.
A lot has been said about your appearing in an adult film in the past – any
regrets?  
No regrets, it was a legal film which violated no laws. If I appeared in Hamlet no one would have
cared.

How has your family reacted to all of this “fame”? Parents, brothers or
sisters?
My family was all supportive of me.

Tell me about your design business today.  
I opened VDG in May of 2008 and I take on projects anywhere from designing and building out a
bathroom, to designing a million dollar house, to designing a kids day spa.

Do you want to be a policeman again, and why.
Being a police officer was dream of mine and I would love to be reinstated back on the force…

What unfulfilled goals do you still have, and how do you plan of achieving
them?
I have several goals, my main objective is to be a part of the fight to bring equal rights to our
country such as policies like ENDA. I will achieve this by being the voice of many who have gone
unheard or who are in fear of being heard.

What is the best quality to think you have?  Your worst?
This is a tough question, maybe it would be better to ask someone who knows me. I believe that
my best quality is that I am and have always been a self made man. I started working as a kid and
have always worked hard for everything that I have today.

I guess you can say that my worst quality is that I can be a little stubborn at times, which may be a
good quality since this is part of my drive to make a difference.
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www.ambiente.us   NOVEMBER |NOVIEMBRE 2010

Mikey Verdugo|
Resilience & Reinvention
by Eddie Sierra  

Ambiente recently had the privilege of watching a community come together in support
of one of their own. The community I am talking about here is not a divisive or polar
community, neither Democratic nor Republican, neither black, white or Hispanic, a
community as in Kant’s description of utilitarianism - standing strong for the greatest
good in the greatest number with the only goal of equal justice for all. The occasion
couldn’t be more appropriate October 20th a day declared as the Purple Heart Day. A
day to stand tall against bullying and the cronies who refuses to accept that we are
deep into the 21st century, that there is no turning back and the days of tyranny and
oppression is over. The occasion also brought us to the City of Hollywood City Hall,
where the Mayor and its commissioners were discussing a hot topic the Employment
Non-Discriminatory Act or EDNA, a piece of legislation that will end the days when
bullies and cronies have their way because of the color of your skin or your sexual
orientation just to name a few discriminatory practices. That day also provided a good
opportunity to one of our own Mikey Verdugo – an ex City of Hollywood police officer
who was cut short of a stellar career for the sole reason of being “gay” and for having
appeared on a soft pornographic films years before joining that city’s force. It was also
a day that made me realize that even thought we have come a long way from our days
of Stone Wall and the San Francisco liberals, there is still much work to be done in our
GLBT communities and by taking a stand and saying enough is enough is only way we
can bring change and process to a sometimes polarizing communities that have much
to gain from coming together and like Harvey Milk said - “If a bullet should enter my
.
brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door” and who better than Mikey Verdugo to dodge
that bullet. Ambiente recently sat down with the man who is determine to do in Hollywood
what Harvey did in San Francisco – stand tall at the tyrannies against the GLBT
communities.

Tell me about the current status of your legal battle, and what led up to
this point.
I will begin to answer this question in regards to the events that led me to my current
situation today. Until July of 2008, I was a decorated Police officer who was assigned to
several special elite units such as the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactical Team), Deep
undercover money laundering task force, Narcotics Investigations, and Beach Patrol. I was
a cops cop, until it was learned that I was gay… Post learning that I was in fact gay, I fell
victim of documented acts of discrimination based on my sexual orientation. I filed
complaints with my agency and as a result I was removed from my special units and
placed back on the road. It was later learned that I participated in a soft-core adult video
containing homosexual content which took place several years before my career as a
police officer. I was ultimately fired for not documenting this 30 minute video on my job
application as employment. I appealed this decision and appeared before a Arbitrator who
ruled in the favor of the City. I am currently appealing this ruling before a Broward County
Circuit Judge on November 30th 2010. The City also filed a complaint with the FDLE
(Florida Dept of Law Enforcement) in order to have my state certification taken from me. The
FDLE unanimously ruled in my favor and is permitting me to maintain my state certification,
which in Laymen’s Terms means that I can continue to be a police officer.

What is at stake?
There are several things at stake. I believe that it is evident that I fell victim of discrimination
in the workplace which resulted in me having my career taken from me. But there is a
bigger picture…. If I allow this to happen to me, when does it stop???? How many people
will fall victim to this type of hate unless we decide to
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say “enough is enough” and fight back. In essence every man and women who is not
protected under policy and law is at stake for wrongful termination.

How has your private life being played out so publicly affected you –
your loved ones?
Without the love, loyalty and support of all of my family, friends, and members of the
community I don’t believe that I would be able to endure the pain and suffering that I have
experienced. I have received nothing but support from the public. Additionally, I have been
contacted my countless members of the GLBT community who have similar stories as
mine and became motivated to take a stand.

Why did you choose to go on Design Star, and how was that
experience – Has it helped or hurt you? – How?
In my life I have many passions, one of which, is design. I currently own my own business
(DBA – Verdugo Design Group www.verdugodesigns.com). I do not regret going on the
show and have made many lifelong friends from appearing on the HGTV show. The
exposure from the show without a doubt has helped my business grow.

What reaction do you get from people on the street that recognizes
you now?
I receive nothing but support and words of encouragement from both my peers on the force,
and the general public.

What do you hope will come from your legal battle? What would you
have done differently, if you could have? Why?
Like I earlier said, I have many passions, and being a police officer is a dream that I always
had, and feel that they stole it from me and would love to be permitted to be reinstated back
on the force. I would also like my case to become some type of “case law” which would set
precedence in similar cases that might come up in the future.
.
.
.
The recent years have made you a
community leader, either by choice
or design.  Are you comfortable
with that?  What do you feel is your
role or responsibility to your
community?
I took an oath to serve and protect the
members of my community and uphold the
citizens rights . The Hollywood Police
Department stole my ability to wear a uniform
and wear a badge but they will never steal my
right to continue to protect the members of
my community.

What advice would you give a
younger “Mikey”?
I have no regrets in life and I would tell the
younger me to stand tall and never stop
fighting for what is right….

How is your life –personally &
professionally, now?
I surround myself with many great friends
who I consider family and try to maintain a
positive outlook on life. I am currently the
owner and operator of my 2 businesses
(Verdugo Design Group and Elite Home
Stagers    www.elitestagers.com).
What do you think most people out there don’t know or understand about you? And how do
you want to have that changed?
The people who don’t understand me just doesn’t know me… I would say get to know me and make your own
determination on what type of man I am.

Where do you want your life to be in 10-20 years?
I hope to be retired from the police force and enjoying my life. I have always worked hard throughout my life and would
love to be able to be in a position to see the World.

What do peace, acceptance & success mean to you?
Peace Acceptance and success has many meaning to me. Peace would be to live in a world free of any type of hate or
discrimination. If you are a good member of society you should be able to enjoy the American Dream. Acceptance
would be to live in a World where no matter who you are, what you are, or who you are attracted to will be accepted by
society and that the government would enforce this, which currently is not the case. And lastly success is the end result
of living a life wherein you made a positive impact on a person or people.
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