Portrait of Pastor Paul Miller – Performing Political Ministry with a Badge

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Involved with Desert Hot Springs Councilman Scott Matas Plus Some Peter Chryssikos Funny Business

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA – The minister preaching fear and loathing about the evils of law enforcement provided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has been involved with city politics for many years. Pastor Paul Miller’s entanglement with councilman Scott Matas is not his only transgression.

Christ Lutheran Church

Christ Lutheran Church

A number of problems have come to light in the recent construction of a new sanctuary for Christ Lutheran Church which Paul Miller has served as head of for nineteen years. It appears that insufficient funds were allocated for construction costs plus Reverend Paul Miller hired an unlicensed contractor to perform construction work and sell the church alarm equipment in violation of state laws.

Peter Chryssikos Paid $11,000 by Pastor Miller

Chryss Protective ServiceThe pastor of the new Lutheran Church under construction on Pierson Boulevard  appears unrepentant for hiring unlicensed contractor and convicted felon Peter Chryssikos to sell the church an alarm system and install it on the Lutheran Church. Peter Chryssikos operates the business as Chryss Protective Services.

The problem for the church located on the edge of town is this appears to be the kind of business activity that Chryssikos is specifically prohibited from doing without a contractor’s license from the State Contractor’s License Board and without an alarm license from the State Bureau of Investigative and Security Services.

Peter Chryssikos at work on the Lutheran Church

Unlicensed alarm contractor Peter Chryssikos at work on the Lutheran Church installing alarm system.

Paul Miller has publicly dismissed reports that Peter Chryssikos is under indictment by the Riverside County District Attorney. The fact is that Chryssikos will next appear in Superior Court on January 17, 2014 facing four counts of contracting without a license, doing the same work Miller has reputedly paid $11,000 in church funds to Chryssikos.

Minister With a Badge

Paul Miller wears a police officer’s uniform with a badge as the volunteer chaplain to the police department. Hardly a city council meeting goes by without Miller preaching with his three minutes of public comments. The reverend appears cursed to repeat the same message at the pulpit of public comment.

Reverend Paul Miller frequently lectures the city council and the public about how effective the city’s police department is, even though statistics from the FBI prove that crime in the city exceeds the national average by 250% and some police officers working for the city are taking home in excess of $200,000. According to the gospel of Paul Miller the city’s police officers have done such an excellent job that they should be paid even more.

It sounds diabolical for Pastor Miller to be sermonizing that the city should continue going broke by paying police money the city does not have. Although Miller is aware the city was forced to declare a fiscal emergency resulting from expenditures exceeding revenues creating a $5 million deficit, he preaches to the public and the city council to keep on spending.

Even the representative of the Police Officer’s Association says that officers working for the city are overworked by doing overtime and time and a half pay while collecting in excess of $200,000 annually. The pay for management is also remarkable as the police chief has been paid $300,000 annually when cities of similar income, population and demographics pay their police chief in the range of $150,000 annually. Apparently Paul Miller is no longer counting avarice as one of the seven deadly sins.

Councilman Scott Matas Praying for Solution

Protecting Christ Lutheran Church

Protecting Christ Lutheran Church

Paul Miller’s Lutheran congregation counts council member Scott Matas as a church elder in a leadership position. Matas has a dodgy history of poor decisions regarding city funds.

In his role as a member of the city council Scott Matas voted for every money-losing scheme that came before him and succeeded in taking the city to the edge of bankruptcy along with the city’s recent declaration of a fiscal emergency.

It is unclear if Matas bears any responsibility for the construction problems with the church or if Paul Miller is singularly responsible. They can easily talk these things over as the Matas residence is located right next door to Miller.

Matas, Chryssikos and Pye

Business ties with Scott Matas and Peter Chryssikos date back several years when Chryssikos installed an alarm system on the UPS store that at the time was owned and operated by Matas. Councilman Matas said that he paid Chryssikos for the work but never showed proof of any payments to the public. Matas voted to approve city contracts which paid Chryssikos nearly $40,000 in public funds in city issued checks that were deposited into the personal bank account of then sitting council member Karl Baker.

Just a few months ago when code enforcement officers began pressing Peter Chryssikos to pay the city for a business license for operating a home based alarm business from out of the home he shares with former councilman Karl Baker. Instead of paying those fees Chryssikos turned to church elder and current councilman Scott Matas who wrote a letter to his city’s code enforcement that Chryssikos was operating his business from the address of the UPS store which Matas was no longer a part of.

That problem – the business licensing of Peter Chryssikos – was then dropped from the city code enforcement department’s task list. The special relationship Chryssikos and Paul Miller have with the city council is not limited to just one council member.

