West Covina Democrat State Senator Ed Hernandez has asked the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office to investigate the City of Industry, due to what Hernandez called “mismanagement and corruption.”
“As elected public servants, we work tirelessly to ensure trust in government,” Hernandez said in a letter to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. “The way the City of Industry has acted for far too long erodes that basic public trust.”
Industry, a city of about 200 residents, is no stranger to allegations of corruption. Former Mayor David Perez was sued in 2013 for corruption, after it was revealed that Industry had granted Perez-owned companies $326 million over a 20-year period.
After the suit was dropped in 2015, an audit by State Controller Betty Yee found that Industry had overpaid employees, paid city contractors millions of dollars without considering alternative bids, and allowed city staff and elected officials to use city-issued credit cards to purchase iPads, a television, wine tastings and even massage services.
Hernandez’s announcement referenced both the lawsuit against Perez and the audit, claiming that those behaviors had not come to an end, despite former State Attorney General Bill Lockyer being hired to oversee the transition to a more transparent government, but earlier this year it was reported that Lockyer had run into problems with the city’s Planning Commission.
“They control the voting pool and they don’t want that changed,” Lockyer said in January. “The town can’t survive ethically unless they expand the number of voters in the community to not have one interest be dominant.”
Industry fired Lockyer later that same month. Hernandez picked up the torch, and has vowed to find out why Lockyer was fired, and finally bring possible corruption to an end.