As the biggest city in California, perhaps Los Angeles’ epic and ongoing real estate-related corruption scandal centered on former City Councilman Jose Huizar should come as no surprise.
But what about when an alleged pay-to-play property scheme is uncovered in one of L.A. County’s smallest cities?
Former Maywood Mayor Ramon Medina, two ex-city officials and seven others were charged in a 34-count complaint alleging “widespread corruption” perpetrated over three years in the South Gate area city, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. The L.A. County District Attorney’s office brought the charges on Thursday.
Medina, former City Manager Reuben Martinez, and former Planning Director David Mango tried to sell three city properties that were set aside for affordable housing to a developer who wanted to build a bingo hall, according to the charges.
They offered the alleged buyer, Paul Garcia, a significant discount on the properties and offered a cut of the revenues from the sale, and favorable financing to other individuals involved with the potential deal.
Medina is also charged with asking one person involved in the alleged scheme to help fund a recall campaign against a Maywood city councilman.
Medina, Martinez, and Mango are also accused of paying contractor Felipe Velarde with municipal dollars to work for their friends and supporters. That included repairs at Mango’s Studio City home. Medina allegedly solicited other bribes from people wishing to do business in the city, according to the Daily News.
The complaint comes as the federal government works through its widening corruption case against Huizar, his associates and a slew of real estate developers.
The U.S. District Attorney’s office alleges Huizar and his team ran a $1.5 million pay-to-play scheme, collecting cash and gifts from developers in exchange for favorable treatment on pending projects in the city. Developer Carmel Partners — recently renamed CP Employers — recently agreed to pay a $1 million fine to avoid prosecution for its alleged role in that scandal. [LADN] — Dennis Lynch