L.A. Now

Former Glendale city councilman pleads guilty to embezzlement

Former Glendale City Councilman John Drayman is set to spend a year behind bars and pay roughly $305,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to three felonies related to embezzling from a local farmers market.

He also agreed to pay about $14,000 in restitution to the California Franchise Tax Board. He is scheduled to return to Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 7 and will likely serve his sentence in County Jail. He will also be given five years' probation.

In September, Judge Stephen Marcus rejected Drayman's proposition that included 300 hours of community service and restitution, but no time behind bars. Marcus said he could not accept that plea deal because it would be a "slap on the wrist" for someone who held a position of trust as a mayor and council member when he was committing his crimes.

On Monday, Drayman proposed spending 90 days in county jail in exchange for pleading guilty, but Marcus vetoed that, too. The judge said if Drayman would accept spending a year in jail, he would reluctantly agree to such a deal.

Marcus has said during courtroom appearances that if Drayman went to trial and lost, he would be given a prison sentence.

Drayman calmly waived his rights to a jury trial, which was scheduled to take place in April, about two years after he was indicted by a grand jury on 28 counts, including forgery and money laundering. Authorities claimed he embezzled at least $304,000 from the Montrose Shopping Park Assn. between 2004 and 2011 while he helped the group collect money from vendors at the Harvest Market on Sundays along Honolulu Avenue. Drayman's guilty plea did not include an exact figure of how much he was admitting to stealing.

According to the charges, Drayman, who served on the Glendale City Council from 2007 to 2011 and was mayor between April 2008 and April 2009, at one point did not turn over market fees for nearly a year. Meanwhile, the shopping association experienced budget problems and struggled to get by.

Drayman declined to comment after pleading guilty. Deputy Dist. Atty. Susan Schwartz said she would wait to make a statement until after the sentencing.

Levine is a staff writer for Times Community News.

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