By Ted AYALA
Promises of a quiet start to 2012 for the Glendale City Council were dashed on Tuesday night. During the oral communications period of the council meeting, a group of four Glendale residents revealed and submitted for public record alleged evidence of felony convictions against Vanguardians executive director Barry Allen.
Allen is the founder of the Vanguardians, a “community watching” group with affiliates in several other Southern California cities that, according to their website, “[seeks] accountability, effectiveness, and responsiveness from government to ensure integrity.”
Tracing back to his former residency in the Detroit area, reports were unearthed from the Farmington Observer, Detroit Free Press, and Orlando Sentinel detailing past criminal convictions of Allen B. Silvarman.
Barry Allen had used the name Silvarman in the past when he was a radio talk show host.
“I settled in Orange County and got into the radio business as a talk show host. I was using my name… Allen Silvarman and callers had a hard time with it. A focus group helped with the decision to take my first name, Allen and my second name, Barry – I have two middle names and I don’t want to digress into the naming by Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish parents – and gave me the air name of Barry Allen,” Allen wrote in a Vanguardian newsletter.
On Tuesday, the group alleged the now Vanguardians’ Allen and the convicted Silvarman were one in the same.
According to information presented at Tuesday’s meeting, a plant operated by Silvarman and an associate was raided by federal agents in a Detroit suburb in 1985. Seized by agents was over $335,000 in counterfeit $100 and $20 bills, along with presses producing counterfeit Social Security cards, birth certificates and cashier’s checks.
The newspaper articles reported that counterfeit bills were passed at grocery stores, department stores and banks in the Detroit area and mailed to Orlando residents. According to federal agents quoted in the Orlando Sentinel, these actions were taken to obscure the Detroit operations. The pair pleaded guilty to charges in the case.
None of the four residents represented that Allen was in fact the convicted Silvarman, however did point out the similarities in their history and voiced their concern.
“If Barry Allen is indeed a convicted felon, I think that disqualifies him from credibly criticizing the ethics and morals of others,” said local resident Bill Weisman, who was among those that had made the alleged revelations public. “Any document that Barry has ever submitted to any government agency or any media agency is now suspect…. It could be forged as he has a background in doing [that].”
“It’s also long past time to reduce the inordinate influence that [Allen] has on [this city] due to his close, personal relationships with sitting councilmembers, planning commissioners, former councilmembers, major realtors, and reporters,” Weisman added.
Councilman Ara Najarian reacted with indignation at the revelations.
“This is the guy that accuses me of being unethical?” he asked. “And accuses [former city manager] Jim Starbird of being a crook? I think it’s time for this community to say enough is enough. This individual is a dangerous individual. We need to warn our residents when he comes here pleading for money.”
“A federal felon asking for transparency?” he added. “Really, what’s going on?”
Councilman Rafi Manoukian followed Najarian by saying that Allen’s criminal activities were a “surprise” to him.
Najarian also cited the appropriateness of discussing city issues with certain groups and inquired with the city manager and city attorney as to whether guidelines could be drawn up.
“I’m skeptical about this but I’m willing to talk about it,” said Councilman Manoukian.
When asked why he and his colleagues decided to announce Allen’s past at the council meeting, Weisman echoed Najarian’s description of Allen as “dangerous.”
“This needed to be said right now,” Weisman said. “The evidence came to light to us in the past few weeks. It’s time to break the hold he has on this city.”