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Cudahy's former mayor says he took bribe from medical marijuana clinic out of greed

Cudahy city website

Former Cudahy Mayor David Silva pleaded guilty today to extortion and bribery. He told reporters that accepting a $5,000 bribe was a mistake made out of greed.

The former mayor of Cudahy, David Silva, pleaded guilty today to extortion and bribery, and outside of the federal courthouse, he told reporters his motivation was greed.

Silva, 61, will be back in court on Nov. 5 for sentencing. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for accepting a $5,000 bribe from the owner of a medical marijuana clinic. The pot shop owner was also an FBI informant.

In his plea agreement with the federal government, Silva described accepting a $50,000 bribe from a developer who received city-owned land at a discounted price. He also accepted other bribes in exchange for his approval on a commercial development.

“Money. It’s greed I guess,” Silva said outside of the courthouse when asked why he accepted the bribes. “That’s what it was — just a stupid mistake.”

An attorney for Silva said the Vietnam veteran is accepting responsibility because he made a mistake. 

“Mr. Silva has had a very distinguished career over 20 years serving on the City Council and as mayor for the people of Cudahy. He has an overwhelming amount of support from these former constituents that I think is going to bode very well for him at the time of sentencing,” said attorney Patrick Aguirre.

Former Cudahy Councilman Osvaldo Conde also pleaded guilty to extortion and bribery for accepting $7,000 from the same FBI informant. His sentencing is set for Nov. 13. He also faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. 

Conde, who was accompanied to court by his adult son, declined to speak to reporters.

Earlier this week, the former head of Cudahy’s Code Enforcement, Angel Perales, pleaded guilty to the same charges for accepting a $5,000 bribe. He is expected to be back in court on Oct. 22.

In his plea agreement, Perales described tampering with the city’s 2007 and 2009 elections by registering voters who did not live in Cudahy. He and other officials also intercepted absentee ballots and tossed the ones that were in favor of their opponents. Perales was also responsible for obtaining prescription drugs and distributing them within City Hall.

Neither Silva nor Perales will be charged with the crimes they admitted to in their plea agreements.

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