Freedom of Information Is Supreme

Los Angeles

The dates at the beginnings of the listings are approximate. Access to the links may be restricted. Go here for a list of all names in this site.

1870: Mayor Joel Turner, eight members of the City Council and two members of a previous council, indicted by a grand jury for felony. “It is said that an issue of city scrip of over $50,000 has been made and that less than one fifth only is now accounted for, and that the books containing the stubs are not to be found.” Turner was convicted of malfeasance.

“An Augean Stable,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 1870, page 3

“Sparks From the Telegraph,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 30, 1870, page 1

1890: Justice of the Peace Walter C. Lockwood, charged along with State Assemblyman James M. Damron with forgery of a promissory note and discounting it at a bank. Lockwood was later accused of harboring and protecting Damron, a “fugitive from justice,” but a trial in that case resulted in a hung jury.  Both cases were eventually dismissed.

Lockwood was also charged with embezzling $300 from Los Angeles County in that he did not turn over to the county the bail money he had received from a defendant in his court,  but prosecution failed because of another hung jury. A judge dismissed the case, and Lockwood left the city before he could be rearrested.

“Charged With Forgery: Three Prominent Citizens Arrested Yesterday,” Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1890, page 2

“A Day of Sensations,” Los Angeles Times, September 24, 1890, page 2

“A Hung Jury: No Result Reached in the Lockwood Case,” Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1890, page 2

“Again In the Toils: Justice Lockwood Arrested for Embezzlement,” Los Angeles Times, October 14, 1890, page 3

“The Courts: Damron on Trial Before Judge Cheney,” Los Angeles Times, November 7, 1890, page 2

“Hung by One Man,” Los Angeles Times, January 28, 1891

“Discharged: Abrupt Termination of the Lockwood Case,” Los Angeles Times, April 12, 1891, page 3

“Ex-Justice Lockwood: How He Made His Escape From the City,” Los Angeles Times, November 9, 1891, page 3

1915 and before: Police Chief Charles E. Sebastian, acquitted of a charge that he had contributed to the delinquency of a 17-year-old girl.

“Chief of Police Sebastian and Mrs. Lillian Pratt Not Guilty,” Los Angeles  Times, May 15, 1915, page II-1

1919: Mayor Frederic T. Woodman, acquitted of a charge that he had accepted a bribe to “protect vice.”

“Woodman Cleared of Bribery After Disagreed Jury Gets Dinner,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 1919, page 1

“Mayor Woodman Is Acquitted,” Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1919, page II-1

1925: Charles E. Downs and John F. Fitzpatrick, City Council members, convicted of receiving a bribe to influence their votes on a contract.

“Ex-Councilmen Found Guilty,” Los Angeles Times, October 23, 1925, page A-1

1927: City Councilman Carl Ingold Jacobson, accused of entering a room for immoral purposes, hung jury. It was later determined that the councilman had been the victim of a frame-up.

Cecilia Rasmussen, “A Real-Life Film Noir, Except for the Ending,” January 31, 1999, page 3

1931–34: Former City Council members Roy L. Donley and James Stuart McKnight, acquitted of charges that they agreed to accept a $10,000 bribe to influence their votes on the council.

“McKnight and Donley Acquitted,” Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1934

1938–39: City Councilman Howard W. Davis, acquitted in 1939 of a charge he had accepted bribes to influence his actions as a public official. Exonerated after trial by a judge.

“Davis Wins Exoneration,” Los Angeles Times, March 31, 1939, page 1

1939–41: William Cormack, general manager of the city’s Civil Service Commission, indicted along with Joseph E. Shaw, brother of Mayor Frank L. Shaw, and prosecuted on 63 counts of conniving with a city employee to change grades on civil service examinations. Their convictions were overturned and finally dismissed in 1941.

“Charges Against Shaw and Cormack Quashed After Two-Year Legal Fight,” Los Angeles Times. June 12, 1941, page 3

1941–46: Abe M. Rosenfeld, former Los Angeles Harbor commissioner, charged with misappropriations of public money in connection with the purchases of land in the Wilmington district. Cleared by a judge who called the assertions “entirely and wholly unfounded.”

“City Harbor Probe Brings Indictments,” Los Angeles Times, January 8, 1946

“Rosenfeld and Osburn Acquitted in Port Deal,” Los Angeles Times, July 31, 1946, page A-1

1948–49: Police Chief C.B. Horrall, tried on a charge of perjury involving the investigation of the relationship between a police officer and the operator of a call girl ring. He was acquitted in a non-jury trial.

