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2 Men Get Probation in Bribery Case

The former executives of a waste hauling firm aided and abetted a scheme to get Carson council members to OK a $60-million pact.

September 30, 2003|David Rosenzweig | Times Staff Writer

Two former employees of Browning Ferris Industries were sentenced to one year of probation Monday for aiding and abetting a scheme to bribe members of the Carson City Council in return for the award of a $60-million contract for hauling municipal waste.

Douglas Allyn Moore, 39, of La Palma, a onetime general manager of BFI, and David Duane Robinson, 43, of Inglewood, a former sales representative for the company, received leniency for cooperating with federal authorities.

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said the two defendants had provided substantial assistance to investigators and were among the least culpable of the 10 people indicted in the wide-ranging corruption case.

The other eight also have pleaded guilty to various charges and are awaiting sentencing. They are: former Carson mayors Daryl Sweeney, 46, and Pete Fajardo, 45; former City Council members Manuel Ontal, 39, and Raunda Frank, 40; Sweeney's personal attorney, Robert Dennis Pryce, 53, of Tarzana; Pryce's daughter, Kelly Walecki, 33, of Carlsbad; Michael Aloyan, 42, owner of Hub City Disposal in Compton; and Garland Hardeman, 46, a consultant and former Inglewood city councilman.

The bribery schemes were orchestrated by Sweeney, who was first elected to the council in 1997 and became mayor in 2001.

The biggest bribe involved an agreement by the two BFI officials to pay nearly $600,000 in "consulting fees" to Pryce in installments to secure the lucrative 10-year contract. The money was to be shared by Pryce, Sweeney, Frank and Ontal.

Unknown to the plotters, Ontal was working at that time as an FBI informant, having admitted his role in another municipal bribery scheme.

In February 2002, Sweeney, Frank and Ontal cast a majority vote to award the contract to BFI, even though it was the highest bidder. The low bidder, Waste Management Inc., had balked at paying a bribe.

Afterward, the three council members received the first two of what were to be 36 cash payments. The contract was rescinded by the Carson City Council after indictments were returned two months later.

Moore and Robinson were the only BFI employees indicted in the case. The company, a subsidiary of Allied Waste of Scottsdale, Ariz., has cooperated with the FBI, according to prosecutors.

Outside the courtroom Monday, Assistant U.S. Atty. John Hueston said Moore and Robinson had provided information about the potential involvement of others at BFI, but he declined to elaborate.

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