At a recent council meeting Pastor Paul Miller was the choice of recently reelected council member Scott Matas and continuing council member Jan Pye to administer them their oath of office.

After losing the November election and suffering rejection by the voters it was just a procedural matter that kept Jan Pye in office when Adam Sanchez advanced from his council position after winning election as mayor. Pye automatically took his seat for the remaining two years of his term.

Although Jan Pye appears disconnected from the voters she also has a connection with Peter Chryssikos after admitting he installed an alarm system on her private residence. However, like Matas, Pye has never released proof that any payment was made to Chryssikos. Also like Matas, Pye has voted for every money-losing scheme in the city and approved city’s payment to Chryssikos with those checks ending up deposited in Karl Baker’s personal bank account.

That Peter Chryssikos is doing business with Paul Miller is now no longer secret as are the web of connections between Matas and Pye with Chryssikos and Miller.

Paul Miller Preaches to City

Pastor Paul Miller

Pastor Paul Miller

Nearly every meeting of the city council features Paul Miller sermonizes with his soft-spoken wrath at the podium warning of the deviling possibility of Riverside County Sheriff’s Department providing law enforcement for the city.

Although over a dozen years that have passed since the city abandoned use of the Sherriff replacing it with the city’s own police department, Pastor Miller continues harping about how awful the situation would be were the city to be served by brown uniforms instead of blue.

Although it is one man’s belief that the city would suffer damnation from the service provider patrolling many cities in Riverside County including Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta and the city of Coachella there are others of a more agnostic nature who are open minded to considering this as a righteous alternative.

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Dean M Gray

Writer, Artist & Publisher at Desert Vortex News
Dean started in the newspaper business at the age of nine earning 90 cents a week walking 4 miles delivering a newspaper door to door. 500 miles later he began writing his way out of a paper bag and traveling uphill.

For over 40 years Dean has been published in a variety of small newspapers and magazines. As publisher he founded an alternative city weekly newspaper in 2008 and published over 200 uninterrupted issues over 4 years to over 20,000 readers via 800 locations (and online) before selling the business. Now online with over 4 million readers worldwide.

Dean is a Master Carpenter and the author of the biography of Hilda M Gray, desert homesteader. He served as Planning Commissioner for the city of Desert Hot Springs from January 2014 to January 2015 when he resigned.

Dean M Gray is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors and lives in Palm Desert, California.
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5 thoughts on “Portrait of Pastor Paul Miller – Performing Political Ministry with a Badge

  1. This article seems to wrap up many failings of many people and attempt to coalesce them into one singular “evil” that ties directly to Pastor Miller. To not have enough funds to build a church is not the pastors misdoing. Donations can only go so far, and unexpected hurdles which are very common in construction create increased costs. Additionally as of now the CLC is not in Desert Hot Springs and sits outside city limits on the south side of Pierson. In regards to the alarm company fellow, I don’t know whats true but I do know many people use unlicensed labor all day everyday throughout the valley as a way to reduce costs. The purpose of licensing is to protect the consumer but some people make the choice and the risk to look outside of licensed workers and instead find a person who will do the same work at a lower rate and accept said risk. Government should not and cannot source unlicensed, unbonded work, but I do not agree that putting up barriers to employment such as licensing is a good practice. As such as a private person employing people for at will work I do not see any problem using unlicensed workers as long as the owner understands the risk they are taking.

    Also, the Police Officers in the city the lowest paid will receive total compensation of 80k, while the highest is somewhere above 200k. It can be noted that these are truly high and need to be reduced probably 20 Percent with new salary schedules for new employees. The management staff is way overpaid at 250 and 300k total compensation. It is a farce to think that there isn’t a line out the door with thousands wanting to work as Police Officers for 60-80k per year to start. That salary in that community is very generous and there is no shortage of new recruits being produced. The issue is and always will be that the best officers will look to leave the small towns like DHS and move on to larger more prestigious departments in order to promote in rank and receive higher pay. There is no way DHS can hold them back, but come to grips with it and understand that turnover will be slightly higher and you will always be a department that is young and hiring with a few salts at the top to keep it in line. If they are to contract with RSO they very well could receive a better product at a lower price. The dispatch center contract is very costly, having so much brass and so few street officers is ridiculous and wasteful. RSO would come in and provide an RFP that would hire all the old DHS officers and allow them to move throughout the RSO system. In addition, yes of course the city will have higher costs annually for police services with RSO as each year public employees receive COLA benefits that raise their salary to adjust for inflation. One can expect 3-5 percent increases every year. This is a rant. END.

