Two Cudahy officials agree to plead guilty to bribery, extortion
This post has been corrected. Please see note below.
Two of the three officials from the small southeastern Los Angeles County city of Cudahy who were arrested last month agreed to plead guilty Thursday to bribery and extortion.
Former Mayor David Silva and Angel Perales, who served as head of code enforcement, interim city manager and head of parks and recreation, were arrested June 22 along with Councilman Osvaldo Conde.
Their arrests were part of a federal investigation into corruption in Cudahy. The three are accused of taking a total of $17,000 in bribes from an FBI informant who wanted to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Cudahy.
In exchange for the pleas by Silva and Perales, authorities agreed not to prosecute the men for other corruption offenses in Cudahy as long as they admit to them.
Federal authorities are also investigating election fraud, and a federal grand jury has subpoenaed 20 boxes of city documents pertaining to the 2007 and 2009 council elections.
In a transcript of secretly recorded conversations with the informant, Perales talks about fixing elections.
The Times found that four of Perales relatives in 2009 registered to vote at a Cudahy house even though they live 12 miles away in El Sereno.
In the conversations, Perales also refers to a crooked towing company and a corrupt Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy. Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department, said investigators looked into the allegation and found it a "fabrication."
[For the record, 1:36 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the city officials had accepted $17 million in bribes. It was $17,000.]
-- Jeff Gottlieb
Photo: Community activist Jorge Reyes, of Cudahy, holds a sign while listening to City Council members as residents rally at City Hall this month. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times