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EXCLUSIVE: Bell Gardens Councilman Pedro Aceituno Under Investigation by District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division

Bell Gardens Councilman Pedro Aceituno.

By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News has exclusively learned that an investigation has been opened by the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office (PID) focusing on Bell Gardens City Councilman Pedro Aceituno – and the City’s – transactions with Park Water Company (Park Water), Golden State Water Company (Golden State), and Central Basin (CB) Municipal Water District.

The two page PID letter, obtained by HMG-CN and dated April 24, 2017, asks for a litany of documents under California Government Code Section 6252 related to public records requests.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that the PID is looking at several violations related to Aceituno including defrauding the residents of Bell Gardens, conflict of interest, misuse of public funds, manipulation of water contracts, incompatible office, and campaign contributions to Acietuno from questionable organizations.

And, in a game of political football aimed at influencing a local California State Senate race, high-level CB sources have told HMG-CN that CB General Manager Kevin Hunt was told by CB President Bob Apodaca and Director Leticia Vazquez to “report Aceituno to the District Attorney.”

The PID letter included 17 different requests involving the City, CB, Park Water, Golden State.

The first five requests asked for checks paid to, or invoices from, Park Water or Golden State, from 2012 to the present.

The PID also requested copies of Bell Gardens city budget for “water services,” possibly indicating an effort by the PID to match the City’s water expenses to its water related invoices.



The next two questions requested any contracts between the City and Park Water or Golden State from 2012 to the present and seemed to implicate a possible price-fixing scheme asking for any documents “that restrict or prohibit Bell Gardens from purchasing its water from any other entities.”

The requests then took an interesting turn asking for any documents between the City and CB concerning the cost of water – and water quality – in Bell Gardens.

Finally, the PID requested campaign disclosure statements, reimbursements and benefits paid to Aceituno from the City.

With those requests, sources have told HMG-CN that the DA is investigating, and could “request a leave to sue” via a quo warranto lawsuit removing Aceituno, for conflict of interest and holding incompatible offices.

Lacy has been criticized by several media outlets for singling out some politicians for incompatible offices, such as Water Replenishment District Director and Carson Mayor Albert Robles, while ignoring many politicians in similar incompatible positions, such as Aceituno.

The letter ended asking the City to contact investigator Joe Henry of the PID office “when the documents are ready for pick up.”

Calls and texts into Aceituno went unreturned.