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San Gabriel Valley : No Charges Filed in Sales of Helicopter Parts to City

After a yearlong investigation, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has declined to file charges against four current and former Pasadena city employees who prosecutors say were involved in the sale of more than $500,000 worth of helicopters and parts to the city’s Police Department.

Investigators found insufficient evidence that Pasadena Police Lt. Terry Blumenthal, his wife, Mary Bradley--formerly the city’s finance director--and police helicopter mechanic Glenn Beckley made any financial gains from the Pasadena Police Department’s purchases of a helicopter and parts, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeffrey Ramseyer said Tuesday.

Prosecutors also declined to charge former Pasadena Police Lt. Nick Agosta with aiding and abetting the others. All have previously denied any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors, however, said the business dealings of Beckley, Blumenthal and Agosta with the city violated the spirit of the law and the city’s poor oversight of contracts allowed the situation to occur.

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The investigation was prompted by a request from the city after Pasadena City Manager Philip Hawkey received a letter from a concerned citizen. City officials said Tuesday that they had not seen the document and declined to comment.

Beckley, Blumenthal and Agosta established TNG Helicopters Inc. of La Verne in 1986, which became the exclusive dealer for Enstrom helicopters and parts, the type of helicopter used by Pasadena, prosecutors said. After leaving his job as head of the city’s police helicopter section in 1987, Agosta formed another firm called Professional Helicopter Consultants Inc.

According to a prosecutor’s report, that firm then sold a helicopter and every Enstrom part to Pasadena police bought from 1988 to June 1994. The purchases were based primarily on orders and City Council reports that Blumenthal, head of the police helicopter section, “was instrumental in writing,” the report said.

Investigators found, however, that TNG bought the helicopter and parts from Enstrom and resold them to Agosta’s firm at cost, the report said. The parts were then marked up 15% and sold to Pasadena at competitive prices, prosecutors said.

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As lead helicopter mechanic, Beckley requested parts from Agosta’s firm and Bradley--who married Blumenthal in early 1994--approved the purchases as the city’s finance director, prosecutors said.

Ramseyer said the investigation found no evidence that anyone other than Agosta profited from the sales or was aware that TNG obtained the parts.


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