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Alarcon responds to D.A. fraud investigation

January 15, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
An investigation of Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon centers on whether he lives in the district he represents. Friday, Alarcon spoke to Eyewitness News about the controversy.Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon now admits he hasn't spent a night in the house he calls his residence since late October. The councilman says that an intruder broke into his Panorama City home and caused extensive damage.

The Panorama City house is where Alarcon claims residence so he can register to vote in his council district.

Since then, Alarcon has been living in a Sun Valley house, owned by his wife. His wife also owns the Panorama City house. Alarcon's residency in Panorama City is the subject of a Los Angeles District Attorney's Office investigation.

The Panorama City house with the weed-filled yard is in Alarcon's city council district. There are few signs it's been inhabited recently. L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley is investigating whether it is voter fraud for Alarcon to claim it as his residence.

The home in Sun Valley is outside of Alarcon's district. Like the other house, it's owned by Alarcon's wife. There are signs someone lives here.

"We do stay in both, but I live in the Panorama City house," said Alarcon. "Frankly it's a very complex issue that the district attorney will learn more about."

Alarcon would not explain the complexities.

A next-door neighbor in Sun Valley said she sees Alarcon there.

The neighbors in Panorama City don't see Alarcon.

There's a daycare center next door, and workers there say they've never seen any indication that anybody has lived here in the last three years. Neither has the guy living in an motor home next door, or the people living across the street.

Serafin Lopez has been living in his RV in the street next to the Panorama City home for three months.

"I don't see nobody there," said Lopez.

Alarcon's dusty motor home is in the back yard of the Panorama City house. The fences are covered. A light apparently is on all the time in the house.

When asked how many nights a week he spends in the Panorama City home, Alarcon replied, "That is not the issue of law. The issue is permanent domicile. My permanent residence is Panorama City."

Cooley isn't talking about Alarcon.

Voter fraud is a felony.

Alarcon was unavailable Friday afternoon. Tuesday, the district attorney served search warrants after a complaint accused Alarcon of voter fraud. It's illegal to register using an address where a candidate does not live.