Legal action being sought at Los Medanos College

No lawsuit filed as of yet

Juan Cebreiros, Staff Writer

Several Los Medanos College custodial workers have sought legal counsel and are planning to file a lawsuit against the college, the Contra Costa Community College District and their custodial manager. 

This comes following an alleged incident that took place in June 2022 where custodial manager Frank Ichigaya supposedly made disparaging comments about workers Quinn Glenn and Sydney Morales during a meeting with fellow employee, Milo Mathis. Mathis claims Ichigaya said in the meeting, “If I see them around my house, I will shoot them dead.” 

According to a police report filed about the incident, Mathis, who took this comment as a threat to him and his team, told Glenn and Morales about Ichigaya’s alleged remark.

“All of the parties involved in the personnel matter, including the manager, were placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation,” interim LMC President Pamela Ralston said. 

College officials said at the time the college is “deeply committed” to creating an equitable and supportive environment for workers and students at LMC. 

Glenn and Morales’ attorney, Martin Aarons, has criticized the college district’s handling of the situation

“The workers shouldn’t have been placed on leave because I feel they haven’t done anything wrong,” Aarons told the Experience. “You don’t remove the victims in those situations, you put the manager on leave.”

A lawsuit has not officially been filed but Aarons confirmed that the alleged death threats and racial remarks led to Morales seeking to take action. Mathis and Glenn claimed Ichigaya also made racial comments in the past, saying that “Blacks use a lot of cocoa butter,” as well as calling the way Glenn dressed being similar to one of a “thug.”

LMC Vice President Carlos Montoya explained that, because it is a personnel matter, he could not confirm whether any of the employees involved who were put on leave returned to work at the college. 

However, according to Aarons, Morales returned to work in January. Quinn was fired in October of last year after allegedly failing to pass probation, Aarons said, though he argues that Quinn was not given a fair chance because he had been placed on administrative leave. He added that Mathis was also allowed to return to work but his doctor advised against it. 

Montoya also would not confirm whether Ichigaya is still employed with the college or the district. However, according to February agenda and minutes of a district Governing Board meeting, Ichigaya’s retirement request was accepted and will become effective June 16. 

“LMC has made changes to the work schedule of the department, enabling members of that team to be on site for an earlier shift, increasing their safety and engagement with the rest of the campus community,” said interim President Ralston. 

Aarons himself has not had any contact with either Los Medanos College or the Contra Costa Community College District, but said Morales and Glenn reached out to him because, “they didn’t feel like they were getting consideration and justice from the district.”

The potential lawsuit is being considered as a result of a culmination of alleged death threats, racial remarks and mishandling of the overall situation by the college and district, according to Aarons. It’s uncertain where the legal process will go or even who the defendants might be but Aarons said it is possible the school, district and manager could all be defendants. 

However, as of press time a lawsuit has not yet been filed.