MAYWOOD, Calif. (CN) – The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday served search warrants on several officials of the city of Maywood and at Maywood City Hall as part of an ongoing investigation.
The DA’s bureau of investigation searched Maywood City Hall, according to spokesman Greg Risling, who added: “We cannot comment further because of an ongoing investigation.”
TV station KNBC 4 reported the public integrity division, which investigations corruption complaints, served the warrants.
Authorities searched Maywood Mayor Ramon Medina’s home and businesses on Thursday morning just before 10 a.m., according to multiple news outlets. Authorities also removed boxes and multiple computer hard drives from the Maywood City Hall. In all, 11 locations were searched according to the DA’s office.
City Councilman Eduardo De La Riva told the Los Angeles Times he has reported suspicious activity to authorities for the last two years and that included not following protocol from council members when they choose contracts for landscaping, media consulting and street fairs.
“We’ve been waiting for this day for two years,” De La Riva told the Los Angeles Times. “We knew it was only a matter of time before the DA or somebody comes and looks into the city. We’ve suspected wrongdoing for a long time.”
Maywood was the subject of a state audit report in 2016, which pointed out a $15 million debt that was more than double the city’s operating costs. Key areas of risks mentioned in the report was inadequate oversight of city operations and ongoing general fund deficit.
The Maywood City Council has allowed a number of problems to go uncorrected, according to the audit, including “failure to maximize revenue and lack of the most rudimentary internal controls.
“Further, it has accepted flawed budgets and frequently ignored its municipal code when it approved non-competitively bid contracts.”
Maywood’s recent hardships include being identified as a neighboring city to an Exide battery-recycling plant in 2016, which means testing and cleanup of properties for lead contamination.
In April 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a $176.6 million cleanup plan to speed up the process from the plant in nearby Vernon, less than 3 miles from Maywood.
As part of a deal with federal prosecutors, Exide acknowledged mishandling hazardous waste and agreed to perform a $50 million cleanup.