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Judge Sentences Ex-Councilman to 3 Years' Probation

Martin Ludlow also must pay $45,000 in fines and costs for illegally conspiring to divert union funds to his election campaign.

April 22, 2006|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

A judge sentenced former Los Angeles City Councilman Martin Ludlow on Friday to three years' probation and $45,000 in fines and costs for conspiring to illegally divert school employees union funds to his 2003 election campaign.

Ludlow escaped jail time by agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors and pleading guilty on March 8 to a felony count of conspiring to violate the city's $500 limit on campaign contributions and two misdemeanor counts.

In sentencing Ludlow, Superior Court Judge David Horwitz also banned him from holding elected office for four years.

"The conduct he engaged in to begin with was wholly inappropriate, so that the penalty of removing him from public life at least for some time is appropriate," said prosecutor Max Huntsman.

Ludlow was accompanied to court by his wife, Kimberly, and told reporters outside the courthouse that he was relieved to resolve part of the case.

"Today is another important step forward in me taking full responsibility for the judgment errors that I made during my primary election," Ludlow said. "Since this investigation began, I have continued to cooperate with authorities. I'm looking forward to getting the entire matter behind me and moving forward with my life."

Ludlow admitted conspiring with the head of the Service Employees International Union, Local 99, to use more than $36,000 in union funds to pay six people. They were put on the union payroll but actually worked on Ludlow's City Council election campaign.

The former councilman has also pleaded guilty to federal charges that he participated in an embezzlement conspiracy to have Local 99 spend $36,492 on the six workers and to cover cellphone, photocopying and office supply charges.

As part of the federal deal, Ludlow faces paying $36,492 in restitution and being barred from any leadership position in a union for 13 years. Ludlow has also agreed to pay $105,000 in fines to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission after admitting he violated city campaign finance laws.

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