An unsuccessful candidate for the Lynwood City Council has been charged with two misdemeanor election code violations for failing to register a campaign committee and using a fictitious address on a mass mailer, the district attorney's office said Tuesday.
Iris Pygatt, 51, was expected to surrender to authorities and be arraigned on the two charges today in Compton Municipal Court, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Herb Lapin.
Lapin said his office would recommend that the court release Pygatt, a Lynwood real estate agent, on her own recognizance after booking and arraignment. Pygatt declined to comment on the charges.
Pygatt, who finished sixth in a field of 12 candidates in the November election, is charged with failing to register her campaign committee with the secretary of state and sending out a mass mailer with a fictitious address, Lapin said.
Both are violations of the state election code, Lapin said. The maximum penalty for each offense is a $500 fine and six months in jail.
Lapin said there were complaints filed after the election that a four-page mailer listed a bogus committee called the Democratic Coalition of Lynwood, with an address of 1719 Century Blvd.
There was also a complaint that Pygatt had substituted her picture and name in the mass mailer for a third candidate who was running with two incumbents as a slate, giving the impression that the Democratic Coalition was supporting her and the two incumbents, Lapin said.
Lapin said he would not reveal who the complainants were because it is not department policy. However, he said, an investigation conducted by the district attorney's office showed that the Democratic Coalition did not exist, had not been filed with the secretary of state and that the address did not exist either in Lynwood or Los Angeles.
The complaint that Pygatt had substituted her picture and name for a third candidate was not part of the district attorney's charges. "We pursued what we could legally pursue with adequate evidence," Lapin said.
During the election for three council seats, Councilmen E. L. Morris and Louis Thompson were running as a slate with Louis J. Heine. Morris and Thompson were reelected, running third and second, respectively; Heine finished fourth. Evelyn M. Wells came in first.
Meanwhile, a hearing on a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by two other unsuccessful candidates in the Lynwood City Council election has been scheduled for Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Attorney Henry Barbosa said he will ask the court to dismiss a complaint that Morris, Thompson and Wells won the election because there were numerous irregularities, including ballot tampering during the election.
"I will ask for dismissal because the claims have no merit," Barbosa said, adding that the suit only has "generalized accusations" with no specifics.
The lawsuit was filed Dec. 4 by Carlos Manlapaz and Benito R. Miranda. Miranda finished eighth in the race and Manlapaz finished 10th.