Breceda spent a shocking amount of city money
Posted in the Rowland Heights Forum
#1 Apr 28, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP)-- In a story April 25 about alleged corruption in the city of Irwindale, The Associated Press reported erroneously that a California appeals court threw out embezzlement convictions against four city officials. The appellate court tossed out the indictments before the cases went to trial. The AP also incorrectly identified one of the officials as retired City Manager Steve Blancarte. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to misappropriating public funds, but was not part of the appeal.
A corrected version of the story is below:
LOS ANGELES (AP)-- A Southern California appeals court on Thursday threw out embezzlement charges against four officials from the small city of Irwindale who were accused of spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on baseball games and Broadway shows in New York.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal said in its decision that the four officials spent "shocking" amounts of city money and showed an "abuse of the public trust." But the court said Los Angeles County prosecutors withheld two key documents from the grand jury that indicted them.
The documents "arguably would have shown that there was no deceit whatsoever," the court wrote.
Five embezzlement counts apiece were thrown out for Councilmen Mark Breceda and Manuel Garcia, Finance Director Abe De Dios and former Councilwoman Rosemary Ramirez.
During trips to New York between 2001 and 2005, prosecutors say the four went to New York with the intent of improving the city's bond rating but spent much of their time attending Broadway musicals like "Wicked" and New York Yankees baseball games. On one trip, the group stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and ran up a bill of $62,000.
Prosecutors said the trips were paid for a by a third party who was then reimbursed by the city.
But defense attorneys said their clients were unaware of the reimbursements and the appellate court agreed there was little evidence they willfully cheated the city.
Prosecutors instead focused on a daily $75 food allotment each official received from the city, accusing them of "double-dipping" by claiming reimbursement money from Irwindale even when others had paid.
But the two city documents withheld from the grand jury instructed city officials to claim the reimbursement no matter who had paid.
"While greed and fraudulent intent may be siblings, they certainly are not identical twins," Justice Jeffrey W. Johnson wrote.
Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman said the ruling is just a setback, and prosecutors would now explore all their options for new charges or indictments.
Defense attorneys expressed hope the matter was over.
"There was simply insufficient evidence across the board to show that our clients intended to embezzle money from the city," Breceda's lawyer, Anthony Falangetti, told City News Service.
#2 May 1, 2013
The California appeals court said that Breceda spent a shocking amount of Irwindales money and showed an "abuse of the public trust
#3 May 2, 2013
Hunley....why don't you pull your lower lip over your stupid head and swallow! Leave it alone and move on to some other topic....its over! Irwindale is a much better place without you... I think the DA spent a shocking amount of money to prove how stupid the issue was to begin with. Life goes on "Viva Breceda". And stop stalking Rosy and Rosemary....you must really love the name to think about it all the time. Get a life idiot!
#4 May 2, 2013
You are right about one thing Irwindale is a much better place without Breceda stealing public money.
Just state your name and say you support Breceda stealing public money.
THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT
#5 May 2, 2013
Hey hillbilly J Hunky, You and the DA have NO proof of anyone stealing any money. You should now spend your time brushing your teeth, wiping your Ass, washing your body, and changing your clothes more often. It's over jackass! ALL CHARGES DISMISSED. Did you not see that? Maybe that tear in your eye blurred your vision as you tried to sound out the words in the paper. Duh, Duh.... I tink dats all my buddy hernandez . Ha. Viva Breceda!
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