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No charges are filed against union leader

The district attorney finds insufficient evidence to prosecute Josif Kahraman, who was accused of stealing a laptop computer, and that the Engineers and Architects Assn. is a 'noncooperative' victim.

May 12, 2011|David Zahniser

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley has declined to file criminal charges against a union leader accused by his former bosses of stealing a laptop computer, authorities said Wednesday.

Police arrested Josif Kahraman, former executive director of the Engineers and Architects Assn., and his wife, Ani Kahraman, last week on suspicion of felony grand theft. He was arrested the same day he was placed on leave from his job. The union represents about 5,000 Los Angeles city employees.

Cooley spokeswoman Jane Robison said prosecutors had insufficient evidence to file charges and found that the union was a "noncooperative" victim. Specifically, the union's president would not speak directly with prosecutors and instead referred them to his lawyer, she said.

"This [outcome] is something we expected all along," said Lara Yeretsian, Kahraman's attorney. Yeretsian said her client tried to do what was best for the union and had no intention of depriving the group of its laptop.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, May 13, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 2 inches; 58 words Type of Material: Correction
Union investigation: An article in Thursday's LATExtra section about prosecutors' dropping charges against a union official accused of stealing a laptop computer incorrectly summarized a statement from Jane Robison, a spokesman for Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley's office. Robison said the president of the Engineers and Architects Assn. refused to speak to police investigators, not to the D.A.'s prosecutors.

The announcement comes amid continuing turmoil within the union, which has accused three of its governors of misconduct and put two of its labor representatives on leave.

Kahraman, 51, had overseen the union's day-to-day operations and served as its chief labor negotiator. His wife was an administrative volunteer with the organization, which represents city workers.

Cooley's office also declined to file charges against her, Robison said.

Oscar Hernandez, a clerk at the union, said the group had no one available to comment.

david.zahniser@latimes.com

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