The former mayor of Orange Cove ran the city for 28 years, with broad authority and little oversight. In fact, in the months since his failed attempt of an eight term in office, the city’s officials are beginning to pierce the web of his influence.

He was a man of many hats, including executive director of one of the city’s day care centers. There, he worked for the agency and the city that provided oversight, which some say is a clear conflict of interest. When his non-profit’s contract expired with the city, he never mentioned it to anyone. Now, ten years later, the city is evaluating the relationship.

The fear is that this will be the first of a series of revelations about the former mayor. The first investigation into a questionable practice produced conflicts of interest and lack of oversight. There remain more issues to be investigated.

From the Fresno Bee:

Former Orange Cove Mayor Victor Lopez ran the city for 28 years with nearly unchallenged authority. He used his power, some city officials and residents say, to mold the eastern Fresno County farm town into a remote kingdom all his own.

Now, just months after he lost his bid for an eighth term, Lopez’s kingdom continues to crumble. City officials are taking a closer look at the projects and institutions Lopez created during his three-decade rule, and their probe has uncovered allegations of mismanagement and abuses of power.

One of those projects is the Target Eight Advisory Council, a nonprofit that operates the local day-care center through a contract with the city. Orange Cove officials recently discovered a host of problems with Target Eight: Its contract expired 10 years ago; it has violated many of its bylaws; and it has failed to correctly file tax documents.

Read the full article here.