MENIFEE (CBSLA.com) — A Menifee councilman was out on bail after being arrested Thursday on suspicion of corruption.
A public information specialist with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office says a total of eight counts, including one felony and seven misdemeanors, were filed against Thomas Fuhrman.READ MORE: Judge Denies LA Firefighter's Union Request For Injunction Against City Vaccine Mandate Enforcement
Authorities said the charges included a felony count of a conflict of interest and misdemeanor counts of using his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows he has a financial interest, and not having a business license.
Fuhrman was arrested Thursday afternoon at Wheatfield Park in Menifee and had been booked at the Southwest Detention Center before being released on bail.
“It’s very disheartening to see they’re taking their roles so dishonorably,” Menifee resident Jessica Oglesby told CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold.
According to the charges, Fuhrman refused to recuse himself from voting on issues that had a direct impact on his personal property, the Wooden Nickel Ranch.
Former City Attorney Julie Biggs, who CBS2 spoke with on the phone, says it was Fuhrman’s unwillingness to listen to legal advice that ultimately got him in trouble.
She says the other four council members voted last September to file charges against Fuhrman with the D.A.’s office and the Fair Political Practices Commission.READ MORE: CNN Fires Chris Cuomo
“It’s not just a burden on citizens; it’s a burden on staff that works down at City Hall,” said Michael Mudd, a political activist.
But the corruption charges are only the beginning, according to residents, who allege thatFuhrman is running a dirty campaign. They claim political signs are being modified to read in his favor.
Weingold reports that, from a distance, at least one campaign sign appears to read “Hire Fuhrman,” but behind some black marker and strategically placed tape, the sign actually reads, “Fire Fuhrman.”
The signs are paid for by the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association, a group that has been very vocal online about its disapproval of Fuhrman.
Sentiments echoed by concerned residents, who claim Fuhrman is causing more harm than good.
“Since he’s been our city councilman, nothing is being done in the community. In fact, it now looks like it’s a dump area,” said Menifee resident Don Vesey.MORE NEWS: Officials Upset With Placement Of Sexually Violent Predator In Antelope Valley
Fuhrman by phone told CBS2 that he didn’t know what charges had been filed against him and, according to Weingold, didn’t seem concerned about the coming election.