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.
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
The 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.
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
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
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.
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 3 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.