Are we playing into the stereotype? Are politicians crooked individuals?
Recently the City of Glendale has been rocked with a sensational story plucked out of a Hollywood movie script. It has all the components for a successful summer blockbuster, only in this version the facts and story hit closer to home and redefine what we as the voting public see in our elected officials.
In the early 2000’s, the Montrose Farmers Market, which started as a very quaint and simple weekly harvest market, started becoming bigger and attracting a lot of merchants and vendors. In fact, at one point, the market was spanning several city blocks, and was big business. One of the local advocates in Montrose who was a founder of the Montrose Farmers Market used this platform to rally voters and place him into a seat on the local City Council. But what was happening behind the scenes and how he was using the proceeds collected from the market for personal wealth would shock and rattle the community who trusted him in late 2011.
After a year long investigation that covered several allegations former City of Glendale Councilman John Drayman was indicted on charges that he embezzled at least $304,000 from the weekly farmers market in Montrose. A grand jury levied 28 counts against Drayman including perjury and money laundering.
In a 28-count grand jury indictment, prosecutors allege that Drayman committed perjury when he excluded earnings sources on Fair Political Practices forms, submitted a bogus credit application in 2010 to a mortgage lender and falsified tax returns to hide the embezzlement, which they say occurred between January 2004 and April 2011.
Drayman, who was arraigned on the felony charges at a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, pleaded not guilty. He is accused of: one count of embezzlement, 10 counts of filing false tax returns, five counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery, one count filing a false financial statement and eight counts of perjury by declaration.
Despite all the accusations and the stories of misconduct, Drayman still has his loyal followers. In fact, when he appeared in court recently for the bail hearing, longtime Drayman supporters offered to put up funds to post bail using lines of equity and property.
In this country you’re always presumed innocent and the moment you lose the trust of the public and your supporters chances are it will take a long time to recover your standing in society. Its not like this type of thing doesn’t happen in all parts of the world, its just this story happened in our backyard and with people we can see, making it a more personal.
Follow our blog as we continue to discuss this exciting story and as more information is uncovered during the coming weeks and how the crimes that were committed will reverberate in the community and the justice that will hopefully be served.