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Ex-LA utility head admits taking bribes in billing scandal

Ex-LA utility head admits taking bribes in billing scandal
The former head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has agreed to plead guilty to taking bribes in a corruption scandal

The former head of the 天使たち Department of Water and Power — the nation’s largest public utility — has agreed to plead guilty to taking bribes in a corruption scandal that grew out of an automated billing disaster that stuck ratepayers with exorbitant bills, federal prosecutors said Monday.

David Wright 62, admitted in court papers that he schemed with a lawyer hired to help resolve the billing fiasco and secretly pushed through a three-year, $30 million no-bid contract for a company the attorney created, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

The water and power department approved the contract in June 2017, but Wright did not disclose that he planned to retire and join the company as 最高経営責任者(CEO for a $1 million-a-year salary and a luxury car, 声明は言った.

Wright’s attorney, Anthony Pacheco, did not immediately respond Monday evening to an emailed request for comment .

ライト, who faces up to 10 刑務所での年, is scheduled to appear in court Friday.

The statement from federal prosecutors said he signed the plea agreement last month before prosecutors announced charges against the lawyer, Paul Paradis, whose company received the no-bid contract.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti removed Wright from his job in 2019 後に FBI raided the water and power department and other city offices, months before his expected departure date.

Paradis last week agreed to plead guilty to one count of bribery. He had been hired by the city attorney’s office in the billing disaster that left hundreds of thousands of utility customers with excessively high bills.

Prosecutors said Wright instructed Paradis, after he began covertly cooperating with the FBI, to destroy incriminating emails and text messages, the statement from prosecutors said.

一点に, Paradis delivered Wright’s wiped cellphone and a “burner” cellphone for him to use in a “clandestine dead-drop maneuver,」声明は言った, so they could continue to communicate.

に 2019, Wright urged the water and power department board to award a new $10 million cybersecurity contract to another Paradis company, 声明は言った.

Wright did not tell board members about his previous arrangement with the attorney or a new agreement where Wright would get a “substantial sign-on bonus” of $600,000 または $1.2 million in addition to an increase in his ownership of the company, 声明は言った.

Prosecutors in the statement also said Wright also suggested that he begin working secretly for Paradis’ 会社, before he retired from the water and power department, and called Paradis his “ATM.”