Former Trustee of the Tulare Public Cemetery District Pens an Open Letter to the Board

As a former Tulare Cemetery District Board member and as a mother whose son is buried in the Tulare Cemetery I would like to say a few things about the current Tulare Cemetery District Board and management.

At the end of the last two months that we had financial reports, the cemetery was in the red by $204,162.24 according to the Tulare County Auditor Controller’s website – yet the cemetery’s financial reports presented by the Tulare Cemetery Manager Clara Bernardo, showed the loss to be about half that amount.

After 3 months, or the first quarter, the cemetery has a loss of over $213,000.

Besides appearing that someone is “cooking the books” the cemetery finances have never been so dire.

To think that Andy Hinojosa, to whom the cemetery pays $150 an hour to help with their book keeping, participated in this financial reporting is atrocious and unethical.

With that much discrepancy between the Tulare County Auditor Controller’s report and the cemetery’s financial report, he should have been on hand to the board or at the audit meetings to report why this is the case.

A CPA firm should provide oversight.

It is interesting to note that Tulare Cemetery’s last accounting firm, M. Green and Company, quit without saying why. The reason given to the public was that there was a “conflict.”

I spoke during Public Comments at the September 30 regular meeting and told the Board that they needed to Be Better, but in order to do that, they needed to Do Better. And not just on the finances.

I told the board they were ignoring the District’s Bylaws, the Health and Safety Codes, and the Government Codes. I said they needed to work together- that they had a fiduciary responsibility to do so, and not act like children.

I reminded the board of the considerable harm they had caused when Presant had trespassed on my property, peered into my windows and turned the water faucet – and announced it all publicly during a general meeing. He then proceeded to make a motion during the August 8, 2020 meeting to remove me from the Board for not living in the District. The motion could not get a majority so it failed.

Mr. Presant has also lead the effort, and wasted cemetery resources, to censure Board  Member Alberto Aguilar three times.

Trustee Xavier Avila has caused the same, if not more pain and suffering, to clients of the cemetery, cemetery volunteers, or just anyone who disagrees with him. The result has been his being blocked from multiple personal facebook accounts and blocked from several media outlets. Everyone knows that Avila is a narcissist and has followed his own agenda since his appointment, spreading lies and untruths about me and a host of others, going as far as to threaten to sue an active community member as she tended to her dying mother.

I believe he has used Presant as his puppet to do his bidding, but that the final defamation had occurred when he went on the Hopper podcast and mentioned me 5 times, stating I had illegally served. He defamed 4 other upstanding citizens as well.

My final comment when I spoke at the September 30 meeting was to remind everyone how Presant accused Alberto  that he staged a desecrated gravesite then accused Alberto of fabricating a customer’s complaint. Presant’s actions were upsetting and a slap in the face to the Fernandez family who had lodged the complaint and had their own photos to back up their claim. The gravesite in question was of Mrs. Fernandes’ father that the cemetery treated with extreme disrespect and caused the Fernandez family great distress.

Ms. Fernandez intended to be at the September meeting but had a family emergency. She still intends to continue to seek compensation for how disrespectfully the Tulare Cemetery treated her family and her father’s grave.

She thought her first order of business might be confront Xavier on his distasteful response to their concerns.

I suggested she get in line.


12 thoughts on “Former Trustee of the Tulare Public Cemetery District Pens an Open Letter to the Board

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  1. Ms Gilson How long do we have to keep reading about a so called trespassing ? You SOLD your Tulare house. So you don’t live here ! What state did you move to ? And your constant slamming of Xavier says more about YOU ! ENOUGH ALREADY !! You live in another state.

    • How long do we have to keep reading your biased comments one could ask. It’s a free world and as long as Ms. Gilson wishes to comment publicly via news media or in person at the Cemetery Board Meetings she has that right, just as you have the right to slam her publicly. She can live here in Tulare or in Timbucktu, it doesn’t matter! She has a vested interest in protecting the cemetery where her son is buried. ENOUGH ALREADY? Et tu Ms. Bryant?

  2. I agree with the information presented by former Trustee Vicki Gilson and I will galdly testify on her behalf regarding the on-going deflamtion and slanderous accusation made against her by Mr. Avila and Mr. Presant. They tried to have her removed as a Trustee on two seoerate occasions by making false accusation which were proven by factual evident to be untrue, yet they still continue to spread their lies about her. I also agree with Vicki’s comments and I commend her for having the courage to write such a letter to the press.

  3. After conversations with my attorney, I have decided to not take sides and furthermore will no longer deal with this issue and it’s players as far as interviews are concerned.

    Kent Hopper
    “Hopper In The Morning”

    • Nothing new here, it’s the same old diversionary tactic of someone who wants to shut this woman and her concerns down. It won’t work. She has a “voice” and it appears that she won’t be minimized or silenced. Those who wish to prove her incorrect then her suggestion of an independent CPA firm to provide oversight is the best way to go.

      • They have an independent CPA firm already. She knows that because she walked into his office and gave him the impression that she was a sitting Trustee.

          • Bored…. apparently she doesn’t think that Mr. Hinojosa and his firm isn’t willing or capable to be “independent” enough. Perhaps this account is probably a big one this firm can’t risk losing. Who knows. Transparency will assure the public that there is no need to question the numbers.

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