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City Worker Accused of Seeking Bribe to Speed Up Building Permit

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Los Angeles Building and Safety Department employee has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting a $10,000 bribe to expedite a building permit, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said Friday.

John A. Kaldawi, 30, of Van Nuys, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of bribery as he left a downtown restaurant after pocketing a check from a Century City lawyer, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney.

The lawyer’s name was not released.

Events leading to Kaldawi’s arrest began July 22 at City Hall, where the attorney sought a permit for building or remodeling an auto body and paint shop, Gibbons said. Kaldawi, a structural engineer associate and assistant counter supervisor, allegedly told the attorney that the permit process would take seven to eight months unless he paid a $10,000 “fee” to expedite the procedure.

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The attorney gave his business card to Kaldawi, who called the lawyer five days later to discuss the alleged bribe, Gibbons said. A meeting was subsequently set up and the lawyer informed the district attorney’s office, which assisted in the investigation.

Kaldawi, who was released on $15,000 bail Thursday, is scheduled to be arraigned in Los Angeles Municipal Court on Aug.


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