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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Waiting to Be Rescued, Part 1


On Thursdays, one of President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. few supporters wrote a comment criticizing anyone who posts comments on the blog, and resorting to the use of profanity, disparaged people who have posted comments and threatened to expose them. What we found interesting is that the person who was criticizing people for posting and threatening to expose their identifies, exercised his or her right to express their opinion. The hypocrisy didn't elude us. 

More than even the content of the message is the reaction of the poster which was extremely emotion and causing to wonder if the poster is a member of Priority One's deficient executive or managerial body. 

For those people who read and even post on this blog, there is no way that your identity can be identified. The President's supporter leveled a threat which was grounded in ignorance and amounts to nothing more than cheap theatrics and elementary manipulation. 

The folks at provided us with information about any poster's identity. 

"Anonymous comments should be okay. Commenters who might use their profile leave themselves as vulnerable as the amount of profile information included." .


Though we had not intended to write again, about Priority One Credit Union's second election which took place several weeks ago, we've decided to revisit the subject after recently obtaining a copy of the letter sent to United States Postal Carrier, Jeffrey Moses Chen, by Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, in which she reminded him to complete the nomination application and return it to the credit union by June 24, 2009, the date of the deadline for all submissions. As we've also reported previously, President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. and the Board Chair violated state law when they accepted Mr. Chen's completed application, several days after the deadline had come and gone. 

The contents of Mrs. Harris-Brooks' letter to Mr. Chen is shown below:

June 18, 2009

Re: Request to Run for Voluntary Position
Priority One Credit Union

Dear Mr. Chen:

This letter is in response to our acknowledgement correspondence and application package mailed to you on Tuesday, June 2, 2009.

To date, we have not received your application package for a possible seat on the Board of Directors of Supervisory Committee.

Unfortunately, you did not provide a contact phone number in your letter of request; therefore, we have not been unable to contact you to discuss the urgency of receiving your package timely.

If you are still interested in applying for one of the volunteer seats, we request that you forward your package to the address below by close of business Wednesday, June 24, 2009. if we do not receive your response by the due date, we will move forward with the election process.  

Priority One Credit Union
Attention: Nomination Committee
1631 Huntington Drive
South Pasadena, CA 91030      

Your immediate response is appreciated. 

Diedra E. Brooks (signature)
(Fr) Bobby Thomas
Chair, Nominating Committee

The Board Chair has never written to any member, reminding them to return their nomination. Serving on the Board or Supervisory Committee is s she wrote, voluntary thus there is no no need to remind a person that they should submit their complete application. The reason why Mrs. Harris-Brooks sent the letter was because she, the President and Director, Bobby Thomas, were perpetrating a plot to interfere with the electoral process. Unbeknownst to Mr. Chen, was just a tool by which they hoped to defer votes that could possibly go to former Director, David Davidson. What's more, the three had already begun telling associates and friends who are members, to vote for Mr. Chen. To described Diedra Harris-Brooks as being merely "corrupt" is a huge understatement. The Board Chair, like the President, has no concept of what ethical conduct entails and both possess a disdain for policies and laws. 

The President and Board Chair's violation of law is further attested to in the following announcement issued this past May by Mrs. Harris-Brooks to members:
Priority One Credit Union
Message to Members regarding the Annual Meeting

All members are invited to attend the Annual Meeting of Priority One Credit Union.

When: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.


Priority One Credit Union
South Pasadena Headquarters
1631 Huntington Drove
South Pasadena, CA 91030

At the Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors, Supervisory Committee and President/CEO will jointly report on the status of the Credit Union. As discussed further below, no unscheduled business will be conducted during the Annual Meeting. However, immediately following the adjournment of the scheduled business of the Annual Meeting, there will be a Question and Answer session for members.

As you know, the announcement of election results is generally held during the Annual Meeting. Recently, the Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee have become aware of concerns as to the distribution of the notice of vacancies to members. To this end, the Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee have considered that there may be members who were interested in being nominated to run for either: (a)the one(1) position on the Board of Directors, or (b) one of the two (2) positions on the Supervisory Committee. Each of these positions are for three (3) year terms. Consequently, in the interest of fairness for all, the Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee have determined it is appropriate to re-open the nomination and election process.

Accordingly, any member in good standing who is interested in seeking nominations for the above available positions on the Board of Directors or Supervisory Committee should request a nomination application from the Nominating Committee in writing to the following address:

Nominating Committee
P.O. Box 512195
Los Angeles, CA 90051-0195

All completed nomination applications must be submitted to the Nominating Committee at the above address no later than midnight June 8, 2009.

