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Downey : City to Pay Mayor's Fees

July 31, 1986

After several closed sessions, the City Council voted to pay for Mayor James Santangelo's legal fees while he fights a conflict-of-interest charge filed against him three weeks ago by the district attorney's office.

The charge stems from Santangelo's 1984 vote to change the boundaries of a downtown redevelopment project in which he owned property.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Herbert Lapin, who filed the charges, said last week that the city may have violated the state open-meeting law by voting on the issue in closed session. Lapin now said that charges against the city will not be filed.

"It is my feeling that they should have held a public hearing on the issue, but from a criminal standpoint I have no place to go," Lapin said.

City Atty. Carl Newton said that under state law, the city can pay for Santangelo's legal fees if "the case involves actions relating to the performance of his duties as mayor."

Newton added that Santangelo did not participate in the vote.

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