• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

San Jacinto City Council members indicted

November 12, 2009 12:02:10 AM PST
Nine people were indicted Thursday in Riverside County Superior Court, including four San Jacinto City Council members. They now face charges of bribery and money-laundering.A stack of charges: 155 counts, including perjury, money-laundering, and bribery, among other charges. Thirty-two search warrants were served, and nine people were charged, including four out of the five San Jacinto City Council members.

Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco says this is a massive web of public corruption.

The allegations go back to 2006, and San Jacinto City Councilman Jim Ayres's run for State Assembly. Pacheco says a big-time developer by the name of Steven Holgate made massive campaign contributions to a variety of sources and people, including Ayres's wife and three of his fellow city council members: Mayor Dale Stubblefield, Vice Mayor John Mansperger, and Councilman Jim Potts.

Through those sources the D.A. alleges hundreds of thousands of dollars were illegally laundered back to Ayres for his 2006 campaign.

Thursday was a key point in an 18-month-long investigation that Pacheco says is far from over.

"Laws are useless unless they are enforced," said Pacheco. "Failure to enforce public integrity laws is a threat to democracy. The public has a right to be free from corrupt individuals and elected officials."

As for the city of San Jacinto, rocked by corruption allegations, with only one councilman free of charges, it's going to be difficult to move forward.

"It's truly unfortunate that their elected representatives were corrupted in such a way that would affect the integrity of the decisions they were making and the future of the citizens of San Jacinto," said Pacheco. "It's a good city with a lot of good folks there. They deserve better. You know, hopefully this case will assist them in finding better representatives."

And the district attorney says he's unaware of any public money being used in this alleged scandal. If convicted each of the defendants could get seven to 26 years behind bars.


Load Comments