The Nominating Committee will consider up to three (3) members for each open position. Those not selected by the Nominating Committee will be allowed the opportunity to seek nomination process is complete, an election notice will be mailed to all voting members with the names of those persons nominated. Subject to there being more nominees than open positions, a written ballot will be provide to all voting members. If, on the other hand, there are no more nominations than open positions, then those nominated shall be deemed elected in accordance with the Bylaws.

Mrs. Harris-Brooks not only violated state laws, her acceptance of Mr. Chen's application after the deadline is clearly inconsistent with the statement in her letter that applications must be submitted "no later than midnight June 8, 2009."

What's more, Mrs. Harris-Brooks mailed her letter to Mr. Chen, ten (10) days after the deadline had passed. Evidently, Mrs. Harris-Brooks shares the same disdain to rules and laws so often shown by President Wiggington. With regards to her letter, how many times since she's been Board Chair has Mrs. Harris-Brooks sent a similar letter to any member?

It gets better.........

A few days after the letter was mailed, Mr. Chen visited the South Pasadena Branch. Arriving at the reception area, he loudly announced that he was there to submit his nomination. When advised the deadline had expired, he became irate and exclaimed, "Bobby Thomas said I could turn in my nomination!" 

Later, that same day, the giddy and over zealous President visited the Senior Vice President's office, exclaiming he was in possession of Mr. Chen's application. While walking through the Loan Department, he called Mrs. Harris-Brooks and loudly boasted that he'd received the nomination. For the dishonest President, violated state law and credit union policy was indeed something to be jubilant about


Last Wednesday, at the request of Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks; the Board of Directors; President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr.; AVP, Rodger Smock; and COO, Beatrice Walker all convened for a "private" meeting at Carrows Restaurant in South Pasadena, California, to discuss how to bring an end to breaches of confidentiality racking the credit union. 

According to President Wiggington, the meeting was held off-site because he and the Board Chair "know" that the entire South Pasadena branch is saturated with electronic surveillance equipment planted by unnamed employees and which the two officers insist is the reason why information reported on this blog is so accurate. On a side note, no one was supposed to know the location of the "secret" meeting location but the President couldn't resist from disclosing its location. 

We thank President Wiggington for complimenting our reporting but haven't and don't intend to, invest in electronic surveillance equipment. We're surprised that despite having said he installed more than 18 new cameras in the South Pasadena branch, that none have been unable to video tape images of people allegedly placing electronic surveillance equipment throughout the branch. Does this mean he wasted more credit union monies purchasing cameras that are not functioning properly? 

The reason why cameras haven't recorded images of persons planting electronic surveillance equipment is because equipment hasn't been planted. The President's and Board Chair's excuse is just another example of need to concoct excuses that are borne out of their vivid and unfettered imaginations. The reason confidential information is finding its way to the Internet is because President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. is an undisciplined babbler. Each day, he strolls through the various departments in the South Pasadena branch, loudly verbalizing highly confidential information that only a few people should be privy to. 

However, since July, the breaches of confidential information have actually increased. In recently months, COO, Beatrice Walker has been contaminated by the President and each day while visiting the cubicle of AVP, Yvonne Boutte, discusses highly confidential information in the presence of collection and call center personnel.


Last Thursday, President Wiggington, at the request of the Board, visited some of Priority One's branches. The reason for the visits is strictly damage control. The Board has grown tired of complaints that the President is estranged from all staffs at all branch locations. While visiting branches, the President stated he intends to start visiting postal facilities. 

Coincidentally, his agreement with the credit union is up for renewal on December 31, 2009, which might also serve as motivation to try and create an impression that he cares about employees though the visit, is uncharacteristic and the first effort made by him since being appointed President on January 1, 2007, to reach out to employees. The strictly public relations move is, in our opinion, disingenuous and it'll be interesting to see if the visit is a one-time even or if he will become a part of his monthly agenda. We believe it;'s a one-time occurrence. 


Henry Justice, the infamous owner of the now defunct, Justice Auto Sales, who was once paid more than $80,000 by the credit union for vehicles purchased from his business by four former employees but who later refused to surrender the pink slips for each automobile, continues to appear on the credit union's list of preferred Select Employer Groups.

His continued inclusion can be attributed to President Wiggington. The two men were friends before Mr. Justice was introduced to the credit union by then Vice President of Operations, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. And the two remained friends ever after Mr. Justice refused to surrender the pink slips. In fact, their friendship remained intact, even after the credit union filed a lawsuit against Mr. Justice in their effort to recuperate the monies paid to the dealer. And their friendship remained unaffected even after Mr. Justice filed bankruptcy and even after he obtained approval from the court which exempted him from repaying any of the monies. 

