Taxpayers will be picking up former City Councilman John Drayman’s legal bills after he swapped a high-powered criminal attorney for a public defender.
Drayman was indicted in May on charges that he embezzled between $304,000 and $880,000 from a weekly farmers market in Montrose, which he helped establish and run.
Prosecutors also allege that he committed forgery, filed false tax statements and laundered money between January 2004 and April 2011.
In order to get a public defender, Drayman — who has maintained his innocence — had to prove he couldn’t afford a private attorney on his own.
Even though his former attorney, Michael Kraut, says on his firm’s website that he doesn’t believe in turning clients away because of financial stress, Drayman still went with a public defender.
Neither Drayman nor his new attorney, John Powers, returned multiple requests for comment. Kraut also did not respond to requests for comment.
The financial qualification forms Drayman submitted are confidential, said Stanley Shimotsu, chief deputy public defender for Los Angeles County.
Still, Drayman’s financial liabilities have been well publicized.
He spent nearly $117,000 on a condominium renovation and is paying off a $15,000, 15-year settlement with the contractor that did the work. He settled with National Fire Systems & Services after the company attempted to foreclose on his condominium over money it allegedly was owed.
Drayman is also paying the city thousands of dollars in fees because his home renovation didn’t have the proper permits.
Additionally, he received a $100,000 private loan to cover part of the renovation, which was carried out by out by a subcontractor with ties to an affordable housing developer accused of bilking Glendale out of millions of dollars via fraudulent charges for public housing projects.
Since losing his seat on the City Council, Drayman’s only source of income has been less than $1,000 in residuals from acting jobs, according to court records filed in May by Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz.