Corruption case wiretap details sex, drugs and other scams in tiny town of Cudahy

I like to call the region surrounding the 710 Freeway “The Corruption Corridor.”

Towns in the region include Montebello, Bell, Southgate, Mayhwood, Huntington Park, Bell Gardens and Vernon.
Then there’s tiny Cudahy. Never been there? Well that’s probably because you weren’t looking for  prostitutes, marijuana or trying to scam customer of your tow company.
The FBI on Friday announced a corruption probe into three member of the Cudahy City Council. All were accused of taking bribes in exchange for approving the establishment of a Medical marijuana dispensary. A lot of the dirt is in a affidavit filed in support of the case. Take a look.  Here’s a link. It’s great reading and a fascinating window into public corruption in Los Angeles County:
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Judge orders Bell “pigs” to stand trial in corruption case

From City New Service:

U R G E N T 
LOS ANGELES – Six current and former Bell city officials were ordered today to stand trial on charges of misappropriating public funds.
Mayor Oscar Hernandez, City Council members Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal, and
former council members Luis Artiga, George Cole and Victor Bello are accused of taking part in a scam that siphoned $5.5 million in taxpayer money from the city’s coffers, primarily through lofty salaries.
They are all due to be arraigned March 2.
After a seven-day preliminary hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Henry J. Hall ruled there was sufficient evidence to order the six to stand trial. A preliminary hearing will begin Tuesday for former City Administrator Robert Rizzo and his assistant, Angela Spaccia.<QA>
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Plea deal for La Puente’s Mayor Lujan in the works

Louie Lujan allegedly failed to report some campaign cash and faces a lifetime out of politics. 

Here’s the latest from reporter James Wagner:

LA PUENTE – Prosecutors have offered Mayor Louie Lujan a plea deal in a perjury case against him.

Lujan, who faces one felony count of perjury for filing an allegedly false campaign finance report, will appear Thursday in a court that officials said handles cases before they enter the traditional criminal court process.

“If he enters a plea on this count as charged, then that will end the case,” said Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman of the Public Integrity Division.

The plea offer consists of three years probation and a $1,000 fine, Huntsman said.

Thursday’s court date in Superior Court is for an early disposition hearing, where it is determined if a case can be “disposed of early,” Deputy Clerk Lorraine Valdez said.

There is no testimony or witnesses, she said.

The prosecution and defense must both agree to enter the early disposition hearing, Huntsman said.

A judge would have to sign off on an agreed plea deal, officials said.

Lujan and his attorney, Glen Jonas, did not return repeated calls Monday for comment.


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Former Vernon mayor gets probation, fine in corruption probe

This from the DA’s Office:

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LOS ANGELES – The man who served as Vernon’s mayor for more than a half-century and his wife were sentenced today to probation and ordered to pay more than $600,000 in fines and penalties following their conviction last month for voter fraud and other charges.

Leonis Malburg, 80, was barred from holding any elective office and placed on five years probation and by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson. The judge found the couple guilty Dec. 4 following a court trial. Malburg’s 83-year-old wife, Dominica, was placed on three years probation, said Deputy District Attorneys Max Huntsman and Jonlyn Callahan, who prosecuted the case.

Malburg was ordered to pay a total of $183,800 in fines and penalty assessments and more than $395,000 in restitution to the City of Vernon for salary, benefits and travel for the time he was elected in April 11, 2006. His wife was ordered to pay $36,000 in fines and penalties.

“We’re pleased with the sentence,” Huntsman said. “We hope politicians get the message” that they must live in the district where they’ve been elected to represent and where they are registered to vote.

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Former Pico Rivera mayor had felony conviction

The past caught up with Gracie Gallegos, the former mayor of Pico Rivera. On her rap sheet, a felony conviction for Insurance fraud. Here’s the story:

Former Mayor Gracie Gallegos pleaded no contest to felony insurance fraud while serving on the City Council, but other city officials said Monday they didn’t know about it.

Gallegos entered her plea in August 2007 and was sentenced to five years’ probation and 120 hours of community service, according to court documents. She was elected to the Pico Rivera City Council in March of 2007.

Gallegos resigned from the council less than three weeks ago. She was serving as mayor at the time.

She said she left the council to take care of other priorities, including an ill father with late-stage cancer, the family business and supporting her daughter who studies abroad.

