Former Councilman John Drayman was shaking as he was handcuffed in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Monday morning after he was sentenced to one year in Los Angeles County jail.
Drayman, who pleaded guilty last month to three felonies, including embezzlement, remained tight-lipped during the hearing, even after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Marcus called him the “former disgraced Glendale mayor” and bashed him for not showing remorse during court proceedings.
“In common parlance, you're a crook,” he said.
The sentencing caps more than two years of legal proceedings since Drayman was indicted in May 2012 for allegedly embezzling 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.
Before his sentencing 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 served as Glendale's mayor in 2008 and 2009. He was on City Council between 2007 and 2011.
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 featured none and his second suggested 90 days.
While he was indicted on 28 counts, Drayman only pleaded guilty to three of them in exchange for a one-year jail sentence, five years of probation and restitution payments of about $305,000 to the business promotions group that runs the farmer's market and $14,000 to the California Franchise Tax Board. In addition to embezzlement, he also pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns as a result of his theft and perjury.
Authorities have said he embezzled money from the business group, called the Montrose Shopping Park Assn. while he collected money from vendors at the Sunday Harvest Market held along Honolulu Avenue.
Drayman’s guilty plea did not include an exact figure of how much he admitted to stealing. 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.
Normally, restitution must be paid before the end of his 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 couldn't afford that. Once a financial adviser reviews Drayman's holdings, Marcus may lower the amount.
Deputy District Atty. Susan Schwartz said after the sentencing that 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.”
-- Brittany Levine, firstname.lastname@example.org