to the retirement accounts,” and insisted that his role as COO was limited to implementing after-school and anti-gang programs. On May 11, the Merc wrote that Campos “says he was aware of MACSA ‘s cash-flow problems but not the diversion of funds.”
On Sept. 15, a nine-page audit of Campos’ time at MACSA was released. Compiled by independent investigators Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team and commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce, the study contained evidence that Campos had fiduciary responsibilities at MACSA. It concluded that “investigatory documents ... raise significant questions as to the truthfulness of his statements to the San Jose Mercury News.”
Following the Oct. 14 raid, Campos told the Merc that he felt “vindicated” by the fact that he has not been named a suspect. Santa Clara County District Attorney’s spokeswoman Amy Cornell confirms that Campos is not currently a suspect, but emphasizes that the case is ongoing, and that investigators are still entrenched in exploring the seized evidence.
“Since it is a pending investigation, we are not able to discuss specifically what we are looking for,” Cornell says. “What happens in any investigation is that we will gather the information that is needed to review and make an appropriate filing decision, whether to file charges or not file charges. That’s what will happen here as well.”
Campos’ City Council opponent, Magdalena Carrasco, has demanded that he remove himself from the race and directly address the issue at a public forum.
Unsurprisingly, Campos has not responded.
Carrasco says she believes indictments are imminent in this case, based on the feedback she says she’s gotten from former MACSA employees in recent weeks.
“My response is that [Campos’] feeling of vindication is short sighted,” Carrasco says. “It’s an investigation in progress.”
Bonilla says that Campos is being treated unfairly by the media, who have widely endorsed Carrasco in the race.
“Let me ask you this, where is the full page expose on the fact that Magdalena didn’t pay her taxes for several years?” Bonilla asks. “Or the fact that she didn’t pay her garbage, or the fact that she didn’t pay her library fees. Where’s that story?”
Carrasco filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy five years ago, and did not file income tax returns for several years during which she was caring for her elderly parents. When she did file, she did not owe any back taxes. She has been open in discussing her past money problems.