For the second time, a judge rejected a plea deal from former Glendale Councilman John Drayman, who allegedly embezzled at least $304,000 from a weekly farmer’s market.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus said in a downtown courtroom on Monday that Drayman's proposition to spend 90 days in Los Angeles County jail with five days probation in exchange for a guilty plea didn't measure up to the crimes he was indicted for in 2012—which, in addition to embezzlement, include forgery, money laundering and falsifying tax returns—especially since he was a former mayor.
"He held a position of trust,” Marcus said. “Based on that, if you wanted a deal it would probably be a year in county jail."
In September, Marcus denied Drayman's first plea deal because it didn't include time behind bars. That proposal included 300 hours of community service and no jail time, which at the time, Marcus said was a “slap on the wrist.” Authorities have estimated that Drayman may have embezzled between $304,000 and more than $900,000 from the Honolulu Avenue-based market. Drayman, who helped establish the Sunday Harvest Market, used to collect fees from vendors at the event run by the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., a business promotions group.
At one point Drayman, who served on council from 2007 to 2011 and held the position of mayor between April 2008 and April 2009, did not turn over market fees for nearly a year. In 2011, shopping park officials reported their embezzlement suspicions to Glendale police. The embezzlement occurred between 2004 and 2011, according to the grand jury indictment.
Drayman is expected to return to criminal court on Wednesday to take a shot at another plea deal. His trial is scheduled to begin in April. His longtime supporters Sharon and Robert Thompson and Bill Weisman, a former city commissioner, were present at the Monday court meeting.
“After trial though, if he loses, and that’s a big if, I would definitely not be accepting county jail. That’s the furthest thing from my mind,” Marcus said.
Drayman, who said he could not comment after the status conference, spoke briefly to his public defender outside the courtroom. Deputy District Attorneys Susan Schwartz and Dana Aratani also had no comment.
-- Brittany Levine, firstname.lastname@example.org