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D.A. Clears Councilman After Interest-Conflict Investigation

September 21, 1986

Hawthorne Councilman Steve Andersen will not be prosecuted, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced after concluding a conflict-of-interest investigation into Andersen's purchase of a mobile home park in a city redevelopment area.

State law prohibits city council members from acquiring any interest in such areas.

The councilman, a real estate lawyer, said he was not aware that the Caravan Travel Lodge was in a redevelopment area when he bought the property July 11 and learned it only when informed by city officials.

Andersen disclosed his purchase at a special meeting of the City Council on Aug. 2 and said then that he would sell his interest to his partner, attorney Jim Sloey.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Candace Beason cited Andersen's disclosure and intention to sell the property as a reason for not prosecuting the councilman.

"Criminal charges are not warranted at this time," she wrote in a letter sent to the councilman last week.

In the letter, Beason cited the state law and noted that the penalty for violating the provision is removal from office.

"Where . . . a public official publicly discloses his interest and promises to divest, removal seems inappropriate," she wrote.

She also wrote that Andersen, as a council member, did not vote or take any other action affecting the property during the brief period that he held an interest in it.

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