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L.A. County D.A. opens inquiry into Montebello councilman

August 21, 2012 |  7:33 pm

MontebelloThe Los Angeles County district attorney's office has launched an inquiry into the campaign finances of Montebello Councilman Jack Hadjinian.

Prosecutors said they’re looking at possible wrongdoing related to campaign contributions, but warned there was no evidence yet that a crime had been committed.    

Los Cerritos Community Newspaper was the first to report on the inquiry.  

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Hadjinian, a longtime resident of Montebello, said he doesn’t think he violated any laws, but was “willing to cooperate with the investigation.”  

David Demerjian, head deputy of the district attorney’s public integrity division, acknowledged that the inquiry began with information discovered during an ongoing criminal probe into allegations that L.A. County Assessor John Noguez and his staff had given tax cuts to political supporters.

Noguez has denied any wrongdoing.    

Prosecutors have identified Ramin Salari, a well-connected businessman and political fundraiser, as one of the targets in that probe. Salari has denied any wrongdoing.

"If the guy gives to the Red Cross is the D.A. going to investigate them next?" Salari's attorney, Mark Werksman, said. 

Hadjinian said he received $250 from Noguez and $5,000 from Salari when he was running for the Montebello City Council in 2011.  The L.A. Weekly  first reported on Salari's contribution.

At the time, Hadjinian had been serving on a three-member Assessment Appeals Board panel, sometimes sitting in on appeal hearings for Salari. He said he resigned in February.   

Hadjinian said he never received the contribution from his campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee.   

Durkee, once a go-to campaign treasurer for Democratic candidates in California, is facing more than 11 years in state prison for stealing more than $7 million in political funds from at least 50 clients, including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.  

“If someone tried to write a story that said it helped my campaign, it didn’t because I didn’t use it,” Hadjinian said. “Once I get the money, I’m willing to give it back or give it to charity.”  


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--Ruben Vives    

Photo: Montebello Councilman Jack Hadjinian Credit: City of Montebello