LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The former mayor of Maywood and 10 others have been charged in a 34-count criminal complaint alleging widespread corruption, including soliciting and receiving bribes, misappropriation of public funds and embezzlement over a three-year period, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon announced today.
Former mayor and councilman Ramon Medina, 61, was set to be arraigned today in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on six counts of soliciting a bribe, three counts each of conspiracy to commit a crime, embezzlement and failing to file campaign statements, two counts each of grand theft, misappropriation of public funds and perjury under oath, and one count of failure to report behested payments.
Medina is accused of seeking and receiving bribes from several of his co-defendants, who allegedly sought to gain favor and do business in one of the county's smallest and most densely populated cities, according to a statement released by the District Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors also allege that Medina, along with former City Manager Reuben Martinez and Building and Planning Director David Mango, tried several times to sell three redevelopment properties that were intended for affordable housing for less than half of their fair-market value for use as a 24/7 charitable bingo hall.
Martinez, 57, is charged with two counts each of conspiracy and grand theft and three counts each of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, while Mango, 58, is charged with two counts each of conspiracy, grand theft, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.
“No one is above the law. Public officials should be working to benefit the people, not their own bank accounts,'' Gascon said in the statement. “Pay-to-play politics have no place in Los Angeles County and we are all deserving of a clean government.''
Also charged in connection with the probe are:
-- bingo hall promoter George Del Junco, 51, who is charged with two counts of conspiracy and one count of bribing an executive officer;
-- Del Junco's business associate, Paul Garcia, 57, who is charged with three counts of bribing an executive officer;
-- Hector Castillo, 72, who runs an engineering firm and is charged with one count each of conspiracy, bribing an executive officer and grand theft and two counts of embezzlement;
-- general maintenance contractor Felipe Velarde, who will turn 61 on Friday and is charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts each of grand theft, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.
-- disc jockey George Tello Ramirez, 57, who is charged with one count of soliciting a bribe;
-- recall proponent Felipe Aguirre, 68, who is charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to file campaign statements;
-- political consultant Mario Beltran, 43, who is charged with one count of filing false or fraudulent recall petitions; and
-- the ex-mayor's 32-year-old son, Ramon Medina Jr., who is charged with one count of conspiracy to possess gamecocks for fighting purposes.
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