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Authorities probe alleged misconduct in Maywood city offices

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has launched an investigation into alleged misconduct by Maywood city officials, including whether they broke the law when they hired an assistant city manager from neighboring Bell to replace their own city manager.

Jennifer Snyder, a prosecutor in the Public Integrity Unit, said her office is looking into whether City Council members and other officials had “serial meetings” outside of the public eye to reach a consensus in violation of the Brown Act.
 
She said that investigators are also looking at other allegations of misconduct, such as the misappropriation of public funds. Snyder said prosecutors were examining whether there is a conflict of interest involved in the hiring of the Bell official to work in Maywood because that official will work for both cities.

“There’s a whole law about incompatible offices,” Snyder said. “We have to look at whether or not they played by the rules in making that decision.”

All but one of the Maywood City Council members declined to comment on the investigation, saying they were unaware of the specifics of the allegations. 

However, Councilman Felipe Aguirre said he knew of no meetings held outside the council chambers. “I’m very cognizant of the Brown Act and what it means,” Aguirre said. “If they think we’re making policies outside of the chamber, then go ahead and prove that.”

Maywood has been a politically tumultuous place for several years, with recalls, a state investigation involving brutality and other misconduct by its Police Department and conflicts over the City Council majority’s reluctance to extend a police contract with the city of Cudahy.
 
Four years ago, Maywood gained notoriety when Aguirre, then a newly elected councilman, declared the municipality a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants. Later that year, a city clerk was charged with trying to solicit the murder of Aguirre.

The city’s political leadership changed that year, in part based on outrage over the use of checkpoints to tow the vehicles of undocumented immigrants.

Even now, City Council meetings often feature shouting matches, and most of the city’s employees left their posts and went on strike last week.
 
Snyder said the inquiry was just starting.

“We don’t go looking for this stuff. It comes to us,” she said. “We’re dependent on active citizens… I don’t really care why someone [submits allegations], I care about whether or not we find evidence of misconduct.”

-- Hector Becerra and Ruben Vives
 
Comments () | Archives (13)

I hope they into the Mayor, and the city council Misappropriation city funds when they paid for the Michael Jackson's Memorial for AEG. AEG has given money to the Mayor, and the city council. AEG has made money off of Michael Jackson. The tax payers should not foot the bill for that. The budget is in a mess, and the great Mayor is giving the tax payers money to AEG. People will be losing their jobs, and the Mayor is giving money to AEG.

This is obviously a racist witch hunt. On another note I would like to thank the LA Times for censoring the Crystal Mangum arrest.

isn't that how they run meetings in Mexico City? Apparently this is city is not a sanctuary for democratic process. And were they towing the cars of undocumented people or because they were in violation, had accumulated tickets, were not registered or some other offenses for which anyone, regardless of legal status, can be arrested? LAT, that was an intellectually dishonest presentation of the facts.

Gobeyond DwntnLA to the east and it's a different world. The political structures in these towns: Bell, Industry, Maywood, El Monte, are right out of the Wild West. These folks would make judge Roy Bean step up his game. They play by their own rules and largely out of sight.

Good Ol' Maywood. That city needs a big clean-up. Ever since I was a kid all you ever hear is so and so has a sweetheart deal with the tow company. Mayor so and so is taking money...The PD is full of Cowboys!

I'm a 33 year Maywood resident. I have been exposed to the frustration and disbelief the better aware community members have experienced recently. The list is long; Councilman Aguirre's using his elected position to get out of paying a ticket and vehicle release as well as impound fee for having an unregistered vehicle on a public street. Reports of Santa Rosa de Lima Perish Priest David Velasquez controlling Councilmembers Ana Rizo and Veronica Guardado. The illegal blocking of an elected Councilmember from taking his seat. The perceived collusion in having Bell take over. The list goes on and on folks. In this instance the DA's office deserves credit and recognition for their responsiveness to our pleas.

