SURPRISE, Ariz. - Anybody who's met Geoff Mena, a.k.a. Chef Jeff, during his nearly eight years in the adult industry — his credits including stints as an on-air personality at KSEX.com, a web designer for Elegant Angel, and a freelance photographer/videographer, among many other gigs — will tell you that he's a perfectly affable, charismatic and well-mannered fellow. Hardly a scourge to have around civilized company.
But apparently the city of Surprise, Ariz. thought otherwise. At least that's what Jeff believes. And he wants to let it be known that it was his work in the industry, all signs would suggest, that laid at the heart of the matter.
Having been hired in August to an administrative position at the newly constructed Surprise Tennis Center — a dream job for him as a life-long fanatic of the sport — Jeff was abruptly and without explanation terminated on Sept. 11.
"There were 150 applicants for the position," Jeff told AVN. "I get the job, and no problems. The job is going great, I'm doing well, the patrons and staff really liked me. Then on Sept. 8th, my supervisor calls me into the office — this was the official ribbon cutting day — and says he wants to share this letter with me; he describes it as 'very disturbing.'"
That letter was sent anonymously, with no return address, and when Jeff requested a copy, the supervisor, John Austin, sent him to human resources, who told him that in order to procure one, he would have to file a Freedom of Information Act request. He did, and here's some of what the letter said:
"I was recently invited to play tennis with a friend of mine at the new Surprise courts. ... My friend and I were talking to the tennis pro, Geoff Mena, about lessons, tournaments, etc. for our families. Once we returned home, we decided to 'google' his name to check his teaching credentials. It was at this time that we discovered that he also is involved in the adult entertainment industry. As a former Marine, I am certainly not a prude, but, after some discussion, Mr. Mena's other career made us wary of him teaching our wives, daughters and their teenage friends."
Sept. 11, just three days after that office conference with Austin, Jeff said, "I was taken to a back room and handed a termination letter. The letter cited the city's policy that they didn't have to have a reason to fire me. No reason was given to me. I was asked for my keys to the facility and for my city ID, and I was told it was effective immediately ... to collect my belongings and leave the premises immediately."
From there, things got increasingly sinister. "In the office, as I was getting my things together," Jeff continued, "[Austin] said something like, 'Well, you just left to pursue other interests.'"
Later, he said, "I talked to a current city employee who told me that the city told everyone that if anyone asks about me to say that I left abruptly on my own to pursue other interests, or something like that. The city is trying to keep it quiet, so much so that they lied to their own employees and instructed them to give out false information if anyone asks."
Why the cover-up? To Jeff's mind, the intent most likely was to avoid bad press — something, ironically, that the city may now end up facing anyway. Jeff believes that it was Austin's supervisor, director of community recreation services Mark Coronado, who issued the termination order, and that he did so because "either he personally had a problem with the fact that I was in the adult business, or he wanted to avoid potential newspaper headlines due to the implied threat of an anonymous letter; the implied threat being that the author of the letter could go to the paper and cause headaches for the city in the way of negative press."
AVN called Coronado to see whether he would confirm or deny these allegations, and he directed us to assistant city attorney Misty Leslie, who told us, "The policy of the city of Surprise is to confirm employment, and nothing else. We don't release any other personal information of former or current employees. Mr. Mena was employed from August 13 to September 11, 2007. Beyond that, we can't provide any further information."
Unfortunately for Jeff, due to Arizona's right-to-work laws, there likely is little to no legal recourse he can take. But that doesn't mean he can't make a stink.
"I was seeking a return to tennis as a career because it's more personally rewarding," he said. "My résumé for tennis is extensive and impressive. I challenge anyone to give me a reason why I should not be at that job. I've never been arrested, I'm not a sex offender, nothing. And the patrons loved me ... all except one, I guess. I was not questioned by anyone regarding details, I was simply asked to leave. It was embarrassing, it was demeaning, it was, I feel, a violation of my civil rights and sets a precedent for government agencies to dismiss anyone, even for ideological or political reasons."
And so Jeff has returned to adult, partnering with MayorsMoney.com to create the soon-to-launch IBangPornStars.com. "It's pretty obvious I'm going to face the same problem anywhere I go to try to be in the tennis business," he lamented, "so I figured, fuck it, I guess I just have to have sex with hot porn girls."