Marco Verdugo
Chula Vista City Attorney candidate Marco Verdugo. Photo via Marco Verdugo for City Attorney

Deputy City Attorney and candidate for Chula Vista City Attorney, Marco Verdugo, Monday announced a plan intended to tackle what he claims are growing concerns of corruption at city hall.

“The residents of Chula Vista deserve a government that operates with the highest standards of integrity and transparency,” he said. “My plan is a commitment to restoring faith in our city’s governance and ensuring that Chula Vista is a model for ethical leadership.”

Earlier this month, Chula Vista City Councilmember Andrea Cardenas and her brother, Jesus Cardenas, pleaded not guilty to criminal charges stemming from an alleged fraudulent loan for their political consulting business.

The siblings are accused of fraudulently obtaining a $176,227 Paycheck Protection Program loan in early 2021 intended for their firm, Grassroots Resources, then using the funds on personal expenses, including a $33,500 check to Andrea Cardenas’ Chula Vista City Council campaign account.

Verdugo’s plan involves revising the city charter, “allowing investigations and potential suspension of council members involved in corruption by a 4/5 super majority of the City Council, with salary clawback provisions for those convicted,” as well as closing financial loopholes and establishing an independent auditor.

Verdugo is vying for the city’s top legal job against fellow Democrat and former city attorney Bart Miesfield, both of whom are seeking to fill the role after voters elected Simon Silva last year. Silva died of cancer before the election, leaving the position vacant.

Miesfeld was appointed as Chula Vista city attorney by the City Council in 2008 and served for two years.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. Nov. 20, 2023

City News Service contributed to this article.