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Man Held in Alleged Bribery

A designer is accused of giving a Westminster planner cash to speed a project's approval.

April 28, 2006|Kelly-Anne Suarez | Times Staff Writer

A 63-year-old Signal Hill building designer has been charged with bribery for allegedly giving a Westminster city planner an envelope stuffed with cash to expedite the approval of a shopping center expansion, police said.

Trung Hieu Vo was arrested Wednesday and faces a felony count of bribing a public official with an amount exceeding $400, Westminster police spokesman Lt. Bill Lewis said. The exact amount was not disclosed.

Vo met with planner Sam Rake about two weeks ago to discuss the remodeling and expansion of a shopping center on the southeast corner of Brookhurst Street and McFadden Avenue, Lewis said. Vo allegedly handed Rake a sealed envelope containing currency -- what he called "additional information" -- in an apparent attempt to speed the project's approval, police said.

Rake reported the incident to his supervisor, who contacted authorities, police said. Rake declined to comment Thursday.

Vo, who received his design training in Vietnam, has worked on residential and commercial projects in Garden Grove, Huntington Beach and Santa Ana in recent years, Lewis said.

Vo is being held in the Orange County Jail on $25,000 bond. If convicted, he could face two to four years in prison.

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