The former general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility agency in the United States, admitted to one count of bribery Tuesday in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
“Guilty, your honor,” said David Wright, who told Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, Jr. that he understood the legal implications of the plea.
Wright, who was appointed to the top DWP job by Mayor Eric Garcetti, could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced later this year.
The bribery charge stemmed from a probe of the city's handling of the botched launch of a DWP billing system. Wright, 62, of Riverside, accepted bribes from a lawyer in exchange for supporting a $30 million, no-bid DWP contract, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The lawyer has also agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery count.
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Wright is expected to be sentenced April 26. He admitted in his plea agreement that he accepted kickbacks and participated in ``corrupt schemes'' while leading the municipal utility.
Wright's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The cases against Wright and Paradis were the first criminal charges arising out of the investigation into the billing system rollout and subsequent litigation. The failed system led to many customers receiving wildly inflated bills.
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Wright was the DWP general manager from September 2016 until July 2019, when prosecutors say he was removed from office by Garcetti after the FBI conducted searches of the DWP and the City Attorney's Office.