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|This map shows the incorporated and unincorporated areas in Riverside County, California, highlighting Beaumont in red. It was created with a custom script with US Census Bureau data and modified with Inkscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
I was told that public corruption was out of control here in the Coachella Valley.
I was "warned," but I had NO idea just how big the crooks are OUT here until just two days ago when inside the little city hall of Beaumont, California all hell broke loose...
SEVEN former Beaumont City Officials were charged in a massive case that has sent a shock wave along the municipal corridor along the San Andres Fault Line.
I got to hand it to Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin who lowered the hammer on the biggest of the big city fathers in the emerging city of Beaumont.
DA Hestrin announced that charges were filed against seven former City of Beaumont officials in connection with a public corruption case in which nearly $43 million was taken. $43 Million dollars. Holy shit. Wait a minute. $43 MILLION BUCKS?
So here who was charged....including a former chief of police, city manager, city attorney, planning director, yada yada.
Alan Charles Kapanicas, DOB: 7-7-52, of Palm Desert
David William Dillon, DOB: 8-19-53, of Temecula;
Deepak Moorjani, DOB: 11-14-46, of Yorba Linda;
Ernest Alois Egger, DOB: 12- 21-56, of Mendocino;
William Kevin Aylward, DOB: 1-13-63, of Cherry Valley;
Joseph Sandy Aklufi, DOB: 10-5-46, of Riverside;
and Francis Dennis Coe Jr., DOB: 8-3-64, of Redlands.
The total amount of money taken in this case is alleged to be $42,967,421.90.
So what did these guys do...allegedly...
"The following counts have been filed: one count each of Government Code section 1090, conflict of interest, against Dillon, Egger, and Moorjani; six counts each of Penal Code sections 504 and 514, embezzlement of public funds, against Kapanicas, Aylward, Aklufi, Dillon, Eggers, and Moorjani;
24 counts each of Penal Code section 424, misappropriation of public funds against Kapanicas and Aylward;
Two counts of misappropriation of public funds against Coe;
Two counts each of Penal Code section 182, conspiracy, against Kapanicas and Aylward; and one count of conspiracy against Coe.
The case goes back nearly 20 year...gulp.
Prosecutors are saying that "In the early 1990s, the City of Beaumont brought in Urban Logic Consultants principals David Dillon, Ernest Egger, and Deepak Moorjani to serve as heads of its planning, economic development, and public works departments."
"Alan Kapanicas was brought in as City Manager, William Aylward as City Finance Director, and Joseph Akulfi as City Attorney." Okay. Got it so far...
It is alleged in this case that the defendants used their positions as Beaumont city officials to funnel work to their own companies. NICE!
Dillon, Egger, and Moorjani are charged with violating Government Code section 1090 for their role in advising the city to issue new bonds while at the same time making payments to their own company out of the money generated from the bond sales.
That's a no-no according to state law here in California.
Here is the specific lingo about the case....and while it sounds complex, it really isn't. These crooks ran this city hall under their own rules, and no one was allowed in their private cubbyhole.
"Section 1090 prohibits public officials from participating in the making of a contract in which they have a financial interest. In 2003, the City of Beaumont adopted an ordinance mandating that the city collect the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF) on all new development. Under the law adopted by the city, the TUMF was required to be sent to the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) to be pooled with fees from other areas of Riverside County and used on regionally significant transportation projects. "
"Although the defendants caused the city to collect the TUMF, they are accused of failing to give the money over to the regional program as required by the law. Instead, evidence shows they maintained control of the TUMF and used the money on projects in Beaumont, awarding the work to their own companies. In the process, the defendants manipulated documents and made misrepresentations to WRCOG in order to illegally maintain $36,606,190 in collected TUMF."
That's $36 MILLION DOLLARS....real US BUCKOLAS.
Dillon, Egger, Moorjani, Kapanicas, Aylward, and Aklufi are charged with multiple counts of embezzlement of public funds by a public officer, Penal Code sections 504 and 514, as well as an aggravated white collar crime enhancement and an enhancement for excessive loss. From 2010 to 2013, Kapanicas, Aylward, and Francis Coe, who was the Beaumont Police Chief at that time, came up with a way to loan then-Chief Coe $45,000 of city money, interest free.
In total, the defendants loaned $113,773 of city money -- interest free -- to members of the Beaumont Police Department. The defendants never asked the Beaumont City Council for approval of these interest free loans. Kapanicas, Aylward, and Coe are charged with conspiracy and misappropriation of public funds, Penal Code sections 182 and 424, for lending the public’s money in a manner not authorized by law.
From 2009 to 2015, Kapanicas and Aylward falsely inflated sales tax in the City of Beaumont by lending the city’s resale tax permit to a private business, Beaumont Electric.
The press release states that "The scheme required that the defendants lend city funds to Beaumont Electric to make purchases for electrical equipment. The private company was never required to sign a contract, never required to agree to any terms for the timely repayment of the debt, and never required to pay any interest."
To cap this caper off....
"The defendants never asked the Beaumont City Council for approval before loaning a total of $6,247,458.86 of city money to a private company. Kapanicas and Aylward are charged with conspiracy and misappropriation of public funds, Penal Code sections 182 and 424, for misusing the public’s money."
This case is going to become "THE CORRUPTION CASE" to watch from this day forward. I will dive in head first on these bad boyz.
First thoughts....where were all of the ELECTED officials who represented the City of Beaumont for the past twenty plus years? How many of them sat silent, and how many of the had their pockets stuffed?