Apparently, their friendship was immovable because in late 2008, President Wiggington in defiance to credit union policies or without consideration of the impact of Mr. Justice's act, invited the dealer to his office in South Pasadena where they laughed and joked and renewed their relationship. A few days after their meeting, the President informed AVP of Lending, Patti Loiacano, that he was reinstating a working relationship with Mr. Justice, disclosing that Mr. Justice would be considered a "preferred" automobile broker and that all members hoping to buy a car, would be referred to Mr. Justice.  

We reported about the President's plans to re-introduce Mr. Justice to the credit union which caused the President to bring an immediate termination of his deal. The following our expose', the President made his way to the Loan Department and began retrieving business cards and fliers he'd personally distributed to every loan processor and officers. The following information was obtained from one of the business cards distributed by the President:
Long’s Auto Sales
455 E Carson Plaza Dr
Carson, CA 90746

We also located the following second address on the Internet, for Long's Auto Sales: 

Long's Auto Sales
451 E. Carson Plaza Drive, Suite 204
Carson, CA 90746
310-739-7206 Cellular
800-863-KARS (5277) 


The complaint filed with the Department of Fair Employment in Housing in 2008 by the former employee sexually harassed by President Wiggington, remains unsettled. 

As reported in previous posts, in 2008, the Board of Directors called the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, initially offering $20,000 to settle the complaint. This, by the way, occurred after Mrs. Harris-Brooks mailed a letter to the victim which informed her that sexual harassment as defined by federal law, never occurred. Mrs. Harris-Brooks also stated that findings showed the employee had encouraged the President's sexualized comments and that the victim had participated in sexual repartee. With this in mind, doesn't it seem peculiar that Diedra Harris-Brooks who concluded that sexual harassment never occurred, is also the same person who helped formulate the offer of $20,000?  The $20,000 offer presented to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing was immediately rejected by the victim. The Board responded by offering $40,000.  It would seem that Mrs. Harris-Brooks has as we've always contended, known that President Wiggington sexually harassed the former employee but terminating the President would have disrupted her hold over the credit union. 

On a related note, at the time Mr. Wiggington was spewing out sexualized commentaries and placing his hand on the victim's knees and thighs, he was in his 50's while she was in her early 30's. So what Mrs. Harris-Brooks has tried to do is convince us that the then 50-some year old man lacked the personal self-control to withhold his inappropriate and illegal sexualized statements. 

Though in the history of the credit union, no other President has ever been accused of sexual harassment, the punishment doled out by the Board was hiring a consultant to come and speak to ALL employees about what constitutes sexual harassment and how to respond to sexualized overtures. During the meeting, the cowardly President sat at the back of the room, surrounded by the Board Directors. It was an incredible and embarrassing display but neither Mrs.Harris-Brooks or any  of the Directors possessed the intellectual capacity to understand the impression they were making. 


Priority One now describes itself as a "Financial Fitness Center" who possesses the ability to help members and employees win with money. It's quite a lofty proclamation from a credit union mired in the RED

to its members. In view of what the credit union's financials disclose, this indeed is a lofty proclamation.

One might think, that Priority One has stumbled into the Black. The Board authorized the spending of $74,000 of which, approximately $24,000 will be used to purchase new furniture; $50,000 will be spent on product development. 

During the May 2009 Annual Meeting, the President declared that he is "working smarter." Well, if terminating lower level personnel is his solution to the problems he created than there is nothing that can't be resolved by plopping off a few employee heads.  

The real problem lies in the hearts and minds of men. It is not a problem of physics but of ethics. It is easier to change the nature of plutonium* than change the nature of evil men (paraphrased).

Albert Einstein

Friday, October 16, 2009

Running Out of Track

Over the weekend, we reviewed Priority One Credit Union's misnamed "Career Opportunities" page which contains the following statement:

"Priority One Credit Union, A progressive $175 M credit union, is an equal opportunity employer. We offer competitive salary and benefits packages within a friendly team-oriented environment. We provide career growth opportunities for those that demonstrate the potential and have accepted the challenge of responsibility."

$175 million credit union? Not since Mr. Harris was President, has Priority One's Net Income approximated $175 million. As we reported previously, this past August the President wrote to the Board of Directors, stating that $10 million of the $20 million borrowed in mid-2008 from the credit union's line-of-credit would be paid by September 2009. In his statement, he also wrote that the payment would reduce Priority One's Net Income by $10 million

Reviewing the credit union's financial statements for the month ending September 30, 2009, confirms that in September, the credit union paid $10 million of the $20 million. This reduced their Net Income total to $168,211,115.34 which is approximately $7 million less than the $175 million references on their Career Opportunities page. 

