Cudahy Candidate Who Lost Feels Vindicated by Allegations of Election Fraud - NBC Southern California
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Cudahy Candidate Who Lost Feels Vindicated by Allegations of Election Fraud

After allegations of election fraud surfaced in court documents, a candidate who narrowly lost a council election remembers the 2007 contest

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    After allegations of election fraud surfaced in court documents, Luis Garcia, who narrowly lost a council election, remembers the 2007 contest. Ana Garcia reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 13, 2012. (Published Friday, July 13, 2012)

    Luis Garcia says the authorities did not believe him when he said someone was trying to keep him from running for a Cudahy City Council seat by threatening him and his family.

    There was the Molotov cocktail that hit his house, paint poured on his truck and bricks thrown at the window of his house – all acts of vandalism he believes were meant to discourage him from running in 2007.

    Now, after two city officials on Thursday accepted plea agreements revealing allegations of election fraud in the tiny city southeast of downtown Los Angeles, Garcia believe his concerns were warranted.

    "I feel vindicated," Garcia told NBC4 News’ Ana Garcia.

    Election Fraud Allegations Emerge in Cudahy Corruption Scandal

    [LA] Election Fraud Allegations Emerge in Cudahy Corruption Scandal
    New court documents obtained Thursday by NBC4 state that in city elections in 2007 and 2009, ballots in favor of challengers were discarded, while ballots that favored incumbents were retained. The former head of Cudahy's code enforcement, Angel Perales, 43, admitted to federal prosecutors that he and others rigged municipal elections during those years. Ana Garcia reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 12, 2012.
    (Published Thursday, July 12, 2012)

    He feels vindicated because federal prosecutors now say the election Garcia lost was rigged.

    In a plea agreement revealed Thursday, the former head of the city’s code enforcement, Angel Perales, admitted to opening and discarding absentee ballots that were not for incumbent candidates in both the 2007 and 2009 elections.

    Garcia lost his bid for the city council by just 33 votes, coming in behind Councilman Osvaldo Conde, one of the three officials charged in a scheme that has led to allegations of a variety of corrupt practices at Cudahy City Hall. 

    Cudahy Plea Deals Reveal Allegations of Election Fraud

    [LA] Cudahy Plea Deals Reveal Allegations of Election Fraud
    Election fraud and other municipal corruption allegations are detailed in court documents filed Thursday in the ongoing case of three Cudahy city officials. Two of them, Mayor David Silva and former code enforcement head Angel Perales, agreed to offer guilty pleas to bribery and extortion charges. Perales' plea agreement details election fraud allegations, while Silva's details additional instances of alleged corruptions. Councilman Osvaldo Conde still faces a bribery charge. Ana Garcia reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 12, 2012.
    (Published Thursday, July 12, 2012)

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Akrotirianakis said Perales worked with other city officials to rig elections, ensuring that incumbents remained in power.

    "He had, with other city officials, opened ballots, saw who the ballots were cast for and returned some of the ballots to the mail to be counted, and removed others so that they would not be counted," Akrotirianakis said of Perales.

    "Not only did I lose the community, the community lost," Garcia said. "When you vote, it’s a very sacred right in America."

    He said that after what he’s been through, he’s done with politics.

    The allegations of election fraud are the latest revelation in a political corruption case which has so far led to the arrests of Perales, Conde and former Mayor David Silva in connection with the opening of a marijuana dispensary.

    An FBI sting caught the men asking a confidential informant for bribes in exchange for support for a proposed pot shop.

    Perales and Silva have each agreed to plead guilty to one felony chage for bribery and one for extortion. Conde has not accepted a plea agreement.

    All three are set to be arraigned July 19.

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