Four current and former officials for Irwindale were charged Wednesday with spending $14,000 of taxpayers' money on Broadway shows and baseball games. The charges are the latest in a string of corruption allegations directed at leaders of several nondescript suburbs ringing Los Angeles. This is the latest in a string of corruption charges that have been filed against officials in a number of communities near Los Angeles. Other small cities whose officials have been charged with corruption include Bell, Vernon and Temple City.
Councilman Mark Breceda, Finance Director Abe De Dios, retired City Manager Steve Blancarte and former Councilwoman Rosemary Ramirez were charged with misappropriation of public funds. It is alleged that during trips to New York between 2001 and 2005, the four attended such hit musicals as "The Producers," "Phantom of the Opera" and "Mamma Mia," billing the city for the cost of the tickets. According to Deputy District Attorney Nipa Cook, they also attended New York Yankees and Mets baseball games using public funds.
Similar charges are also facing eight current and former officials of the city of Bell, a suburb of about 40,000 people where officials are charged with misappropriating $5.5 million in public funds.
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