La Verne councilman found not guilty

Steven Johnson not guilty, jury finds…

La Verne councilman found not guilty
By Daniel Tedford, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/30/2009 11:51:08 AM PDT

WEST COVINA – A jury has found a La Verne councilman not guilty of conflict of interest charges, court officials said.

Steven Johnson was on trial in connection with a 2007 vote concerning the University of La Verne expansion and master plan.

Johnson owns property and a business near the university and a satellite office. State law prohibits council members from voting on matters in which they would benefit from an outcome.
Often referred to as the “one penny” rule, members are advised not to vote on projects within 500 feet of their property, even if it benefits them by only one penny.

The jury returned its verdict after four days of testimony and deliberation.

Johnson faced a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine, 6 months in jail and not being able to run for reelection to the city council.