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Angeles County | Community News File / Los Angeles

Hearing Delayed for Contractor Charged With Extortion

October 31, 1998

A Los Angeles Municipal Court judge Friday delayed the preliminary hearing for a San Marino contractor who faces charges that he tried to extort money from a former associate he believed cut him out of lucrative construction deals.

John A. Artukovich, 70, is accused of threatening to kill his former business partner, Michael L. Shank, 63, unless Shank paid him $8 million. He allegedly told Shank this month that an extremist paramilitary organization had been commissioned to kill him, sources said.

Artukovich has pleaded not guilty and is being held on $1-million bail on two felony counts of attempted extortion and one felony count of making terrorist threats. The San Marino contractor was arrested Oct. 16 after district attorney's investigators electronically eavesdropped on a conversation he had with Shank, sources said.

The preliminary hearing was postponed until Tuesday.

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