Congratulations to L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley...oh wait, once again he didn't have anything to do with this, cause it isn't the Mayberry-like City of Bell. Gotta leave the REAL stuff to the REAL law enforcement BIG BOYS!
A second Los Angeles city building inspector caught up in a federal probe of bribery in the building department formally admitted his guilt Monday.
Hugo Joel Gonzalez, 49, of Eagle Rock pleaded guilty to a charge of soliciting and accepting bribes.
Over the course of an FBI investigation that spanned several months last year, Gonzalez accepted $9,000 in cash and wire transfers to his bank account from an FBI informant and an undercover agent. (DOH!)
In exchange, he approved permits for properties he had never inspected and, in some cases, never set foot on, according to court documents. (Was just trying to save the environment by cutting back on the carbon his vehicle would have emitted on the drive over to inspect the property. PLUS, he was merely trying to save the city gas money! APPEAL IT, BRO!)
In at least one case, he asked for $500 to pay "tribute" to another inspector so he could inspect a property outside his area of responsibility, along with a $2,000 bribe for himself. (How shady!...his bribe was bigger than the guy he was taking a "tribute" bribe for. THE NERVE!)
Another building inspector who was arrested as a result of the same investigation, Raoul Germain, 60, of Altadena entered a guilty plea to the same charge earlier this month.
Both inspectors have been fired. (I don't know...seems kinda rash. Hope they aren't jumping to conclusions. I know they just got busted by FBI, but still hasn't been an "internal investigation" by the Human Resources Department.)
The FBI informant, who worked for a residential developer with many projects in South Los Angeles, called the problem of bribery in the building department "systemic," according to an affidavit filed in the case. (MANY PROJECTS must mean MANY MORE BRIBE TAKERS...and that's only SOUTH Los Angeles. Hear some other pockets of town are shady, too. Like the REST of it.)
The Department of Building and Safety has received three subpoenas from a federal grand jury, including one seeking personnel records for at least 11 current and former employees. (Price Is Right Sounder: Whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp....WHOOOOOOOMP!) OH, this should be fun to watch. A parade of inspectors marching to the courthouse to plead, "GUILTY!" Hey wait a minute...wonder what ANTONIO VILLARAIOGSA HAS TO SAY ABOUT THIS!?!?! I'M SURE HE COULDN'T HAVE KNOW A THING, SINCE HE'S NEVER IN TOWN.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Joe Akrotirianakis declined to comment on whether more arrests will be coming. (If there weren't, why wouldn't he just say, "no." And I don't think the FBI gets involved over two guys taking bribes.)
I think the Los Angeles County Supervisors are going to have to end up taking over L.A. City. John Perez can make a motion in the Assembly, or something. It's going to be taken away from the current people running it. There won't be anyone left. They're all going to be in prison, a furlough day or early retirement.