Attorneys for Los Angeles County want a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a retired sheriff’s captain who alleges he wrongfully denied a return of his concealed weapons permit, calling his complaint “convoluted” and “hard to follow.”
Former Capt. Donald Rubio‘s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit allegations include retaliation and breach of contract. He maintains the weapons permit would have allowed him to transfer to a well-paying public safety director job with the city of Lancaster that he sought as part of a settlement agreement of an Internal Affairs Bureau probe.
“Whistleblowers are supposed to be protected by state and federal statutes and are supposed to be safe from retaliation,” the lawsuit states. “However, the whistleblowers, such as plaintiff Donald Rubio, are not safe in LASD and are not protected by the county.”
While some past sheriffs have retaliated against whistleblowers, former Sheriff Alex Villanueva took vindictiveness, revenge and retaliation to another level, leading to about two dozen ongoing whistleblower lawsuits against the county, Rubio’s complaint states. But in court papers filed with Judge Gail Killefer, county attorneys maintain Rubio’s suit should be dismissed during a scheduled April 24 hearing. They say he was the subject of a sexual misconduct criminal investigation and a department policy violation — although he was never charged — and that he retired in the face of a possible discharge.
“Plaintiff’s lengthy and convoluted complaint is hard to follow, but the clear chronology of the timeline does not support any of plaintiff’s causes of action as there are no facts to support either of his claims,” the county lawyers maintain in their court papers. “Plaintiff is discussing his personal life, reaches conclusions based on nothing, but his speculations … stand naked without any factual support and, most importantly, fail to plead facts.”
Rubio was already set to retire and that retirement never depended on any department actions, according to the county attorneys’ court papers. In his suit, Rubio maintains that shortly after his promotion to captain, on the advice of his union he filed a grievance in July 2020 for allegedly not being paid the wages owed for someone of his rank, upsetting Villanueva and then-Undersheriff Tim Murakami. Rubio also reported that a commander who he considered a Villanueva loyalist had allegedly committed fraud regarding a community college contract with the LASD, the suit states.
Retaliation against Rubio started soon thereafter and he was told he was being investigated for a criminal matter involving a former girlfriend who is the mother of his son, according to the suit. County attorneys maintain the woman was a substance abuser. The commander later became chief of Rubio’s unit and refused to take his phone calls, then relieved him of duty while he was on vacation and engaged in further retaliation against him, the suit filed last June 8 states.
Even though Rubio believed that he could defeat what he deems were fabricated Internal Affairs Bureau findings in a Civil Service hearing for allegedly facilitating the visitation of his son’s mother, he accepted a proposed settlement from the county with a “constructive termination through forced retirement,” according to the complaint.
In addition, Rubio wanted to retire early and take the city of Lancaster job, which paid $200,000 annually, but he needed his concealed weapons permit for the position and the county refused to give it to him, the suit states.
“Clearly, plaintiff was denied (the concealed weapons permit) out of spite and retaliation,” the suit alleges. ” The county has long been on notice of (former) Sheriff Villanueva’s tactic of retaliating against whistle blowers who report misconduct.”