WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBS) — Mayor John Heilman’s administration has been accused of misusing a city credit card the day before the city’s municipal election.
The accusations come from five candidates – Scott Schmidt, John D’Amico, Steve Martin, Mito Aviles and Lucas John – and community organizer Ed Buck, who say in a statement that Heilman should return “”tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars wasted on high-end meals and luxurious gifts for City Hall staff, developers and lobbyists.”
Heilman’s accusers say they have city records showing more than $13,000 spent on employee lunches and meals – 19 of which were paid for by Heilman’s deputy, Fran Solomon – between March and December 2010.
Heilman has been on the City Council since the year after West Hollywood became a city 27 years ago, according to the LA Weekly. Only one candidate who was not endorsed by an incumbent City Council member has ever been elected – Martin, who is campaigning to reclaim the seat he won in 1994.
D’Amico, who is running for Heilman’s seat in Tuesday’s election, said he wants an internal city investigation into what he called “scratch my back dollars.” His campaign began seeking records on Solomon’s spending in early December after City Hall insiders told him that she was using the credit card inappropriately.
The city clerk provided the records on Thursday.
Martin, who is trying to regain the seat he lost in 2001, said the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office should look into the allegations.
WeHo News reported the city issued a statement saying it “has in place a written expense reimbursement policy adopted by the City Council that complies with the requirements of Government Code Sections 53232.2 and 53232.3 (AB 1234).
“Any expenditure charged on a city of West Hollywood credit card must be in compliance with the policy and in furtherance of a municipal purpose.
“All credit card purchases are reviewed by staff in the Finance Department to ensure appropriate documentation and that the purpose of the expenditure was for legitimate City business.”
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