Why is a State Assemblyman’s District Director the CEO of a “City of Lathrop Chamber of Commerce, LLC”?
By Frank Gayaldo
LATHROP-City leaders say they were both unaware and totally perplexed as to how and why State Aseemblymember Carlos Villapudua’s District Director Xochitl Paderes appointed herself CEO of a suspiciously named “City of Lathrop Chamber of Commerce LLC”.
City Manager Stephan J Salvatore wrote to 209 Times the following message: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I, nor any of my staff members were aware of the “City of Lathrop Chamber of Commerce LLC”. Lathrop has not had an active chamber in many years. I have forwarded this information to our City Attorney and he will be following up on the issue.”
Longtime Lathrop residents Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal and Councilmember Minnie Cotton Diallo both confirmed they too had never heard of this for profit entity that was first registered with the Secretary of State in November of 2020. An updated Statement of Information was filed in August of 2022 which designated Xochitl Paderes as both the “registered agent” and “CEO” of the company.
It is worth noting Lodi, Tracy, Manteca, Stockton, Escalon and Ripon all have legitimate Chambers of Commerce that have designated nonprofit status listed with the Secretary of State. Lathrop currently is the only incorporated city in San Joaquin County that does not have a functioning nonprofit chamber, but there is a renewed effort underway by Lathrop residents and small business owners to start one.
Although Ms. Paderes does not live in Lathrop, she does have business interests in Lathrop, Lodi, Stockton, Los Angeles and Arizona, some of which 209 Times is being told are under a multi-agency criminal investigation. 209 Times is in possession of evidence that shows Ms. Paderes was conducting for profit business out of Assemblymember Villapudua’s state owned district office located on Quail Lakes Drive in Stockton. Sources tell 209 Times that District Director Paderes physically vacated her office a few months ago “under a cloud of suspicion”, but is still being paid a director’s salary by the State of California.
Assemblymember Villapudua has thus far refused to answer any questions but did call 209 Times on Aug 18, 2023 to cryptically say “I will answer all of your questions in one week”. The state legislator refused to elaborate further and has not responded since. Xochitl Paderes has also refused to comment about her for profit chamber functions or respond to numerous allegations she’s involved in “high level public corruption”. Lee Neves, whom concurrently serves as both Carlos Villapudua’s political consultant and the San Joaquin County District Attorney Office spokesman, has thus far refused to acknowledge receipt of 209 Times’ multiple phone calls, text messages and emails.
If you are a business owner that has had dealings with Ms. Xochitl Paderes, whether favorable or unfavorable, 209 Times would like to hear from you.
This is a developing story.