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Was a Sexual Harassment Scandal Behind Armando Garcia’s CSAC Resignation?


(Apparently he exposed himself to the guy on the right. Just kidding. Photo courtesy of boxingbilldempseyyoung.com.)

On Sunday, MMA Weekly broke the news that Armando Garcia — the often-controversial Executive Director of the California State Athletic Commission — will resign from his post at a public commission meeting on November 18th; an interim Executive Officer will be appointed at the meeting, and an executive search committee will be formed to secure a permanent replacement. Fightlinker immediately began rejoicing the departure of the man who allowed an HIV positive fighter to fight, re-licensed MMA scumbag Mike Kyle, completely mishandled Sean Sherk‘s steroid appeal, suspended Nick Diaz for marijuana use without testing him for marijuana use, constantly pulled fighters from shows at the last minute, and a litany of other offenses. But judging from the mysterious final line of the MMA Weekly report (“Garcia declined comment on his departure, but said he would share his side of the story soon”), we had a feeling that even more shameful deeds might come out in the wash.

So if the constant administrative fiascos weren’t enough to get Garcia fired, what was? Michael Swann of 15 Rounds now reports that the forced-resignation is a result of some good old American sexual harassment, with a little unethical business behavior thrown in on the side. First, the sex stuff:

[A] female office technician, Lily Galvez, was observed “hand feeding” Armando and adjusting his attire at events, in the office, and in the field. She also accompanied him on trips. In itself this is third party harassment because others in the office could question perceived favoritism because they chose not to fulfill his every whim. The problem is that when a couple is so obvious about their in-house affair, it’s not long before the whole crew knows it…

Apparently Lily cut off the relationship and Garcia continued to pursue it anyway. Taking in account the dozens of interviews and documentation for the articles, I almost feel as if I know Armando on a personal basis. I can only imagine his response for being dumped and rejected in his own office. In any event, Lily Galvez filed suit charging sexual harassment.

That might have been the last straw in Garcia’s time with the CSAC, but questionable decision-making and abusive behavior had apparently plagued his entire stint with the commission. 15 Rounds sums it up:

In September 2007, we ran a two part investigative series concerning Garcia’s alleged violation of Chapter 18, Article 6308 of the Professional Boxing Act of 1996. The series made the case that Garcia accepted compensation, accommodations, travel, and meals for training seminars of sanctioning bodies and state commissions to violate this federal law…Former staffers have said that it was common practice for Armando to accept gifts and lunches…

Early this year, in another two part series we examined Garcia’s personal ethics in collecting travel claim advances and irresponsible handling of state funds, placing as much as $350,000 without accounting in an unlocked file cabinet. If a party was to make a withdrawal, how would you know? Further, we looked at wasteful policies that permitted his very own group of inspectors, the so-called “Men in Black,” to work one or two bouts and claim a full night’s pay as well as travel expenses when appropriate…

The series also listed a number of examples that Garcia operated a hostile work environment. Several staff members complained about favoritism of certain event officials. Others endured profanity laced verbiage used freely in front of subordinates. Examples included the referee called “too fat” to work on TV, a judge singled out as not being allowed to sit within camera sight, and a referee chastised for having tattoos…

It was also alleged that Garcia made it common practice to inform visiting sanctioning body presidents or their representatives of the scores of fights. If proven to be true, this would constitute a serious breach of the public’s trust, as potentially those visitors could advise their fighter’s corners by word or sign.

There was all of this and considerably more. Any one of these items might be considered grounds for termination, one might think, particularly the criminal acts if proven to be true in a court of law.

Even if all these allegations aren’t true, it’s undeniable that Armando Garcia was not a positive ally to MMA. At best, he seemed to begrudgingly tolerate the sport, and at his worst, he seemed like he was actively trying to sabotage it. We look forward to the new boss.

(Props to MMA Payout for the tip)

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Dr Garbo- September 2, 2009 at 9:37 pm
Garcia touched me onetime...Its no big deal...I mean...You know how men are...I never,...I never should have worn that top...He prob...Probably thought i wnted it...Im so stupid
Anonymous- January 7, 2009 at 4:45 pm
I worked there. and witnessed ALOT more than that. And she wasnt the first one...
Jerry Hoffman- November 11, 2008 at 3:21 am
Aside from the economy, Armando Garcia is primarily responsible for the hiatis of THE RIOT pro boxing shows in Monterey. Guess MMA folks were slighted as well, but Garcia was hired by the DCA because he promised to bring MMA to California and the revenue that comes with it. After 13 years of successful RIOT AT THE HYATT and SHAKEDOWN IN QUAKETOWN show in Santa Cruz, the arrival of Garcia promptly took all the fun out of it for me as promoter. His micro-managing and selective attention to certain rules and regulations were used many times to stymie matches I made that he had no basis to screw with. When he arrived in California from Florida, his biggest ally was poisen pen Pedro Fernandez who wound up being with his tail between his legs apologizing to Pat Russell who was slandered in order to pave the way for Garcia to get the gig. He screwed many of my fighters in his short tenure in Sacramento, and damaged my promotion all 4 events I produced in his first 2 years in office. Rather than discuss his PC positions which interfered with logic and the betterment of our sport...his obscene insistance to have the final say in everything which disrupted the staff's ability to give promoters important timely information needed to satisfy requirements...and other mistakes in his tenure, I can only say it's 3 years too late in coming. He and Lily always covered for eachother when the staff lagged, as promoters moved toward upcoming shows, so it's no surprise these allegations surface now. I called the State Athletic Commission dysfunctional in previous blogs written on my website. Check them out for specifics.
Imbecile- November 10, 2008 at 10:24 pm
So where are the pics of this 'Lily' girl hand-feeding his fat ass at events? I bet she has a nice rack!

If they are looking for a replacement, I know of a guy who spent 18 years on one of the biggest state athletic commissions in the country, has an equal stance as Garcia on professional ethics, has a similar affinity for sexual harrassment in openly groping and kissing his employees, and even has some knowledge of MMA (okay, well that might be questionable)...... and he might just be looking for a new gig these days. Somebody see if we can get Gary Shaw to take this job, because if there is anyone out there who can match Armando Garcia's sleaze, it is everyone's favorite track-suit clad fat ass.

That is, unless they are auctioning Gary's contract off to the highest bidder, as well. I'm sure lots of people can't wait to throw down tons of cash on that winner.
shitwhistle- November 10, 2008 at 6:23 pm
"First, the sex stuff:"

Couldn't click "MORE" fast enough...
vitaminD- November 10, 2008 at 6:16 pm
@Cap'n: judging by the article, I think the real question is where are your bags of money for bribes?
Cap'n- November 10, 2008 at 6:10 pm
Where do I apply for his job?
KChuck- November 10, 2008 at 5:46 pm
Yikes!!!
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