    • The pastor purposefully injects himself into the politics of the city, he’s no ordinary “Man of God” he has put himself on display, on a pedestal, telling the council right from wrong as if he is God. You say his church is “outside the city limits” as if he doesn’t access everyone within the city as if it doesn’t matter. He keeps coming to meetings and preaching his own gospel to the council and residents. I don’t trust the guy, I’ve heard him speak and he creeps me out. He has publicly trashed Dean Gray at council meetings, falsely claiming all Dean publishes is “lies”. It’s exactly what liars do this all the time, they project onto others in order to divert attention from their own lies. It was a strong uncalled for allegation made public so he has opened up the door to serious scrutiny. He is a public figure. His association with an alarm guy who was handed deals by his scumbag buddy former councilman Baker smells. This pastor could have hired any of many licensed contractors who don’t have felonious records, who aren’t being investigated, and who pay their taxes, deserving the work more because they are not crooks. I say these birds of a feather flocking together deserve a close look, especially since they were just spotted flying over a new solar tower and about to get burned.

  2. Tresedly We Pray, I agree with 100%. We voted Parks out, now we must rid ourselves of Matas and Pye. I wish this Miller guy would keep is skewed views to himself. Did you hear Matas and Pye at the council meeting on Dec 17th, same old garbage. A leopard truely dosen’t change it’s spots does it. I also wish Dean Gray would run for council, but then again he wouldn’t be able to provide us with his insightful and truthful reporting if he was a council member. Dean, I want to thank you for the great service you provide our community.

  3. This is a great example of poor journalism. Does Mr. Gray go after everyone who has used this unlicensed contractor with such zeal? How many other victims has he identified? I attend Christ Lutheran Church and I am greatly offended by this article. I know the pastor and he does not deserve the defamation directed at him in this article. He is an upright man and pastor. I have personally benefitted greatly by both his ministering of the Gospel and his personal advice. It seems to me that Mr. Gray has something personal against this particular contractor and wants to take out his grudge on anyone that does business with him. Let’s talk about the pastor for one minute. Pastor Miller donates his time with the DHS Police Department as a police chaplain and has spent many hours responding to calls with them and consoling victims and officers. He actually watches the officers as they perform their duties, while Mr. Gray only looks at numbers, salaries and the high crime rate. (I believe that numbers Mr. Gray quotes from the FBI report – since he did not date it – are outdated numbers.) Pastor Miller works with the good officers who are out courageously doing their jobs and knows many of the problems they are constantly confronting. My belief is that everyone knows the reason for the high crime rate is the large number of parolees dumped into the city by the state, not poor police work. The problems that arise in a department while they tackling this high crime rates often make it less desirable to prospective officers, who can make more money and work under less demanding circumstances, to compete the city has to offer competitive salaries. I won’t go into the discussion right now about the issue with hiring the sheriff to take over law enforcement duties in DHS. It should not seem surprising to anyone that the pastor would be supportive of those he is working with and respects.

    As far as the construction of the new church the pastor has offered encouragement, but the church council is responsible for the construction not the pastor. This appears to me to be an attempt by Mr. Gray to use the power of the press to stop Pastor Miller from speaking at the city council meetings. The pastor is a resident of the City of Desert Hot Springs and has a right to give his views at the city council meetings, unless Mr. Gray (and I don’t know where he calls home) wants to control who can speak and who can’t at the council meetings. The pastor is obviously more informed than Mr. Gray appears to be. Even though the pastor supports the current department, he does not make any decisions about salary or benefits, he works for free, only the council can make those decisions and now they have his input as well as Mr. Grays. I have never read an article of this nature where the reporter makes no attempt to interview those involved to get to the truth of the story. Probably not as sensational, I suppose you can sell more advertising by jumping to conclusions, with partial facts. I wonder how Mr. Gray obtained his information, he certainly doesn’t identify it now does he.

    Mr. Gray with all his biblical slights seems to be making himself out to be an expert in religion or perhaps he just likes to make fun of Christians. I wonder what seminary he attended. I wonder if he ever spent any time riding in one of the patrol cars for a couple of shifts. He probable does not have the courage. He is much more comfortable sitting behind a computer and sniping at people. One can only guess at what motivates a hateful, overaggressive man, like Mr. Gray. Without guessing at his psychological motivations, I will end this by saying he could certainly use the prayers of a good pastor like Pastor Paul Miller.

  4. Chester Panique, I assume from your critique of Dean Gray and his article that you are a devout Christian. Therefore, you must be familiar with the teachings of Jesus and live by them fervently. If there are any contruction people working outside California law they will be dealt with by the State. I’m happy to see Dean investigate and expose illegal and unjust actions when discovered. I don’t think it’s unwholy or against Jesus’s teachings to expose possible wrong doing whether it’s concerning politics or construction or police salaries. He has a great mind and GOD gave it to him to use to inform the public. GOD BLESS DEAN GRAY!

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