“Verdict in Horrall Trial Seen Today,” Los Angeles Times, September 29, 1949, page 2

“Officer Jackson Wins Dismissal of Charges,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 1949, page A-1

1950: City Council Member G. Vernon Bennett, pleaded guilty to a charge of disturbing the peace and was fined $100. Another charge, lewd vagrancy, was dismissed.

“Councilman Bennett Gets $100 Fine as Disturber,” Los Angeles Times, November 28, 1950, page A-3

1968–71: Four current and former city commissioners, all indicted in December 1968 in connection with a $12 million city World Trade Center contract by the Los Angeles Harbor Commission. They were Keith Smith, a member of the Human Relations Commission, whose construction firm was awarded the contract without competitive bidding; Harbor Commissioner George D. Watson, and former Harbor Commissioners Karl L. Rundberg and Robert Nicholas (Nick) Starr.

Rundberg and Starr were accused of receiving more than $6,000 worth of office furniture from Smith for a testing laboratory business. Watson was accused of one count of bribery “involving a complex stock transaction he had with Smith.” Also named was PIetro Di Carlo, former Harbor Commission president, who was found drowned in the harbor in November.

Starr’s conviction on the bribery charge involving the furniture was overturned by a Court of Appeals in 1970 on a 2–1 vote. Rundberg was also convicted, but he died in 1968, before the appeal could be heard. The two were acquitted on a charge they received a kickback from Smith. Watson was convicted of a conflict-of-interest charge. Smith was acquitted.

“Four Indictments,” Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1967, page 1

George Reasons, “Bribery Conviction of Starr Overturned,” Los Angeles Times, September 30, 1970, page 1

Gene Blake, “Ex-Harbor Official’s Conviction on Conflict of Interest Upheld,” Los Angeles Times, February 9. 1971, page E-1

1969–70: City Councilman Robert Stevenson, indicted in February 1970 on charges of conspiracy and bribery in the asserted proposed establishment of gambling dens in Chinatown the previous year. Authorities said a multimillion-dollar-a-year operation was planned. He and other defendants were freed when a jury could not reach a verdict; the trial judge declared a mistrial and dismissed the charges.

Ron Einstoss, “Councilman Indicted in Gaming,” Los Angeles Times, February 26, 1970, page 1

Doug Shuit, “Stevenson, 7 Others Freed as Bribery Case Ends in Mistrial,” Los Angeles Times, July 2, 1971, page 1

1968–1973: Thomas D. Shepard, City Council member from the west San Fernando Valley, convicted of bribery in a zone-change matter, served 15 months in prison. Former Recreation and Parks Commissioner Mel Pierson, indicted the same day, convicted of trying to get $25,000 from a golf pro seeking a contract to design a golf complex in the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area. Pierson’s prison term was set at three years, to end June 1, 1973, and before his release he was working a day shift as a credit manager in Beverly Hills under a work-furlough program.

Ron Einstoss, “Grand Jury Indicts Shepard, Pierson,” Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1968, page A-1

Jack Jones, “Bribery Conviction of Ex-City Official Upheld,” Los Angeles Times, April 22, 1972, page A-25

Erwin Baker, “Pierson Has Work-Furlough Job,” Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1973, page C-10

1972–74: City Councilman Louis R. Nowell, fined $500 and placed on a year’s probation after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor violation of a state Government Code section requiring reports on political contributions. He failed to properly report $19.700 raised at a dinner aboard the Queen Mary, listing the income as personal funds rather than income from supporters.

William Farr, “Nowell Fined, Gets Year’s Probation in Campaign Gift Case,” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 1974, page 1

1997: City Council member Mike Hernandez, pleaded guilty to felony possession of cocaine.

Todd S. Purdum, “A Politician’s Comeback May Take Him Only So Far,” The New York Times, October 29, 1997

2005: Councilman Martin Ludlow, convicted of using union workers and union money to help his election campaign.

“Ex-Councilman Gets 5 Years’ Probation,” Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2006

2010–12: Council member Richard Alarcon, indicted on 24 counts of perjury and voter fraud in stating his home was in Panorama City, inside Los Angeles City Council District 7, which he represents, when he actually lived elsewhere.

David Zahniser and Jack Leonard, “Alarcon, Wife Indicted in Voter Fraud,” Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2010

“Alarcón Indicted on Voter Fraud,” Los Angeles Daily News, September 26, 2011

2012: Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy dismissed the criminal case against Alarcon, but prosecutors  filed identical perjury and voter-fraud charges alleging he and his wife lived outside the district he represents and lied about his address.

“District Attorney Refiles Criminal Charges Against Richard Alarcon, Wife Over Residency,” CBS Los Angeles, May 3, 2012


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