Los Angeles County district attorney's investigators have been conducting an inquiry to determine whether Irwindale officials have violated the law by awarding millions of dollars in city contracts to private businesses which the officials either own or have substantial interests in, two Irwindale spokesmen said Wednesday.
Xavier Hermosillo, official spokesman for Irwindale, and Fred Lyte, the city's redevelopment consultant, said that investigators have interviewed numerous city officials, including the mayor and city manager, about conflict-of-interest questions raised in a Times article on Sept. 24.
Hermosillo and Lyte quoted the investigators--Raul Gutierrez and Edward Feldman--as telling them that Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner felt under pressure from Los Angeles political leaders to bring charges against Irwindale officials who recently have been active in the move to bring the Los Angeles Raiders to Irwindale.
The district attorney's office late Wednesday would not confirm that an investigation of the sort described by Hermosillo and Lyte was under way.
But Feldman said: "I can categorically deny that any such comment (about city pressure on Reiner) was made by us to anyone."
Hermosillo and Lyte were Irwindale's chief negotiators in the deal to bring the Raiders to the city, and Lyte has been instrumental in recruiting many industrial firms to move there. He stands to get a fee in excess of $2 million if the Raider deal goes through.
Lyte and Hermosillo talked about the district attorney's investigation while they waited for a Superior Court hearing on Irwindale's request that a preliminary injunction holding up the deal be lifted. Later, Judge Ricardo Torres refused to lift the injunction.
In addition to talking about the work of the district attorney's investigators, the two Irwindale spokesmen also said that the Los Angeles County Grand Jury has requested that certain city audit records be produced for its inspection.
Lyte said he is confident that when Gutierrez and Feldman are finished with their interviews they will conclude there have been no legal violations and that no charges will be filed.
Has Been Interviewed
Lyte said he had recently been interviewed by the two investigators himself.
"They were very friendly," he said. "I enjoyed it. They said, 'You can have a lawyer present.' I said, 'I don't want a lawyer,' and I answered all their questions."
Hermosillo said: "The district attorney doesn't go after something he can't win. So there's nothing for them here."
He said the interviews have been going on three to four weeks and that among those interviewed have been City Treasurer Abraham DeDios and City Engineer Carlos Alvarado. The Times said that both men had benefited from contracts that had been awarded to firms in which they had an interest.