Southern California breaking news and trends

Former Cudahy mayor, acting city manager to plead guility to federal extortion, bribery charges (updated)

Cudahy city website

Former Cudahy Mayor David Silva will plead guilty to federal extortion and bribery charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Two former Cudahy city leaders agreed today to plead guilty to federal extortion and bribery charges that stem from allegations they took cash bribes from the owner of a medical marijuana store. 

In plea agreements provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, former Mayor David Silva, 61, and former acting city manager Angel Perales, 43, detail voter fraud and bribery in the town of 25,000 people.

Silva admitted to accepting bribes from multiple people, including $50,000 from a developer who wanted to buy city-owned land, according to the statement in his plea agreement. In exchange for the bribe, the developer’s deal would be discounted by $800,000.

Silva resigned from office July 3. 

Cudahy’s former acting city manager, Angel Perales, 43, admitted to participating in election fraud during the 2007 municipal election, according to his statement to authorities. Perales, who also ran Code Enforcement, and other city officials would routinely toss out absentee ballots cast for their opponents. The same routine was repeated in 2009, according to authorities. Prior to 2007, Perales had family members who did not live in Cudahy register to vote in the city’s election.

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LASD recalling 200 official-looking badges and identification cards

Sheriff Badge cudahy

Photo via U.S. attorney's office

The U.S. attorney's office released this photo it says was taken at a Cudahy night club showing an unidentified woman wearing Councilman Osvaldo Conde's sheriff's badge as she holds his gun in one hand and his bodyguard's in another. Conde was one of three Cudahy officials arrested last month on bribery charges.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is recalling about 200 official-looking badges and ID cards that were distributed to local politicians.

The faux credentials, handed over to people without law enforcement responsibilites, have the potential for abuse, say critics, who believe the items may have been rewards for political contributions.

Sheriff Lee Baca's decision to round up the badges comes only weeks after the FBI arrested three Cudahy officials on bribery charges.

The L.A. Times reports the move to recall was prompted by the release of a photograph showing a woman in Cudahy nightclub with two handguns, and wearing a councilman's badge.

LASD spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Times the timing is a coincidence, and said a 2007 state attorney general's warning is what prompted the recall.

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According to wiretaps, Cudahy politicians thought they could control elections

Cudahy city website

Cudahy mayor David Silva's headshot from the Cudahy city website.

The L.A. Times reports Wednesday on wiretap transcripts that show Cudahy officials, currently under investigation by the FBI, apparently discussing tampering with local elections.

Cudahy Councilman Osvaldo Conde, Mayor David Silva, and Head of Parks & Recreation Angel Perales were arrested June 22 on accusations they took bribes in exchange for supporting the opening of a medical marijuana store in Cudahy.

Now, it seems the FBI has expanded the probe to look at allegations of elections fraud. 

Transcripts obtained by the Times quote Perales bragging about delivering "60, 70 people" who could determine the outcome of Conde's election. 

Two political opponents of Conde are also quoted as saying they ran for council to oust the political machine that had developed in Cudahy, and that when they decided to run, bad things started happening. Bricks and rocks were thrown at Luis Garcia's home. A security camera installed after he became nervous about his safety allegedly shows a person heaving a Molotov cocktail at his house, which bounced and landed in Garcia's truck. Both men lost their races.

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Cudahy mayor resigns following arrest in bribery scandal

ABC7 tweet on Cudahy

Screenshot via Twitter

The mayor of Cudahy resigned today, almost two weeks after he was arrested by federal authorities for allegedly taking part in a bribery scheme to get $17,000 from a medical marijuana clinic owner. 

David Silva's resignation was announced at this afternoon's Cudahy City Council meeting, and was first reported by ABC7. 

Along with Silva, Cudahy Councilman Osvaldo Conde, 50, and Angel Perales, 43, who ran the Code Enforcement Division in Cudahy, were arrested June 22 for allegedly soliciting and accepting $17,000 in bribes. The three men met with an FBI informant -- the medical marijuana clinic owner -- in February to receive the money. The confidential informant secretly recorded conversations with Silva, Conde and Perales. 

Following his arrest, Silva was released on a $50,000 appearance bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 13.

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Three Cudahy officials indicted on bribery charges

Pile of money

Tracy O./Flickr Creative Commons

The L.A. Times is reporting that three Cudahy city officials -- Mayor David Silva, Councilman Osvaldo Conde and city employee Angel Perales -- have been indicted on federal bribery charges for soliciting and accepting $17,000 from an individual looking to open a medical marijuana shop.

FBI officials descended on the city Friday morning, according to the newspaper, however it was unclear if the men were taken into custody.

Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, confirmed with KPCC that three men had been indicted, saying further details were to follow as "law enforcement operations continue."

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