Witness: Pico Rivera mayor abused free movie passses

From reporter Ruby Gonzales who notes that a judge could determine Pico Rivera’s Weinerschnitzel king Ron Beilke’s fate today:

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LOS ANGELES – A Krikorian Premiere Theatres executive testified at Ron Beilke’s corruption trial Wednesday that the theater monitored the former Pico Rivera mayor and several other council members over their alleged misuse of free movie passes.

Michael Cummings, vice president of operations with Krikorian, said at one point the company sent a letter with the passes “to help curb what we deemed was misuse of the passes.” It listed their rules and restrictions.

Council members and city staff members were given the passes starting in 2005 while the Pico Rivera theater project was under way, Cummings said.

“The passes were issued so they could check out what they will have in Pico Rivera,” he said, but they were never intended for unlimited use.

Beilke has been charged with one felony count of perjury, one felony count of conflict of interest and three misdemeanor counts of conflict of interest. He has pleaded not guilty to all.

Prosecutors accuse Beilke of lying when he reported on his 2008 economic-interest form that he received $240 worth of movie passes from Krikorian Premiere Theatres. The real value was $3,464, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also allege Beilke had a conflict of interest when he approved contracts related to the theater and to a street-improvement project on Rosemead Boulevard. His Wienerschnitzel restaurant is near the projects.

If convicted of all charges and sentenced consecutively, Beilke faces six years and two months in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Sandi Roth.

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