Ventura city attorney fired amid indecent exposure investigation at a Chick-fil-A

Andy Heglund, city of Ventura city attorney.
Ventura City Atty. Andy Heglund (City of Ventura)

In a special meeting of the Ventura City Council nearly a week ago, the council voted unanimously to oust its city attorney.

Ventura Mayor Joe Schroeder said in a statement that the firing of Andrew Heglund was “due to a personal matter.”

But now it appears that the low-profile firing was in response to a police investigation into an indecent exposure incident at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the city that involved Heglund, according to authorities, his attorney and local media reports.

Authorities have been tight-lipped about providing details in the case.

Capt. Dean Worthy, spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, told The Times that the investigation, initially started by the Ventura Police Department, was being handled by the sheriff's sexual assault unit with the major crimes bureau and that it involved Heglund.

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Ron S. Bamieh, attorney for Heglund, said there is an investigation but no pending criminal charges.

“We’re optimistic that the investigation will bear out that Mr. Heglund did not commit any criminal acts,” he said. “There’s much exaggeration over some people who got upset at a Chick-fil-A.”

Responding by email to questions by The Times, Ventura Police Chief Darin Schindler said the incident occurred at 1:30 p.m. on April 10, when police officers responded to a call at the restaurant at 1321 Eastman Ave.

"Upon arrival, officers interviewed witnesses and gathered information regarding the incident," Schindler wrote. "Ultimately, due to conflict of interest, this case was referred to" the Sheriff's Department, he wrote.

The email provided no more details about the case.

Heglund, who was a deputy city attorney in Bakersfield for eight years before joining the Ventura city attorney’s office in July 2019, was appointed city attorney in 2022 after the retirement of his predecessor, according to city records.

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Bamieh said his client is a respected member of the community and was a highly valued city attorney that the city recruited. He said the city's decision to fire him was based on panic and not logical reasoning.

“I don’t think that’s appropriate,” he said, “but that’s for a different day to be argued about.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.