What's more, there remains an unpaid balance of $10 million which means that their actual Net Income size is $158,211,115.34.  This means that they're actually worth $17 million less than what is stated on their Career Opportunities page. 

There are so many discrepancies between the statements contained on their website, the President's verbalizations which continually allude to growth and increasing success and what is stated in the credit union's Monthly Income Statements and their quarterly Financial Performance Reports filed with the NCUA. Clearly, the credit union is lying and exacting efforts to present a non-existent image of the credit union's actual standing. 


Over the past two weeks, business and morale remained in decline, with President Wiggington once again, altering his behavior and donning an attitude of unconcern, even disinterest to  the credit union adverse financial climate 

The credit union also published the results of its recent election in the October 2009, newsletter. As we reported in previously posts, this was the second election to be conducted by the credit union in less than 10 months. The first electoral process was declared invalid when it was discovered the President and Board Chair derailed the election when they tried to minimize the number of members who would receive invitations to nominate themselves if they'd like to vie for a seat on the Board of Directors. or Supervisory Committee. 

Of course, after we exposed what the President and Board Chair had done, it was decided to hold a second election and avoid the filing of possible complaints against the credit union which could have resulted in state-ordered sanctions.

The election results were published on the front page of the newsletter, though inconspicuously tucked away at the bottom of the page. The font used to disclose the results is the same size as the font used in the disclaimer for the "Back-to-School" loan which appears at the top of the front page of the newsletter. Shown below, is a copy of the announcement published by the credit union:" 

Supervisory Committee Election Results for two (2) positions:

We want to express our thanks to the candidates who ran for a position on our Supervisory Committee. Cooperatives are built on the spirit of volunteerism and we certainly appreciate their interest in serving.

The results have been calculated and validated by an independent audit firm with the following results:

Ballots received 2,160; 67 of them were considered invalid. The final tabulation:
  • Anna Smith - 1537 votes; 
  • Lorenzo Ford - 1261 votes; 
  • David Davidson - 722 votes; 
  • Jeffrey Moses Chen - 565 votes

Congratulations to the top two (2) winners!

The top two winners are actually incumbents who have been re-elected to the Supervisory Committee. What the results confirm is that President Wiggington's and Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks' tampering did affect the outcome. By accepting the nomination application for Jeffrey Moses Chen days after the deadline for submitting nominations, the two corrupt officers comprised the integrity of what should have been a free and unbiased election. Mr. Chen's nomination also diverted votes that would have gone to the other candidates who submitted their applications by the date when they were due. The President and Board Chair have acted reprehensibly and in a manner that reduced the probity of the electoral process. We believe the effects of what they've done will be reflected in how members respond to invitations that they nominate themselves to vie for a seat on the Board or Supervisory Committee. If Mr. Chen's application had not been accepted due to its late submission, Mr. Davidson probably would have won a seat on the Supervisory Committee. 


Over the past month, the President's persecution complex escalated to new heights. He recently disclosed that he knows, electronic surveillance equipment has been planted by unnamed employees throughout the credit union and so, will launch a new, more stringent campaign to flush out the "rebels" so that they may be terminated. He also revealed that he recently scheduled a meeting to discuss how to stop breaches of confidential information. The meeting was held at the home of AVP, Rodger Smock. Why wasn't the meeting held at Mr. Wiggington's alleged $1 million mansion? If the President wishes to find the source of leaks of confidential information, he need only look in the mirror. 


September's Monthly Income Statement is too long, so we've decided to only publish those actuarials we deem most important and telling about Priority One's actual financial standing. The report also contains a reference to monies spent on Lillestrand and Associates who were hired to assess employee personalities, strengths, interests, and also, help identify who the blogger, bloggers and who their accomplices are. 

The amount of $600.00 is referenced under Educational Expenses for Senior Management but the senior management sector has not participated in educational development, so what exactly was $600.00 spent on? 

The report also references that amount of $12,400.74 spent on the Annual Meeting but the annual meeting took place in May and we know $12,000,74 was not spent for the 30-minute meeting. So what exactly was purchased for $12,400.74?

We've indicated interesting and questionable references in RED font. We know that his current conflict with CFO, Manny Gaitmaitan, involves orders by the President that alter reporting to show high profits while decreasing the actual amount of losses. We find some of the references in the report suspicious and again, suggest an in depth audit to verify the accuracy of the financials being reported by the credit union. 



















Accounts Payable

Notes Payable

"Notes Payable" refers to the remaining unpaid balance due on the $20 million loan borrowed by President Wiggington in mid-2008 from the credit union's line-of-credit.

