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L.A. Now Live: Discuss Cudahy bribery charges

June 25, 2012 |  8:10 am

Times reporters Jeff Gottlieb and Sam Allen will join City Editor Shelby Grad for a discussion about the latest corruption investigation into a city in southeast Los Angeles County. On Friday, three Cudahy city officials were arrested on charges they solicited and accepted bribes in exchange for approving a medical marijuana dispensary.

The chat is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday.

Federal agents arrested the Cudahy officials Friday morning, but documents released as part of the criminal complaint suggest that the alleged malfeasance is far more widespread. More than 130 pages of wiretapped conversations depict a city rife with corruption, as well as bribery so pervasive that it's practically expected. In addition, authorities are probing potential election fraud. They served a subpoena at City Hall last week, seeking all documents related to the 2007 and 2009 City Council elections.

For nearly three decades, corruption has been endemic in the area, Allen and Hector Becerra of The Times reported. A South Gate treasurer looted $20 million from the city. A former Lynwood mayor collected $6 million in a contracting scheme. Other Lynwood council members used city credit cards at strip clubs. And, of course, Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo and seven others there treated themselves to hefty compensation packages in a case that Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley called "corruption on steroids."

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