Former Councilman John Drayman, who has been convicted of embezzlement, is expected to be released from Los Angeles County jail on Sept. 26, which would cut the one-year sentence he received on Monday roughly in half.
His time behind bars could be shortened even more if he takes educational classes, serves food or takes other jobs in the jail, said Nicole Nishida, a public information officer with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, on Tuesday after Drayman’s projected release date was posted on the sheriff’s website.
Due to state prison realignment, inmates convicted of nonviolent or nonsexual crimes could have their sentences reduced in half, Nishida said, adding that Drayman’s projected release date could change again.
The possibly shortened stint in jail comes despite Los Angeles Superior Court Judge calling Drayman “appalling” during his sentencing hearing because he didn’t show remorse for betraying the public trust.
“In common parlance, you’re a crook,” Marcus said before sentencing him to one year in jail and five years of probation.
Drayman, who was shaking during his sentencing and as he was handcuffed to be taken into custody, declined to comment before and during the hearing in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
In addition to embezzlement, Drayman pleaded guilty last month to two other felonies — filing false tax returns related to the embezzlement and perjury.
He has been assigned to Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, according to his booking report.
He must make restitution payments of roughly $305,000 to the business group he stole from and pay back about $14,000 to the California Franchise Tax Board.
Drayman didn’t admit to an exact amount that he embezzled, but, in May 2012 he was indicted for allegedly misappropriating at least $304,000 between 2004 and 2011 from a local farmer’s market he helped run both before and after he was in office. The market is operated by the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., a business promotions group.
Drayman served as Glendale's mayor in 2008 and 2009. He was on City Council between 2007 and 2011.
Before his sentencing hearing began, Drayman received hugs and pats on the back from his supporters, Bill Weisman, a former city commissioner, and Glendale residents Sharon and Robert Thompson. His partner, Jeff Decker, wiped tears from his eyes just minutes before entering the courtroom.
His supporters declined to comment. As he was escorted out of the courtroom, Drayman hunched over in his gray suit and tie.
Drayman agreed to the plea deal last month after Marcus rejected two other propositions from him because they did not include enough time behind bars. Drayman's first offer had no jail time and his second suggested 90 days.
Shopping park leaders reported their suspicions to police in 2011, after Drayman didn’t turn over market collections for nearly a year. During that time, the shopping park association experienced budget woes, and the group struggled to stay afloat.
At the beginning of 2011, shopping park officials estimated the market would make $43,000 for the year. By the end of that year, and after Drayman separated from the business improvement district, the market brought in about $141,000. According to their 2014 budget, the market is expected to rake in $170,000 this year.
Dale Dawson, executive director of the shopping association, said the sentence didn’t fit the crime and he doesn’t expect to see any restitution money. However, he is glad Drayman is no longer connected to the business group.
“It’s still a big old piece of cheese, but the darkness is gone,” Dawson said.
Normally, restitution must be paid before the end of probation. Any unpaid amounts are enforceable as a civil judgment. Marcus set the payments at $1,000 per month, but Drayman's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sean McDonald, said his client can’t afford that. Once a financial evaluator reviews Drayman's holdings, Marcus may lower the amount.
“In a situation like this, you don’t make excuses,” Marcus said.
After the sentencing, Deputy District Atty. Susan Schwartz said Drayman betrayed the people of Montrose and the entire Glendale electorate.
“This case has divided the community of Montrose,” she said. “John Drayman really has betrayed the trust of the people who relied on him, considered him a friend and considered him a benefactor.”