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Construction Executive Pleads Guilty to Bribery

Times Staff Writer

A real estate construction executive accused of taking $112,000 in bribes from subcontractors vying to work on a Los Angeles luxury apartment complex pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felony charges.

In an agreement with prosecutors, John W. Archibald, 56, a vice president with Casden Properties Inc. since 1998, pleaded guilty to taking a bribe and filing a false state tax return.

It was a second round of charges for Archibald. He and 14 Casden subcontractors pleaded no contest in October 2004 to misdemeanor charges involving money laundering in campaign fundraising for former mayoral candidate Kathleen Connell and other local political figures. No charges were lodged against Connell, the other politicians or developer Alan Casden.

Juliet Schmidt, a deputy district attorney in the public integrity division, said Archibald’s bribe taking was discovered “in the course of the investigation on the money laundering.”

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Investigators found that 13 subcontractors made 17 deposits totaling about $112,000 into Archibald’s personal credit card account from November 1999 to December 2001. The subcontractors were trying to secure work on Casden’s Palazzo at Park La Brea apartment and townhouse complex on West 3rd Street.

Michael W. Fitzgerald, Archibald’s lawyer, declined to comment.

Alan Casden issued a news release blasting the district attorney’s office, saying the underlying money laundering investigation “dragged me and my company into this originally. Their incompetence and wrongful allegations have caused me incalculable business harm. I am waiting for a public apology and to see the appropriate people fired from the D.A.'s staff.”

He also said the district attorney’s announcement concerning Archibald wrongly linked the bribe taking to the initial probe. “The financial dealings between the subcontractors and Mr. Archibald were old-fashioned bridges, not campaign money-laundering, and this should have been evident,” he said.

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As of Wednesday, Archibald was still employed by the Casden organization, but a Casden spokeswoman, Barbara Casey, said, “Lawyers are advising the company on how to separate him as an employee.”

Archibald’s plea agreement, subject to a hearing scheduled for Oct. 4 in Los Angeles Superior Court, calls for him to spend 45 days, over 15 consecutive weekends, at his own expense in the Pasadena city jail. He also must pay $155,000 in restitution to his employer, along with fines, penalties and other costs expected to total more than $50,000.


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