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Temple City graft probe detailed in grand jury transcripts


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Here’s the Temple City grand jury transcripts Part 1 (5.1 MB) and

 Part 2 (5.1 MB).

They are lengthy and detailed, but a great insight into just how sleazy local politics can become when a $75 million development is at stake.

Not only do witness tell of bribery, greed, money laundering and back rooms deals, there’s also talk of voodoo rituals performed by former mayor Judy Wong.

Read ‘em and enjoy!

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The Temple City case — bribery, perjury, money laundering and drug dealing

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If politics disgusts you, read no further. 

If you are interested in how a corrupt government really works, here’s an instructive timeline put together by Alfred Lee and based on a grand jury probe of shenanigans in Temple City.  
We’ve put together a special section detailing what those reports entail, it’s here.
At right — former Mayor –still councilwoman Judy Wong..
As for the timeline… which includes allegations of bribery, perjury, money laundering and drug dealing, it’s on the jump …

Continue reading

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DA opens probe of Pico Rivera Councilman (and Weinerschnitzel dude) Beilke

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Ron Beilke, Pico Rivera Councilman and local Weinerschnitzel proprietor might have some ‘splaining to do to the DA and a possible grand jury looking into allegations he engaged in some shady conduct while on the council over the past few years.

Beilke is accused of voting for improvements on Rosemead Boulevard that helped traffic get to his restaurant. He is also accused of vague election code violations from about two years ago. Whatever the case, the accusations probably won’t help his reelection bid this November.
A fellow councilmember, David Armenta, apparently was pleased by the searches Thursday.
“I know that Ron Beilke has had some corruption and that’s what they’re looking at,” Armenta said.
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The Temple City bribery/perjury/campaign finance fiasco

The mayor, a former mayor and a campaign fixer/suspected bagman who hoped to be on the council face some serious felony bribery/perjury charges after finally appearing in court Wednesday.

If you believe what the DA alleges, small-time greed drove these political hacks to basically extort a developer who may have been in over his head in the first place.

The truth of the matter is Temple City is probably not only local government corrupted by the easy cash that flows from developer’s pockets. It’s just that most developers aren’t carrying around a pocket wire to record the transaction and burn the council. Here’s an excerpt from our story on Boss Wilson and her crew:

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LOS ANGELES – Temple City’s mayor, its former mayor and a former City Council candidate were indicted Wednesday on felony charges of bribery, perjury and other counts related to a nine-month corruption probe into their dealings with a local developer.

The 21-count indictment was returned Monday by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury and unsealed Wednesday by Judge Patricia Schnegg at the criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles.

Temple City Mayor Judy Wong was charged with six counts of bribery, three counts of perjury and one count of solicitation of bribery. Former mayor Cath Wilson was charged with three counts of bribery and three counts of perjury.

Former City Council candidate Scott Carwile, who was also once Wilson’s campaign treasurer, was charged with four counts of perjury and one misdemeanor count of failing to report a campaign contribution.

“It’s actually quite rare that we bring bribery charges, because of the nature of the crime,” said Deputy District Attorney David Demerjian, who heads the DA’s Public Integrity Division. “Normally, neither side involved in the bribery will report it to us. It’s usually beneficial to them to just continue on with the conspiracy.”

<snip> 

Bail was set at $250,000 for Wong, $150,000 for Wilson and $100,000 for Carwile. All three posted bail, were booked, and were ordered to return July 9 for a pre-trial hearing.

 

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Jerry Brown sets sights on Maywood PD

California Attorney General Jerry Brown will unveil the findings of a 16-month probe into the Maywood Police Department this afternoon. Here’s the AP’s version of the story:

LOS ANGELES–A small police department that patrols two gritty cities engaged in widespread use of unlawful force and routinely lacked probable cause to justify arrests and searches, the state attorney general said Tuesday.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown released a lengthy report detailing the findings of a 16-month investigation of the Maywood Police Department.

The report slammed the department on several fronts, criticizing its hiring of officers with misdemeanor convictions and its fostering of what it called an endemic attitude of discourtesy, sexism and racial insensitivity.

“The Maywood Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprived persons of rights, privileges or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution,” the report states.

Maywood Police Chief Frank Hauptmann’s executive assistant Evelyn Ruedas said the chief was declining comment on the report.

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