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Montebello solves money mystery: missing funds were transferred as forgivable loan to developer

March 10, 2011 | 10:45 pm

Montebello city officials said Thursday night that they have solved the mystery of where $1 million from an "off-the-books" city bank account went when it was wired out of Union Bank a decade ago: to developer Henry Attina, who received the money as a forgivable loan to develop a restaurant in the Montebello Town Square.

The Union Bank account and a second "off-the-books" account at Banco Popular were discovered earlier this year as city officials grappled with a budget deficit that some fear could push the city toward bankruptcy.

City officials could not explain why the accounts were not on the city's general ledger, nor could they fully account for the history of the funds.

In a press release issued Thursday, officials said they have traced the Union Bank money to a 1999 agreement between the city's redevelopment agency and Attina to build an "upscale restaurant" similar to a Hard Rock Cafe. The restaurant is now an Applebee’s.

"To date, I have not found any illegalities involved in this case," Interim City Manager Peter Cosentini wrote. He added that city officials have not yet finished their review of the development agreements.

RELATED:

Montebello officials find 2nd off-the-books bank account

Montebello investigates why nearly $1 million is missing from city bank account

Prosecutors probing missing money from Montebello bank accounts

-- Jessica Garrison

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