DA’s office says no decision on misuse of public funds allegations against Duarte prior to Tuesday’s special election

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office of Public Integrity said an investigation into the misuse of public funds by Duarte officials regarding an Azusa referendum remains open.

Furthermore, Head Deputy District Attorney for the department, David Demerjian, said he doesn’t expect any decisions on the case prior to the special election based on the referendum in question which is scheduled for Tuesday.

Azusa Mayor Diane Chagnon alleged in a complaint filed with the district attorney’s office in November that Duarte hired a public relations firm to help with a referendum campaign in Azusa and illegally discussed certain items in closed session.

Officials in Duarte rebuked the claims and submitted hundreds of documents to the attorney’s office in response.

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Duarte hopes documents prove allegations false

There will be more on this in tomorrow’s newspaper, but Duarte has submitted a rebuttal to claims the council misused public funds by hiring a public relations firm to help with the Azusa referendum effort.

Duarte sent a large packet of documents to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office whose Public Integrity Division is investigating the allegations submitted by former Azusa Mayor Diane Chagnon.

Duarte believes those documents will exonerate them from the charges.

According to a statement from the city:

“The documents submitted by Duarte to the District Attorney confirm the work performed by the firm was not related to the referendum but rather to inform Azusa residents about the adverse environmental impacts the Vulcan mining expansion project would have and to encourage residents to attend the Azusa City Council’s public hearings on the project on May 17, 2010 and July 6, 2010. Englander Knabe & Allen completed all of its work for Duarte prior to the July 6, 2010 decision by the Azusa City Council to approve the Vulcan project and therefore prior to the referendum effort undertaken by Azusa residents.”

Duarte officials have said they believe this is a political ploy by Chagnon – a member of Canyon City Alliance – to cast doubt on the referendum and attack Duarte.

The Canyon City Alliance is a group of individuals who support the new mining plan and advocate in favor of Measure A. Vulcan Materials Co. is part of the organization and is the main financial supporter for the group.