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Santa Fe Springs councilman resigns after bribery allegation

June 29, 2012 | 11:08 am

Joseph Serrano Sr.Joseph Serrano Sr., the Santa Fe Springs councilman who agreed to plead guilty to taking bribes from a medical marijuana dispensary owner, announced his resignation from the council, city officials said.

City Clerk Anita Jimenez confirmed that Serrano had announced his plans to resign effective July 31. She was unsure why Serrano had chosen that date.

Serrano made the announcement at a City Council meeting Thursday night. City officials and Serrano's attorney did not have a copy of the statement immediately available.

DOCUMENT: Read the plea agreement

Santa Fe Springs Mayor Bill Rounds said Serrano had told the public that "his actions were his and his alone."

"I admire Joe for taking full responsibility for his actions," he said.

In a federal plea agreement released Thursday, Serrano admitted to taking $11,500 in payments from a dispensary owner who served as a confidential informant for the FBI in exchange for promises that Serrano would pull strings to help the shop stay open.

Three current and former city officials in Cudahy were arrested a week ago in connection with similar circumstances.

City officials in Santa Fe Springs have insisted that the corruption in that city was limited to Serrano.

"There's a stark contrast between the events that occurred in Cudahy and the events that appeared to have happened here, even though it involves similar dynamics," Santa Fe Springs City Manager Thaddeus McCormack told The Times. "There's absolutely no involvement of any other council member or anybody else affiliated with the city in this matter." 

Serrano is set to appear in court July 12.


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-- Abby Sewell and Ruben Vives

Photo: Joseph Serrano Sr. Credit: Ruben Vives / Los Angeles Times