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Chula Vista councilwoman charged with several felonies is a no-show at Tuesday's council meeting

Andrea Cardenas
Posted at 7:18 AM, Nov 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-15 10:18:49-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - The South Bay city councilwoman charged with several felonies did not show up for Tuesday's Chula Vista City Council meeting.

Before the start of the meeting, a group of community leaders and residents held a rally to demand the resignation of council member Andrea Cardenas.

Russ Hall is a lifelong Chula Vista resident, activist, and former civic leader. He says the allegations could be just the beginning.

"With the depth of the allegations in terms of where else this may spread to, the city attorney now needs to look into all of her votes, all of her participation, anything else that may have been compromised," said Hall.

Last Thursday, council member Andrea Cardenas and her brother Jesus Cardenas pleaded not guilty to several felony charges alleging they misused COVID relief money.

Prosecutors say the two falsified information to get a PPP, or Paycheck Protection Program, loan of more than $170,000 for their political consulting firm, Grassroots Resources.

The DA's office accuses the siblings of laundering the money into several accounts to pay for personal expenses, including Andrea's campaign debt.

Prosecutors also say the two claimed they had thirty-four employees for Grassroots Resources, but the employees actually worked for a marijuana dispensary that is a client of the consulting firm.

RELATED: Chula Vista City Councilwoman Andrea Cardenas responds to fraud charges

Residents at the rally want the city council to censure Cardenas publicly.

The Chula Vista mayor has also called for her to step down.

The issue was not on Tuesday's council agenda, but many people planned to speak during public comment.

Cardenas' lawyer says she plans to fight the allegations and has no intention of resigning.

"She has violated public trust, and when you violate public trust like this, it makes it very hard to maintain yourself in public office," said Hall.