Mario Juarez PHOTO/Shane Bond

ELECTION ’12//OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL DIST 5 | Two former business associates of Oakland District 5 City Council candidate Mario Juarez claim he never paid back $240,000 in loans on two deals.

The story, reported by KPIX on Wednesday, feature two individuals who say Juarez, who owns a real estate business in the Fruitvale area of District 5, welshed on a deal for his biodiesel refinery project in West Oakland, including a $210,000 loan. Another partner says he gave Juarez $30,000 to help him open a sports bar in the area. Now both are complaining.

Although KPIX gave no supporting evidence into the claims made against Juarez, controversy surrounding his business dealings have surfaced before. During his run for District 5 in 2008 against incumbent Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, spates of allegations were levied against Juarez for his questionable business dealings.

However, some of the charges were investigated at the time by the East Bay Express. One allegation involving a lawsuit by the City of Oakland against Juarez for nearly $32,000 in the unpaid percentage of money owed the city from his collection service, and referenced in the KPIX story, was somewhat debunked by the Express. According to court filings, the city mistakenly paid Juarez over $20,000 in what the paper called a “comedy of errors” by the city attorney’s office.