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Credit Card Hearing in 3 Weeks : Martinez's Attorney Quits Over Unpaid Bill

January 24, 1986|a Times Staff Writer

Lawyers for San Diego City Councilman Uvaldo Martinez and his former chief aide have quit, just three weeks before a grand jury is to begin hearing testimony on the men's use of city credit cards.

William Grauer, a former federal prosecutor who Martinez hired soon after the first disclosure of his credit card problems, resigned because the councilman had built up a large unpaid legal bill, according to Paul Grasso, a spokesman for Martinez. A source familiar with the circumstances said Martinez owed more than $5,000.

"The councilman's expenses were accruing at a rate faster than he was able to raise money," Grasso said Thursday. He said Martinez hopes to raise enough money to rehire Grauer before the county grand jury convenes Feb. 11 to hear an anticipated 50 witnesses testify about Martinez's and Rudy Murillo's use of city credit cards.

Frank and Milchen, the San Diego law firm that had represented Murillo in connection with the investigation, also quit this week, attorney Howard Frank said. Both Frank and Murillo declined to say why the firm was no longer representing Murillo, who resigned from the councilman's staff last month, at Martinez's request.

Prosecutors say the grand jury investigation will focus on about $3,500 to $4,000 of the $9,500 in meals that Martinez and Murillo charged on their city credit cards in the year ended June 30. Two dozen people have told The Times they did not dine with Martinez on the dates he stated on expense reports, and others have said no city business was discussed at their meals with the councilman.

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