(The AEGIS Alliance) – LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CALIFORNIA – The former mayor of Maywood and 10 other individuals were charged in a corruption probe that alleges they solicited and received bribes, misappropriated public funds, and embezzled money over three years.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged former Maywood mayor and councilman Ramon Medina with six counts of bribe solicitation, three counts of conspiracy to commit a criminal offense, embezzlement, failure to file campaign statements, two counts of grand theft, misappropriation of public funds, perjury while under oath, and one count of failure to report payments.
He allegedly sought and acquired bribes from a number of his co-defendants who “sought to gain favor and do business” in Maywood, described as a small, but densely populated area.
The city outsourced a lot of its city services that include legal services, engineering, building inspections, and park upkeep, and relied on third-party, non-public distributors, officials say.
61-year-old Medina, together with former City Manager Reuben Martinez and Building and Planning Director David Mango, are alleged to have tried a number of times to sell three redevelopment properties for lower than half of their fair market value. Despite the fact that the properties had been purported to be developed for inexpensive housing, the men allegedly sought a purchaser who would construct a 24/7 charitable bingo hall, officials stated.
Additionally, the three defendants allegedly promised potential buyers favorable financing terms and agreed to share a portion of the earnings that came from the bingo hall.
Medina is accused of soliciting bribes from a potential buyer, co-defendant Paul Garcia to recall a Maywood councilmember, according to officials.
Between September 2016 and June 2018, the three defendants allegedly approved contractor Felipe Velarde to finish development projects for Medina’s associates and supporters utilizing public funds. This included constructing handicap ramps and driveways on non-public properties, putting in speed bumps on streets that didn’t meet industry requirements, and repair work at Mango’s Studio City residence.
The city paid Velarde a total of $1.53 million throughout that timeframe, “sometimes doubling and tripling payments to him compared to the previous two-year period.”
Officials allege that Medina directed city workers to void or dismiss parking tickets issued to his associates and supporters.
“Public officials should be working to benefit the people, not their own bank accounts,” District Attorney George Gascón stated in a press release.
“Pay-to-play politics have no place in Los Angeles County and we are all deserving of a clean government.”
In addition, Medina and his son, Ramon Medina Jr., are accused of having greater than 40 roosters used for cockfighting and paraphernalia used to coach the birds to fight.
Other defendants and charges include:
- Reuben Martinez, 57, is charged with two counts of conspiracy and grand theft, three counts of embezzlement, and misappropriation of public funds.
- David Mango, 58, is with two counts of conspiracy, grand theft, embezzlement, and misappropriation of public funds.
- George Del Junco, 71, a bingo hall promoter, is charged with two counts of conspiracy and one count of bribing an executive officer.
- Paul Garcia, 57, described as Del Junco’s business associate, is charged with three counts of bribing an executive officer.
- Hector Castillo, 72, who runs an engineering business, is charged with one count of conspiracy, bribing an executive officer, grand theft, and two counts of embezzlement.
- Felipe Velarde, 60, a general maintenance contractor, is charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of grand theft, embezzlement, and misappropriation of public funds.
- George Tello Ramirez, 57, a disc jockey, is charged with one count of soliciting a bribe.
- Felipe Aguirre, 68, described as a recall proponent, is charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to file campaign statements.
- Mario Beltran, 43, a political advisor, is charged with one count of submitting false or fraudulent recall petitions.
- Ramon Medina Jr., 32, faces one count of conspiracy to possess gamecocks for the purpose of fighting.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.