2 former Cudahy officials to be sentenced in $17,000 bribery case
Two former officials in the city of Cudahy in southeast Los Angeles County will be sentenced in federal court Monday for taking a total of $17,000 in bribes from a man who wanted to open a medical marijuana dispensary.
The cases against former Mayor David Silva and Angel Perales, who held a number of jobs with the city, have led to a continuing federal investigation into widespread corruption in Cudahy’s city government. Previously released federal documents portray Cudahy as a place where bribes were routine, elections were fixed on orders from longtime city manager George Perez, city workers served as gun-toting bodyguards and the Perez sent underlings out to get him illegal pain pills.
Documents recently filed by Silva and Perales provide more details into the alleged corruption. Making a case for a lighter sentence for his client, Perales' attorney, Carlos L. Juarez, wrote, “As Perez’s sidekick and driver, he was asked to pick up bribes from local businessmen and was compensated with a small percentage cut.”
In a letter to the court in support of Silva, former city employee Gerardo Vallejo says he took drugs with Perez in the city manager’s office. “We would be in his office so high, a council member would be knocking on the door, we would have the lights off, and wait for them to leave, often telling the council members we were in a meeting outside of city hall, this went daily for years.”
Perez's attorney, Stanley L. Friedman, has said his client denies any wrongdoing.
Perez, who appears to be at the center of the corruption investigation, served as Cudahy's city manager for more than a decade. He started as a city janitor, was elected to the council and then appointed city manager, even though he had no college degree and little administrative experience.
Former Cudahy council member Osvaldo Conde, who also pleaded guilty to bribery and extortion, will be sentenced at a later date.
-- Jeff Gottlieb
Photo: Former Cudahy city official Angel Perales leaves court in July 2012. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times