STUDIO CITY—On Thursday, February 4, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that the former mayor of Maywood and 10 other individuals are being charged in a 34-count complaint alleging widespread corruption that includes receiving and soliciting bribes, misappropriation of public funds, and embezzlement over a three-year period.
“No one is above the law. Public officials should be working to benefit the people, not their own bank accounts,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Pay-to-play politics have no place in Los Angeles County and we are all deserving of a clean government.”
Ramon Medina, a former mayor and councilmember of Maywood, is being charged with one count of failure to report behested payments, two counts each of perjury under oath, misappropriation of public funds and grand theft, three counts each of conspiracy to commit a crime, failing to file campaign statements and embezzlement, and six counts of soliciting a bribe.
Medina is accused of receiving and seeking bribes from several of his co-defendants who sought to do business in Maywood. The city outsourced much of its services, such as engineering, legal services, park maintenance, and building inspections, primarily relying on third-party, private vendors.
Medina, along with former Building and Planning Director David Mango and City Manager Reuben Martinez, are being accused of trying to sell three redevelopment properties for less than half their fair market value. While the properties were supposed to be developed into affordable housing, the defendants sought a buyer who would build a 24/7 charitable bingo hall.
Allegedly, the three defendants promised potential buyers a portion of the revenues generated by the bingo hall. Medina is also being accused of soliciting bribes from one prospective buyer, co-defendant Paul Garcia, to recall a Maywood councilmember.
Between September 2016 and June 2018, the three defendants allegedly authorized contractor Felipe Velarde to complete construction projects for Medina’s friends using public funds. It is further alleged that the work included building driveways and handicap ramps on private properties, installing speed bumps on streets that did not meet industry standards, and repair work at Mango’s Studio City home.
In all, the city paid Velarde a total of $1.53 million. It is also alleged that Medina directed city employees to dismiss or void parking tickets that had been issued to his friends.
Medina and his son, Ramon Medina Jr. are also being accused of having more than 40 gamecocks and paraphernalia used for cockfighting. This case is currently under investigation by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.