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Councilman Accused of Conflict Submits Letter on Landholdings

September 21, 1986|JESSE KATZ | Times Staff Writer

SOUTH PASADENA — City Councilman Robert Wagner, who has been accused by Mayor Lee D. Prentiss of lying about his financial ties to a shopping center next to the city's only redevelopment project, read a letter from his attorney at a council meeting last week, stating that the property is owned by Wagner's adult children.

Prentiss, who sat with his eyes closed and hands pressed together while Wagner read the statment, said he would wait until the next council meeting Oct. 1 to decide on any action to be taken.

Wagner resigned from the city's Redevelopment Agency on Sept. 3, conceding that he could have a conflict of interest in voting on decisions that affect the redevelopment project, despite having sold the Squires Square shopping center to his children in three installments beginning in 1977 and ending in 1978.

On the advice of an attorney with the state Fair Political Practices Commission, Wagner had been voluntarily abstaining from most agency votes since January.

At last week's meeting, Wagner told the council that the property is owned by his children but is leased back to him, part of a complicated real-estate deal for transferring land within a family.

In an interview earlier this month, Wagner said that he receives more than $100,000 a year in purchase payments for the property from Robmaric Trust, which is operated by his 31-year-old son, Richard, on behalf of all three children.

Prentiss, who has said that he believed Wagner owned the land or at least controlled it, stated at the meeting that the councilman had a conflict of interest and commended him for stepping down from the redevelopment agency.

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