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Citrus College Board Member Accused of Living Outside of District

A union president urges the board to take action to remove Gary Woods, who represents Azusa on the Citrus College Board of Trustees.

Gary Woods has served on the Citrus College Board of Trustees representing Azusa since 1982, but a union president alleges that Woods doesn’t even live in Azusa, violating terms of the elected office.

John Fincher, president of the Citrus College Faculty Association, leveled allegations against Woods during Tuesday’s board meeting, claiming that Woods, who long insisted his one-bedroom Azusa apartment is his main place of residence, actually lives in an upscale Sierra Madre home.

Fincher points to California Elections Code, which states that an elected official must be domiciled in his or her district, meaning that residence is the place where habitation is fixed and where that person intends to remain. An elected official may only have one domicile, according to the code.

Representatives of the Community College Association, community college affiliate of the California Teachers Association, contracted an attorney who launched a two-month investigation into the allegations, which Fincher said has long been rumored throughout the 30 years Woods has been on the board.

Investigation information posted on firegarywoods.com shows a grant deed from April 2011 for Gary Woods and Guo Ping Wu for a property in Sierra Madre. Fincher said surveillance cameras show that nearly every morning Woods would leave his Sierra Madre home and return in the evening. Fincher said the investigation was spurred by a former United State Postal Service carrier who said he consistently dropped off mail at Woods’ Azusa residence at 450 N. Soldano Ave. to find a full mailbox that would occasionally be emptied by the owner. 

“We have someone who is not properly elected and not properly domiciled in the district and does not properly represent the people of Azusa,” said Fincher.

He urged the board to investigate the allegations, which he said can lead to the board to initiate an action item for the April 2 meeting to vacate Woods’ position.

Woods, who represents Azusa and portions of Duarte in Area #1, ends his four-year term on Nov. 30. He plans to run for another term in November.

Woods brushed off the allegations as “politics” in the lead up to the November election.

“It has been a split board for a long time,” said Woods, who, along with fellow board member Ed Ortell, has often clashed with the three other board members – most recently over Citrus College President Geraldine Perri’s new contract.

Woods denied that his domicile was in Sierra Madre.

“Of all the properties I own, I have my phone here, I have my mail here and I intend to return here and stay here,” said Woods of his Azusa residence. “I think it meets all of the requirements for a domicile.”

Woods, also an attorney, added that if the board decided to retain legal counsel, he would be ready.

“If they want to take action, I’ll take action against them,” said Woods.

Citric Acid March 22, 2013 at 03:38 AM
To Gone - Did you know that Citrus paid a $14,000 fine because they violated the Brown Act? You mentioned that your sure "Woods and Ortell voted for it in closed session and then changed to make themselves look good to the community" is ILLEGAL. They cannot vote and even discuss any Board action in private. That's the law! That's why they got sued and had to admit fault. Ortell and Woods wanted a discussion on the contract in public but Montgomery, Rasmussen and Keith voted to stop the debate and vote to pass the pay raise. The secrecy that happens at Citrus is what sickens a lot of people. If they have nothing to hide just let the public see everything, stop playing favorites and stop hiding information. Leadership starts from the top. Unfortunately, Citrus has failed leaders and they are continuing to weed out the dissenting voices. Let the people of Azusa vote if they want Woods or not but please spare the faculty, staff and students of all this infighting and petty fights. Citrus is in the business of education not muckraking. If Fincher has a case, file a complaint and be done with it. All he does is bark and its making the whole college look bad.
gilman March 22, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Fincher is a lot of things, I am not sure "heroic" is one of them. Certainly if it is proven that the claims against Woods are correct then he will have much more than just being thrown off the board to be worried about. Disappointing to see that apparently everyone has known about Woods not living in the District but said nothing until he voted against the outlandish contract being provided to Perri. You might want to look up not only her contract, but the many amendments, and you will see that her total package is probably a little more than $400,000.00 per year.
gilman March 22, 2013 at 06:03 AM
Dear Gone, I wouldn't worry to much about Ortell and Woods voting themselves lifetime benefits....it is illegal under California law.
V. Reason March 26, 2013 at 06:41 PM
I have a phone there. I get mail there. I own several properties and can live where I want. All statements from Mr. Woods. How many other elected officials - elected to serve the city of Azusa, are also willing to stake their claim of residency as Mr. Woods...over let's say "Azusa is my home." Mr. Woods has mail, a phone, a home, work, pays property taxes and business in Pasadena, CA.....more than he does in Azusa. Just go if you like....it's ok. District 1 can find a leader from its community.
No More Wool May 09, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Hear, hear V. Reason!!

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