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Community Digest

Huntington Park : City Will Continue to Pay Legal Fees in Casino Probe

July 25, 1991

The City Council has voted 3 to 2 to continue to pay for lawyers to represent two of its members in connection with an investigation of the Huntington Park Casino.

So far, the city has paid about $17,000 in attorney's fees for Councilman Thomas E. Jackson, and $1,300 in legal fees for Mayor Jack W. Parks, city officials said.

The Sheriff's Department and district attorney's office are investigating allegations of profit-skimming and other improprieties at the casino. The casino, which is on city-owned land, paid Huntington Park about $350,000 in lease payments last year.

No one has been charged in the investigation. The city officials said they are innocent of any wrongdoing.

Last April, sheriff's deputies and investigators from the district attorney's office searched and seized records from the officials' homes and offices. A week later, the council voted to pay for lawyers, if needed, for Councilmen Jackson, Parks and William P. Cunningham.

The council also has authorized a city-paid lawyer for former Councilman Jim Roberts, whose home and business also were searched. Roberts lost his council seat in the city's April, 1990, election.

The city has not paid any attorney's fees on behalf of Cunningham or Roberts, officials said.

The council's vote on July 15 was required because the City Council initially put a three-month limit on the city-subsidized lawyers to allow for re-evaluation. Monday's vote continues the representation until the case is resolved.

Council members Luis Hernandez and Raul Perez voted against providing the legal assistance. Hernandez said the city should not pay for a councilman's defense in a criminal investigation. Perez wanted to impose another 90-day limit.

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