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City Atty. Hahn Seeks Grand Jury Probe of Irwindale Officials

September 25, 1987|KENNETH REICH and MARK ARAX | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles City Atty. James Hahn on Thursday asked the Los Angeles County Grand Jury to investigate Irwindale officials after The Times reported that they steered millions of dollars in city contracts to businesses in which they are either owners or executives.

In a letter to grand jury Foreman Manuel Gallegos, Hahn said: "The story . . . raises serious questions about the impartiality and integrity of the Irwindale city government and the way its Redevelopment Agency is run. Those questions had already been raised in connection with the incredible deal made with (Los Angeles Raiders team owner) Al Davis.

"Because these allegations reflect on the basic fundamental trust placed in government, I request that the Los Angeles County Grand Jury investigate the City of Irwindale and the Irwindale Redevelopment Agency."

Irwindale City Manager Charles Martin, who was quoted in The Times story Thursday, said the city had been investigated before and that no formal charges had resulted. He expressed confidence that the same would be the case in any new investigation.

Thursday night, the Irwindale City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the city officials and consultants named in the article.

City spokesman Xavier Hermosillo said: "We're an open book. Some members of the media are trying to make a whipping body out of this city, its council and its people."

Hermosillo said the city will formally respond to The Times article today at a 10 a.m. City Hall press conference.

"The L.A. Times article leaves a lot to be desired in terms of accuracy," Hermosillo said, adding that it was filled with "half sentences, half truths and quotes taken out of context."

Martin, the story said, has made $900,000 as a "project coordinator" for city bond deals. The story also reported that Irwindale's city engineer and city financial adviser have used their official positions to enrich businesses in which they have a substantial interest.

The story said Fred Lyte, a city Redevelopment Agency consultant who helped negotiate the Los Angeles Raiders stadium deal, appears to have violated a provision in his contract designed to avert conflict of interest problems. Lyte has been paid more than $4 million by the city since 1978. He stands to earn about $2 million in commissions on the Raiders deal.

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