Only On KCAL9: Compton’s Former ‘Gangster Mayor’ Talks About His Political Comeback, Corruption Scandal
COMPTON (KCAL9) — Nine years after a corruption scandal cost Omar Bradley his post as Compton’s mayor, the controversial figure is pushing for a retrial and determined to get his job back.
Bradley spoke exclusively to CBS2/KCAL9 political reporter Dave Bryan about his legal battle.
The former mayor was convicted in 2004 of misappropriating approximately $7,500 of public funds, spending city money on personal items like golf balls, shoes and an upscale hotel suite.
Bradley’s conviction was overturned on appeal in August. He claimed the prosecutor at a recent hearing hinted at a plea deal.
“He said, ‘We don’t want to put you in jail, we just don’t want to run for office.’ I’m not saying that he was being specific about Compton’s mayor race, but that is the race before us now; Plead guilty to a misdemeanor that would prohibit you running for office for the rest of your days or we are going to try to try you and put you in prison,” Bradley said.
The retrial is scheduled for April 15 and Compton City Treasurer Douglas Sanders is among those who’ve been subpoenaed to testify. He’s the official who first reported Bradley to police, saying he had evidence the mayor was making questionable purchases city government credit card.
“I saw that there was a problem when they approved the credit card, and, as time went on, I started to keep some records of some things, and I just wanted to know if things were going proper during that time, and I took it to the District Attorney’s office,” Sanders said.
Bradley has stacks of documents he says prove his corruption trial was pay-back for his efforts to expose wrongdoing at the police department involving drugs and guns.
He also said he got the nickname the “gangster mayor” from the police department, not from him.
“Does anyone even go to those people and ask them, ‘Well, some say you railroaded Omar Bradley’?” Bradley said.
“Were you railroaded?” Bryan said.
“Absolutely,” he replied.
“Framed?” Bryan said.
“No, not framed — railroaded,” Bradley said.
After all that’s happened, Bryan asked Bradley why he’d want to run for mayor again. He filed papers at Compton City Hall this week to run in the election on April 16, a day after his retrial.
“Do you think the voters would overlook the baggage that you have, and what I’m talking about is the perception or the image of you being the ‘gangster mayor’ — regardless of where that came from — and the perception that you got off on corruption charges on a technicality,” Bryan said to Bradley.
“What of that baggage did I create? Is there any baggage that I created?” Bradley said.
“Is there?” Bryan said.
“Well, the appellate court says no,” Bradley said.
Bradley said anyone who knows him knows that it’s because he loves Compton and said he’s concerned the city has fallen into total disrepair.