Tide of Discontent

Is there a rising tide of internal discontent at the Mexican and American Foundation? It would appear there is, following last week’s revelation in the San Diego Business Journal that board member Larry Montoya resigned without fanfare as a director four months ago.

In an interview last week, Montoya said he resigned because he was angered that a board-ordered financial audit of the foundation for the past four years was never conducted and that only a partial audit for 1984 was performed.

“I don’t know that there is any malfeasance; I sincerely hope there isn’t,” Montoya said.

But one way for Foundation President Tony Valencia to keep critics from “pouncing on him,” suggested Montoya, “is to open up” the foundation’s financial records.

Until then, Valencia will “continue to get a lot of criticism” from people who wonder exactly how the foundation spends its funds--which totaled more than $427,000 last year, Montoya said.


Valencia was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

But foundation spokesman Ron Vallas said some directors are “dissatisfied with the direction” of the organization because the foundation no longer makes giving funds to local community groups a high priority. Instead, said Vallas, the foundation is more interested in providing “business networking among minority entrepreneurs and corporate America. We’re also promoting career and leadership development programs.”

Indeed, according to the foundation’s cash receipt and disbursements statement prepared by Touche Ross & Co., less than $16,000 was distributed to community groups last year, while nearly $32,000 was paid out in “scholarships.”

The statement does not detail to whom those scholarships were paid.

Quiet Car Parts Company

It came as something of a surprise last week when Beverly Hills-based Cardis Corp., the state’s largest distributor of auto parts, announced it would buy San Diego Pacific, also a car parts distributor operating under the names Sunbelt Distributing and Mr. Parts.

It wasn’t a shock that Cardis would be interested in San Diego Pacific. After all, the company is on track for close to $80 million in revenues for its fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

What was surprising was that so few people knew anything about privately held San Diego Pacific.

And that’s just the way owner John Carlson wanted it. “We remained fairly low-key,” said the 57-year-old Carlson, who plans to retire when the sale is completed later this month.

His minority partner, Len Lofthus, is expected to be in charge of the merged operation in San Diego, and his two sons, Greg and Tod, could continue in their respective roles as general manger of Mr. Parts and company purchasing agent.

At least, that’s Carlson’s plan. The acquisition, he readily concedes, is “good for the future of my family and for our security.”

Exactly how good remains unknown: The purchase price--in cash and notes--was not disclosed.

New Auditors for Oak

Oak Industries has replaced its outside auditors, Arthur Andersen & Co., hiring Coopers & Lybrand to audit the books of the troubled Rancho Bernardo-based media concern.

The move was not unexpected. In fact, in Oak’s proxy statement for June’s annual meeting, the company said that it “anticipates” that the board will “appoint a firm other than Arthur Andersen” as outside auditor.

Arthur Andersen & Co. last year was paid $697,000 for its Oak work.

The company was not included as a defendant in the shareholders’ class-action lawsuit filed against Oak in 1982 that alleged misrepresentation and fraud against Oak for its public disclosures about its financial performance.

But the company “certified the financial statements that are in question,” according to one source close to the case.

Signal at La Jolla Bank

The hiring last week of Kansas City banker Edward H. Sondker as president and chief operating officer of La Jolla Bank & Trust could signal a renewed effort by the bank’s board to expand the operations of its holding company, La Jolla Bancorp.

That’s the word from George Ellis, founding president who remains the bank’s chief executive.

“We’re trying to strengthen our whole organization to the holding company side,” he said. “And we want (Sondker’s) experience for that.” Sondker also was named executive vice president of La Jolla Bancorp.

Areas for expansion include, said Ellis, mortgage banking, leasing and venture capital.