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U.S. Probes Trash Pickup Deal

Agents have subpoenaed Compton's city clerk, ordering him to produce documents on a no-bid contract worth more than $100 million.

June 11, 2003|Ted Rohrlich | Times Staff Writer

Federal agents are investigating Compton's decisions to turn over its nascent city-owned trash hauling service to a friend of the former mayor, court papers show.

Agents served a grand jury subpoena late last week on the Compton city clerk, ordering him to produce official documents related to decisions to allow Michael Aloyan to obtain a no-bid contract to run the trash operation.

The trash hauling contract is expected to yield more than $100 million in gross revenues over 15 years.

Aloyan paid a $2-million franchise fee for the right to use new garbage trucks and bins that the city had paid for with $6 million in bonds. He agreed to repay principal and interest on the bonds.

Aloyan's deal took shape during the administration of his longtime friend, former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley.

The City Council voted in 2000 to hire Aloyan as a consultant to set up and run a city sanitation department. Council members subsequently voted to abandon that effort and award a trash hauling contract to Aloyan's private firm, Hub City Solid Waste.

Neither Aloyan nor his attorney, Richard Haft, returned phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

The Times reported last year that two private garbage haulers who lost Compton business to Aloyan claim that Aloyan offered to help them retain the business for payments of at least $1 million apiece.

In another case, Aloyan pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing on a federal charge that he offered a $1.5-million bribe to a City Council member in neighboring Carson in the hopes of obtaining a trash hauling contract there.

As an employee of Murcole Inc., which held a Compton waste hauling contract in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he testified under a grant of immunity in federal court in 1995 that he served as a go-between for Murcole's secret payoffs to another local politician.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Alicia Villareal, whose name appears on the grand jury subpoena, declined to comment.

Bradley has said that his decisions were made in the best interests of the city.

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