LOS ANGELES—A former state lawmaker and La Jolla-based developer made his first court appearance today in connection with a case stemming from alleged embezzlement and misappropriation of millions of dollars, which was to be used to study whether solar Was the farm suitable or not? Land to be purchased by Udyog Nagar.
Former state Sen. Frank Hill (R-Whittier), 67, and William Burkett, 63, did not enter the arguments. They are both due to appear in a Downtown Los Angeles courtroom on October 27.
The two have been charged along with former city manager of the industry Paul Jule Phillips, 70, and attorney Anthony Bouja, 60. Phillips is set to be tried on Friday, while Booza’s trial date is pending.
According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, which first reported the allegations, Phillips, who made his first appearance last Friday in a case of misappropriation of public funds, is now the top administrator in the city of Bell. He was released after being booked on Sunday, prison records show.
Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is representing Phillips, told the newspaper that his client is “innocent and wrongly charged.”
Hill is charged with two counts of having a financial interest in a contract or purchase made in an official capacity and is free on bond.
Barkett has been charged with one count each of misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, money laundering and grand theft. He was arrested last Wednesday in San Diego County and was expected to be released on a $1 million bond after a Los Angeles judge found Tuesday that the source of the bail money was not from the alleged crimes.
Barkett’s lawyer, Bill Seki, told reporters outside the court that his client, a lifelong Californian, has a medical condition and is aware that he is being investigated.
“The most important thing is that he wants to fight here to prove his innocence,” the defense lawyer said.
Bouza has been charged with one count of misappropriation of public funds and eight counts of having a financial interest in a contract or purchase made in an official capacity. According to prison records, he was released on bail last Wednesday, about four hours after he was arrested.
“Public corruption erodes the confidence of our citizens and hinders progress. There’s no place for it in Los Angeles County,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement last week announcing the charges, which were filed Aug.
The City of Industry entered into a land lease agreement between 2016 and 2018 with San Gabriel Valley Water & Power LLC (SGVWP) – which was owned by Barkett – to investigate a potential solar farm and some costs upfront. which were to be repaid if construction began.
According to the District Attorney’s office, Phillips and Booza, a lawyer hired by the city and a private contractor who reportedly helped draft a settlement, handled the money.
According to prosecutors, about $20 million in public money was allegedly sent to an account controlled by Barkett at the time, with some money given to other vendors and about $8.3 million reportedly spent on personal items.
According to the district attorney’s office, Bouza and Hill are accused of having a financial conflict of interest when they allegedly drafted or influenced a contract with the city, which said the matter was under investigation.
In a statement obtained by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Mayor Cory Moss said, “Over the years, the city has alleged that SGVWP and related parties submitted false and fraudulent invoices to the city for work that was never done to me. It is hoped that the matter will proceed swiftly and those responsible for this misuse of taxpayers’ money will be brought to justice.
The newspaper reported that a civil case brought by the city – representing former Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackas Hill – is still pending. Rackacas is also representing Hill in the criminal case.
Hill served 46 months in prison for his 1994 conviction on federal extortion and money laundering charges stemming from a $2,500 payment taken from federal undercover agents in an FBI sting operation.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times