Jake Egan, in Jail and Out of Money, Sued by Mother for Over $1.5 Million

Times Staff Writer

First it was Uncle Sam that was on Jake Egan's case.

Now it's his mom.

Former Carson Councilman Walter J. (Jake) Egan, who is serving a one-year sentence on federal influence-peddling charges, is being sued by his mother, Rosie T. Egan.

She wants back $26,547.74 that she says she loaned to his council campaigns from 1979 to 1984. She also wants back $13,507 she says she loaned him in 1986 to pay for his legal defense against the federal charges.

And she wants $1.5 million in punitive damages because she says her 46-year-old son has misbehaved.

"Willful, malicious and oppressive," she called him in a complaint filed May 21 in Torrance Superior Court.

Mrs. Egan, a 68-year-old Carson resident, said her son reneged on promises to repay her. "The promises . . . were false," she said in the complaint. " . . . (He) had no intention of repaying . . . any sum whatsoever."

Egan, who is scheduled to be released from the Terminal Island Federal Corrections Institute at the end of June, pleaded poverty in a letter filed with the court June 4 and sought a 60-day delay in replying to his mother's suit.

He said he will need a court-appointed lawyer if a delay is not granted.

Egan, his mother and her lawyer could not be reached for comment.

The suit is the latest twist in the fall of Egan, who had achieved a position of considerable power and influence as a frequent swing vote on the Carson council during his six years in office.

The federal case against him involved convicted political corrupter, W. Patrick Moriarty, who now is cooperating with federal investigators in a statewide investigation of political influence-peddling. Moriarty is serving a seven-year prison sentence for mail fraud involving bribery and kickbacks.

Moriarty testified against Egan last year, accusing him of extorting cash and campaign contributions in exchange for support of plans to build a mobile home park on a former landfill in Carson.

Egan was convicted of a dozen mail-fraud and extortion counts last July. At a pre-sentencing hearing in October, his political foes testified that he had attempted to intimidate them while awaiting sentencing.

More recently, the city of Torrance threatened to institute condemnation proceedings against Egan's Aable Muffler Shop, the incarcerated former official's only source of income.

Torrance, which had agreed in 1984 to leave the muffler shop at 1889 Torrance Blvd. out of redevelopment plans that would have forced it to move, announced in February that it needed to condemn the shop for a road-straightening project unrelated to redevelopment.

Charles V. Berwanger, Egan's attorney in the redevelopment case, called Torrance's action "dirty pool" and pledged to fight it.

Torrance City Atty. Stanley Remelmeyer said last week that the city hopes to avoid litigation and reach a settlement with Egan to acquire his property.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World