San Bernardino, CA – Videos, documents, and witness statements have confirmed that the City of San Bernardino was aware of Mayor John Valdivia’s inappropriate conduct over the last several years, yet failed to take action to protect those he was victimized.

On February 1, 2018, while Valdivia was a Council Member, he was hand-delivered a letter from the City Attorney warning him about liability surrounding him creating a hostile work environment and “interfering with the administration of the City” (in violation of the City municipal code) by using his position (and staff) to push his personal motives. The letter was again shared as a reminder during a March 6, 2019 council meeting where the Mayor was proposing an amendment to the city municipal code which would allow him to supersede direction by the City Manager and other members of administration.

Karen Cervantes (right) and Mirna Cisneros (left) share their story of how Mayor Valdivia sexually harassed and abused them.

On March 14, 2019, Human Resources Director Helen Tran issued a memorandum to Mayor Valdivia warning him about having Mirna Cisneros work out of class. This was a result of him repeatedly assigning her to work various after hours events, which were not within the scope of her work duties and is also a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violation.

The City of San Bernardino has 45 days to accept or deny the two claims filed last week by The Law Offices of Pelayes & Yu. The claims outline the details of how Mayor John Valdivia abused his position of power by continuously harassing Mirna Cisneros, a former senior customer service representative, and Karen Cervantes, Valdivia’s former assistant.

Community members have organized a protest on Wednesday, February 19, 2019, in support of Ms. Cisneros and Ms. Cervantes. They will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the front steps of city hall; the regular council meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m.

“As the evidence and witnesses continue to come forward, it is even more evident that Mayor Valdivia’s statement claiming ‘political motivation’ by my clients is absurd. The city needs to do something to protect those he has harassed, as well as prevent him from continuing on his path of victimization.”

Attorney Tristan Pelayes