The president of the Compton Community College Board of Trustees has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting and accepting a $500 bribe in exchange for his favorable vote at a recent board meeting, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said Monday.
Carl E. Robinson Sr., 50, a longtime civic activist in Compton and Carson, was arrested by a district attorney's investigator Thursday in the parking lot of a Wilmington restaurant after he allegedly accepted a bribe he had requested, district attorney's spokesman Al Albergate said.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Ed Ferns said Monday he was still receiving reports from investigators and had not decided whether to file formal charges against Robinson, a U.S. Postal Service employee who lives in Carson.
Robinson, who is free on $3,000 bail, denied soliciting or accepting a bribe.
"I went to meet a gentlemen to accept a donation to my campaign," he said. "I'm up for reelection in November. It was just a case of entrapment."
The district attorney's investigation began about 10 days ago, after a man doing business with Compton Community College complained that Robinson had requested money in exchange for his vote on a matter before the board, Albergate said. The trustees, including Robinson, voted in the man's favor, the spokesman said.
Then, on Thursday, the man paid Robinson $500 at a midday meeting in Wilmington, after which Robinson was arrested, Albergate said.
Not a 'Sting'
"This was not a 'sting' operation where we lured the defendant into it," Albergate said. "The situation occurred due to (Robinson's) own activities and we happened to hook into it."
The maximum sentence for soliciting a bribe, a felony, is four years in prison, forfeiture of public office and disqualification from public office in the future, Ferns said.
Albergate and Ferns said they would not disclose other details of the case unless Robinson is formally charged.
Robinson, a college trustee since 1980 and board president for almost two years, is known as a "forceful personality," who has received "mixed reviews" as board president, Compton Community College spokesman Charles Cropsey said.
A former PTA and youth football league president in Compton, Robinson ran unsuccessfully for the Carson City Council in 1981 and 1984. He is a member of Carson's Citywide Advisory Committee, which recommends agencies to receive federal housing grants, Cropsey said.