Well as a long time resident in the city of Maywood, F. Aguirre has a hidden agenda. We had a meet and greet meeting and we were introduced to 3 candidates for the city mananger's position. Were was Angela Spiccia, ex finance director of Bell? Mayor Rizo and her followers had already plan for the appointment of this individual. Why wasn't Angela at the meet and greet meeting? They this behind the backs of the citizens of Maywood? Mayor Aguirre, has nothing to talk about.He and his followers knowingly hired a convicted cop in 2008. They have wasted tax payer dollars. Maywood Council member F. Aguirre is a good friend of Nativo Lopez which is now facing 5 felonies. Birds of a feather block together. Furthermore, they want to do a jurisdictional police department and will cost the city $280,000. Who will do the study? Pedro Carrillo, a good friend of Mayor Rizo. Why can't they come forth to tell us about who will do this study.I did my homework. The $280,000 was suppose to be use for the PAL program. It was the #1 priority for the police department This was a grant thet Rizo applied for through congresswoman Roybal's office. Deputy District Attorney Jennifer
Synder needs to be congratulated for her efforts in finding the truth. Mayor Rizo has basic rules which are no yelling and respecting eachother. Excuse meeeeeee, Council member Guardado needs to stop yelling and no one stops her, not even our city attorney. Dennis Sanchez had to tell Guardado to be silent. These meetings are like the wild west. Pulmas can do what they want because they are Rizo's friends. The writing is on the wall. Our Maywood/Cudahy Police Department is the best and if anyone differs, please give me the facts. Hellooooooooooooooo. The investigation will prove there is wrong doing in our city. Why was Varela appointed and sworn by a notary public? Our city clerk should had sworn Calderon. He received the mayority of votes and he should has been seated. Were is our democracy? Maywood runs as a 3rd world country. They lack respect and they scheduled a special meeting last night @ 8:30. Our meetings usually start at 6:30/pm. Finally, I asked if they were in violation of the Brown Act? No answer.

Did you read how maywood officer Andrew Serrata, who was upset about a court ruling, made a deliberate comment to the court during his testimony? That comment helped release a sexual predator back on the street! I thought police were hired to keep cool under pressure! How is this officer allowed to go back out and patrol! Thank you officer serrata for this upcoming lawsuit!!!!!

It;s Maywood - What do you expect. As someone who has done business with many of the SE cities, Maywood has to be the most dysfunctional governmental sewer north of Tijuana. The city council has forced out the last few competent city employees and replaced them with relatives and other cronies. Dont believe me? Take a walk into the City of Bell city hall and then go to Maywood's - You will be SHOCKED ! Let's hope Cooley can lock these crooks up and start some massive deportations of the crooks running that town into the ground.

What needs to be looked at is when Administrators say: "we cant get rid of an employee who has a clean record". Next thing you know, employees get spoken to for chewing gum while walking. What adiministrators need to look at is themselves in the mirror. With all the favoritism, nepotism, cover ups, looking the other way for certain "golden boy" officers, spending on unbudgeted items, and hiring people just because of the color of their skin. Maywood, SHAME ON YOU!

In response to David's post regarding Officer Serrata. Please be aware that there are always two sides to the story. An article can claim anything it wants, but it's up to the reader to be smart enough to question it. Do you honestly believe Officer Serrata or any officer for that matter would jeopordize a child molestation case given the reprimand the officer would receive not only from the victim's family, but from his department, the media, the community, family and friends? c'mon! it makes absolutely no sense...The question here should be why would Serrata's own attorney ask him to answer a question that obviously he's not supposed to answer? Why would Serrata's own attorney say "his colleague" told him that she'd heard Serrata say he was going to "show the court" Who is this colleague? Wouldn't the judge want to talk to her? why did the judge allow hearsay on behalf of Serrata's attorney? Shouldn't someone ask Serrata if he did say that to the colleague? Shouldn't someone ask Serrata why he answered the way he did? Why did the judge disregard the fact the officers testified that they HAD read the suspect his miranda rights and instead claim that the witnesses were more credible than the officers when theys stated the officers had not mirandized the suspect? Mirandizing is pretty automatic, why would they NOT have done it? It is so easy to blame the officer. Has it ever occurred to anyone that perhaps it was the attorney's inablility to prepare his witness, in this case Officer Serrata, that lead to this debacle. Had he coached him appropriately on how he was supposed to answer so that it would not jeopordize the case, none of this would've happened. Once the question is asked, the officer MUST answer, he answered as best he could without saying the guy had confessed. If there was a better way to say the truth without alluding to the fact the guy had confessed, then Officer Serrata's attorney should have shared that with him. Attorneys, contrary to poplular belief, do not know it all. And it is they who often jeopardize their own case!

Aguirre is a crooked as they come and that city just breeds corruption. The PD was not the problem, just the people who ran it.

Serrata should be on the Brady list for officers who lie under oath.


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