The mayor of Cudahy, David Silva, and two other officials in the small southeast LA county municipality were indicted by the feds on charges of soliciting and accepting $17,000 in bribes for help to open a medical marijuana shop. Federal agents moved in this morning to arrest the trio, the LA Times reports. In addition to Silva, the officials indicted are Councilman Osvaldo Conde and city employee Angel Perales. Cudahy borders the city of Bell and like it's neighbor is mostly Latino, low income and perennially th subject of talk about political corruption.
* Afternoon update: The three Cudahy officials are due in court on the 2 p.m. in courtroom 341 of the Roybal Federal Building. The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Akrotirianakis. The feds have this to say:
The three officials arrested this morning are:
* Osvaldo Conde, 50, a member of the Cudahy City Council, who allegedly accepted two separate bribe payments;
* David Silva, 61, the current mayor of Cudahy; and
* Angel Perales, 43, who runs the Code Enforcement Division of the Cudahy Community Services Department (and is also the head of the Cudahy Parks and Recreation Department).
“The stain left by public corruption is indelible, extending beyond any individual case because of the general erosion of public confidence in government,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The allegations in this case describe a corrosive and freewheeling attitude among certain officials in the City of Cudahy. The Department of Justice will aggressively investigate and pursue cases like this to ensure that the integrity of good government is protected and preserved.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. Martinez stated: “The alleged participation by multiple public officials in a bribery scheme is unfair to the residents of Cudahy. This case will send the right message to corrupt public officials and is a step toward restoring honest stewardship to the City of Cudahy.”
From the Times story on the affidavit, which contains about 130 pages of wiretap transcripts:
The 146-page affidavit in support of federal bribery charges against three Cudahy officials paints a damning portrait of a city rife with corruption, voter fraud and mismanagement – including a former city manager who one employee said would come into work and get high.
According to the criminal complaint, Mayor David Silva, Councilman Osvaldo Conde and longtime city employee Angel Perales solicited and accepted bribes totaling $17,000 in exchange for approval of a medical marijuana dispensary. All three were taken into custody by FBI agents on Friday morning.
"The allegations in this case describe a corrosive and freewheeling attitude among certain officials in the city of Cudahy," said United States Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. "The Department of Justice will aggressively investigate and pursue cases like this to ensure that the integrity of good government is protected and preserved."
In 2008, Jeffrey Anderson won an award for his LA Weekly investigation into corruption in Cudahy.