Former Mayor in Los Angeles County, 10 Others Charged in Corruption Scandal

February 5, 2021 Updated: February 5, 2021

A former mayor of the tiny Los Angeles County city of Maywood has been charged alongside 10 others in a “pay-to-play” public corruption case, District Attorney George Gascón announced Thursday.

Ramon Medina, 61, was charged in a 34-count criminal complaint that alleges widespread corruption, including soliciting and receiving bribes, misappropriation of public funds, and embezzlement over a three-year period.

Other defendants in the lawsuit include former City Manager Reuben Martinez and Planning Director David Mango.

The former mayor and councilmember was charged with soliciting bribes, conspiracy, embezzlement, failing to file campaign statements, grand theft, misappropriation of public funds, and other crimes.

Medina is accused of taking donations during his City Council campaign in 2015 from several co-defendants who wanted to gain favor and do business in the 1.1-square-mile city of about 26,000 residents.

Martinez, 57, and Mango, 48, are charged with multiple counts of theft, misuse of funds, embezzlement, and conspiracy. According to the complaint, the pair are accused of attempting to sell three properties intended for affordable housing to an individual for less than half of their fair-market value, for use as a 24/7 bingo hall.

Other allegations involve solicitation of bribes for the recall of a council member, use of public funds for construction projects on private properties, directing city staff to void parking tickets for friends, and having gamecocks and cockfighting paraphernalia.

“No one is above the law. Public officials should be working to benefit the people, not their own bank accounts,” Gascón said in a statement. “Pay-to-play politics have no place in Los Angeles County and we are all deserving of a clean government.”

Pedro Carrillo, who served as Maywood city manager between December 2015 and April 2016, said the charges are long overdue.

“I think myself and a lot of good people of Maywood have been waiting for this day for a long time, for years,” he said, the Los Angeles Times reported. “It’s disheartening for the community when five to six years have passed and they don’t see the justice system is doing right by them.”

“You don’t know how relieved I am. They put me through hell on that council—constantly under attack by their supporters, they tried to recall me seven times, but it was all worth it,” added Maywood City Councilman Eddie De La Riva. “It’s a victory for good government. It’s a good day for Maywood and the entire southeast.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.