We’re learning more about the public corruption investigation centering around current and former officials in Maywood.
The LA Times has obtained a copy of a search warrant served by members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office earlier this month. According to the LA Times, it shows the D.A. has “set its sights on a broad swath that includes four current and former council members, 13 companies, five current and former city administrators and one activist who dresses up as a clown.”
Wait a minute. A clown? Are we talking about this guy?
Investigators received authorization to search homes, offices, and nearly two dozen vehicles. They seized bank records, computers, and city council agendas during their search.
“The warrant suggests the wide-ranging investigation dovetails with the suspicion many Maywood residents have had about politics in the city for years,” according to the LA Times.
Here are a few more things we have learned:
• Prosecutors are specifically looking at recall efforts that took place between 2015 and 2017, possible conflicts of interest, and a deal involving a 24-hour charitable bingo. That’s where the clown, Edwin T. Snell, comes in. A percentage of the profits were supposed to go to a nonprofit organization he runs.
• The search warrant named Mayor Ramon Medina; Vice Mayor Ricardo Villarreal; City Attorney Michael Montgomery; Building and Planning Director David Mango; Acting City Manager Reuben Martinez; and former Councilman Sergio Calderon who resigned in January amid conflict-of-interest claims.
• Companies listed in the warrant include ECM Group Inc., which was the subject of a federal corruption probe that ensnared South El Monte’s mayor in 2016, as well as city contractor V&M Iron Works.
The investigation in Maywood has raised the specter of Bell, Cudahy, and other Southeast Los Angeles County cities whose reptuations crumbled under the weight of public corruption.
"What's happened in Maywood is like a battle between the forces of today and yesterday," said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), whose district includes Maywood. "It's like a zombie coming out of the grave that just won't die."
"If folks are eventually arrested, that will be six of the nine cities that I represent that have had former council members in prison," Rendon added. "Six of the nine, which tells us something about the depth of the problems."
Rendon blamed a lack of civic participation and declining media attention for some of the region's problems.
Read more at the LA Times.