For years, prosecutors say, Lynwood legislature members lived vast on a working-class city’s dime.
They allegedly billed a city for trips to far-flung places, including Beijing, Bermuda, Rio de Janeiro and Puerto Vallarta.
One assemblyman charged his city credit label to watch Playboy channel cinema during a Washington hotel. Another got a $100 daily stipend from a city to play in golf tournaments and attend a Tony Bennett unison and also used his city credit label for a $193 cooking during a House of Blues, prosecutors say.
Among a many carnal bills: a $1,500 night out during a Guadalajara frame club, where dancers allegedly achieved passionate favors for a legislature member and city manager — all charged to a city.
But a many inclusive claim might good be a many paltry lifted so distant during a ongoing hearing of dual former Lynwood legislature members: that they didn’t acquire their salaries. Prosecutors contend Louis Byrd and Fernando Pedroza pennyless a law by profitable themselves tens of thousands of dollars any in stipends to lay on city commissions that seemed to do little, if any, work.
The row has incited a Lynwood crime hearing into a exam box for a Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, that has never done such a authorised evidence before a jury though is approaching to do so again in a box opposite former legislature members in a city of Bell, who are also charged with misappropriating open funds.
Experts on metropolitan law and open crime concluded that a prosecution’s arguments are venturing into uncharted authorised territory. Public crime cases, they say, some-more ordinarily engage accusations of jolt down developers for bribes, laundering debate contributions or holding reimbursements for losses separate to city business rather than either officials indeed warranted their pay.
“That’s novel,” pronounced Loyola Law School highbrow Laurie Levenson, a former sovereign prosecutor. “We substantially could contend that about many open officials…. we indeed consider that’s going to be a kind of severe box to make.”
The Lynwood legislature members collected what infrequently amounted to $450 per notation for meetings of a Lynwood Public Finance Authority, that deals with holds and financing for city projects, and Lynwood Information Inc., a nonprofit that put out a newsletter about a city and managed open entrance radio programs. Both entities were done adult exclusively of a City Council’s members and customarily hold elect meetings during a same time as unchanging legislature meetings.
The combined compensate increased a part-time legislature members’ income from reduction than $10,000 a year to as many as $112,000 in one year for Byrd and $72,000 for Pedroza, prosecutors said.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Ed Miller pronounced a additional salaries were bootleg since sitting on a commissions was partial of a legislature members’ compulsory pursuit duties and did not aver additional pay.
Similar charges have been intended opposite legislature members in a city of Bell, where stipends for sitting on several commissions — in some cases for meetings that never took place or lasted usually mins — increased a annual compensate of many of a legislature members to scarcely $100,000. That case, that Miller is also prosecuting, is approaching to go to hearing in a fall.
Stanley Friedman, a invulnerability profession representing former Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez, pronounced he will be examination a outcome of a Lynwood trial.
“I consider potentially it could be a exam balloon as to what could occur in a Bell case,” he said. “It could be that a opposite jury would have a opposite result, though we do consider it’s an critical case.”
The district attorney’s bureau has an exploration open into identical allegations relating to elect salaries in a city of Compton.
Defense attorneys for a former Lynwood legislature members have argued that a salaries were authorised since a commissions conducted critical city business.
Byrd, an 80-year-old late propagandize principal, told The Times after he was criminally charged in 2007 that “they could never compensate we enough” for all a hours a Lynwood legislature members put in.
The invulnerability also took a evidence from a California Supreme Court preference final year that hold that open officials contingency know or be criminally inattentive in not meaningful that their control was bootleg in sequence to be guilty of misappropriation of funds.
Byrd’s attorney, Tomas Requejo, pronounced his customer and a other legislature members had no authorised training and relied on a period of city managers and city attorneys to tell them what was allowed. Albert Robles, Pedroza’s attorney, pronounced some residents had complained about a elect salaries to a district attorney’s bureau when they became wakeful of a stipends though were told they were legal. The district attorney’s bureau pronounced it had no record of such a complaint.
Miller discharged a thought that a legislature members were ignorant.