Ex-Sen. Robbins Paid the Price for Greed : Restitution and the Loss of His Real Estate License Stand as Appropriate Penalties

Alan Robbins is in the news again. The former (D-Van Nuys) state senator from the Valley's 20th Senate District who spent 20 months in prison for racketeering and tax evasion wants his real estate license back. He says he needs it to pay his fines. It was recently revoked by a state commissioner who said that Robbins "had lost his moral compass" and did not appear to have been rehabilitated.

Robbins misses his old job in Sacramento. He also claims he was the target of animosity from other inmates in a work camp. (. . . Perhaps he ought to consider the "animosity" he might have been subjected to at a tougher prison.) He wants to be remembered for his good deeds for his district.

Robbins' old colleagues have distanced themselves of late (Sacramento is a bit far removed from the Lompoc Federal Prison Camp), but he has a message for them: "They would be well-advised to look at what they could do to clean up their own house." And he says that transcripts of the wire he wore for the FBI in their investigation of influence peddling should be made public.

We think Robbins ought to be remembered for having ruined 18 years of seniority and one of the most powerful positions in the state Senate, a position from which his constituents deserved to honestly benefit for many more years. He ought to be remembered for having extorted $229,700 from a San Diego hotel developer, for laundering money, for extorting cash and campaign contributions, for illegally obtaining bank loans.

Robbins has been greatly compensated for the assistance he gave the FBI. A five-year prison term became a 20-month sentence, and a judge recently spared him more prison time over those loans, leveling a fine instead.

The roughly $4 million in fines and restitution that Robbins has to pay, and the loss of his real estate license, are high prices, but appropriately high. Let them stand as enduring examples of the price of greed.

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