Accrued Expenses
Other Liabilities


Total Liabilities


Regular Reserve

Undivided Income

Total Equity

Total Liabilities and Equity


Interest on Loans


Income from Investments


Fees and Charges




Total Operating Income



Employee Salaries/Bonus


Branch Lease


Telephone Expenses


Equipment Maintenance



Education Expense: Staff


Education Expense: Senior Mgmt


Education: Supervisory Committee


Education: Board of Directors


Training Expense


Advertising Expenses


Loan Promotions


Promotional Items


Member Research


Business Development Expense


Legal Expenses


Audit Expenses


Consultancy Fees

Provision for Loan Losses


NCUSIF Stabilization Expense


Interest on Borrowed Money


Annual Meeting Expenses


Board of Directors/Supervisors

Branch Expenses
Total Operating Expenses


Income (Loss) from Operations


Loss (Gain) on Disp of Investment





The real story of Priority One Credit Union is not its decline, but the abherrent behaviors of both it's President and irresponsible Board who year after year, fail enact anything that produces upward mobility. Instead, this rabble of incompetents has chosen to focus on gossip, slander, cheating, lying and subverting the credit union's once excellent reputation. 

We of course, invite the President or any member of the Board to provide evidence of what they've accomplished that has made Priority One a better, stronger, and more prosperous credit union. 

The President's so-called cost-saving agenda is designed to freeze employee wages, reduce benefits and abort the opportunity for promotions. And while his agenda negatively impacts non-exempt personnel, the President continues to waste money on his frivolous, poorly planned enterprises. 

Last year, he obtained approval form the Board to purchase a $600,000 telephone system which since its installation, has been plagued by technical issues.  In 2008, he declared that the new phone system would serve in lieu of creating a call center. A little more than one year later, the President and COO are planning on installing a call center because of the technical difficulties affecting the phone system. 

A few weeks ago, the Board authorized the hiring of Lillestrand and Associates who were to administer tests of all non-exempt employees to obtain a record of their interests, likes and dislikes and strengths. According to Loren Lillestrand, the information would be used to place employees in positions where there likes could be used to realize the credit union's business goals. Mr. Lillestrand has been paid more than $25,000 and the information he provided has not been utilized because what the President wanted was for Mr. Lillestrand to identify rebel employees who the President believes are trying to topple his authority. 

We located the following article by Chris Penttila, titled, "Rethinking CEO Salaries." So far, President Wiggington's solutions don't demand anything from the management sector. His purported solutions don't require that he or his executive staff sacrifice anything that could reduce their salaries and benefits. Charles R. Wiggington,. Sr. may not be bright or prudent but he is unscrupulous. Here is Chris Penttila's article:

Pay-for-performance structures are enjoying a resurgence.

Last September, Mission Research formed a compensation committee to discuss capping executive pay and by how much.

Charlie Crystle, co-founder of the 35-employee Lancaster, Pennsylvania, software company, would like to see executive pay limited to seven times the company's median salary, which hovers around $60,000. Mission Research generated $3 million in revenue last year. "We're trying to figure out the right mix of goals and bonuses for our executive team," says Crystle, 41. "It's part of our growing up and becoming a real company." Mission Research plans to implement a new compensation structure early this year.

It's a timely move given recent public rage over executive pay. Anger has been simmering for years, but it boiled over last fall amid the taxpayer-funded bailout of the financial sector. Watching CEOs glide away from failed companies with multimillion-dollar severance packages has the public questioning with renewed vigor whether corporate executives are worth what they're paid....

Congress is considering a variety of measures, including pay caps on public companies and "say on pay" legislation that lets shareholders vote on executive pay packages.

The pressure on improving pay for performance will be immense over the next couple of years," says Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate at governance research firm The Corporate Library. Topping its most recent CEO pay survey is Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who made almost $193 million last year and incited shareholder anger when he received a 38 percent pay increase.

Some CEOs are voluntarily limiting their pay. Since 2004, at least 62 CEOs have signed agreements accepting cuts in pay or forgoing severance packages when times get tough, according to The Corporate Library. The list includes H&R Block CEO Russ Smyth, who has agreed to a pay cut if the company hits tough times. JetBlue Airways CEO David Barger, meanwhile, accepted half pay last summer when the company instituted a hiring freeze."

Don't  expect President Wiggington or any of his overpaid executive sector to sacrifice a portion of their salaries or benefits. None are invested in the credit union's well-being and President Wiggington is an opportunist who will manipulate policies and laws to ensure that his salary, benefits and perks remain unaffected by declining business. 

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