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D.A. investigating whether former Cudahy chief gave himself raises

Perez

The Los Angeles County district attorney has begun investigating whether the former city manager of Cudahy gave himself illegal cost-of-living raises meant only for rank-and-file employees in the small, working-class city.

David Demerjian, head of the Public Integrity Division, said he has opened what is officially called an “inquiry” into allegations of misappropriation of public funds by George Perez.

The district attorney does not refer to an open case as an investigation until the office has evidence a crime was committed.

The inquiry comes after The Times reported last week that in addition to a contract that guaranteed him a generous 8% annual raise, Perez for many years received additional cost-of-living increases of 2% to 3.5%. Perez’s contract also guaranteed him 12 weeks of vacation and sick leave.

He was fired in 2011 after 11 years on the job. Council members have never provided an explanation.

Perez has long been a controversial figure in Cudahy, where he rose from being a city janitor to an elected council member in 1994.

He had no administrative experience or college degree when his colleagues appointed him city manager six years later. The district attorney looked into Perez's hiring, but the matter was later dropped.

There is no record that the City Council approved Perez's cost-of-living increases, according to Hector Rodriguez, Cudahy's current city manager.

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--Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: Then-City Manager George Perez stands on stairs on one of Cudahy's many apartment complexes. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.

 

 
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