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June 9th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
In an email to City Clerk Mary Flandrick, Capra cited his ongoing health problems as the reason for his resignation.
“My health has deteriorated since my recent stroke,” said Capra in the letter, “and my decision to resign is in large part due to my current health concerns.”
Capra suffered a stroke one year ago last June. Around the same time, it became known that he, as well as former Mayor Cathé Wilson and current Mayor Judy Wong were part of an investigation into alleged solicitation of bribes related to Randy Wang’s Piazza mall development.
In February of this year, an armed investigation unit from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office performed unannounced searches of City Hall, the three council member’s homes, as well as that of Scott Carwile, a former city council candidate.
As yet, no official charges have been brought against any of the current or former council members, though the city is still involved in a suit and subsequent counter-suit between the city and the developer regarding the troubled would-be development planned for the empty lot on the northeast corner of Rosemead and Las Tunas Blvd.
According to Flandrick, the city has obtained legal counsel in response to the counter-suit, but that counsel will not extend to the individual council members if they are indicted on personal charges.
But despite the content of his letter, health issues are apparently not the only reason Capra has resigned from the council.
Last Tuesday, Capra appeared in the L.A. County Courthouse in Alhambra to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of failing to report a campaign contribution of more than $1,000 during the 2007 campaign.
The guilty plea in the misdemeanor offense matches well with allegations by developer Randy Wang that he gave $5,000 to Capra, as well as $5,000 to Wong and $3,000 to Carwile during the 2007 campaign.
In fact, the guilty plea to the lesser offense is part of a prearranged bargain between Capra and the District Attorney under which Capra is now guaranteed no additional charges will be brought against him in Wang’s bribery solicitation allegations, according to David Demerjian of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division.
For the misdemeanor offense and as a part of the plea bargain, Capra was placed on probation for three years, forced to resign his office on the council and agree not to run for office again for the next four years. Additionally, the court levied a $150 fine against Capra.
As for the other council members and former candidates, neither Mayor Wong, former Mayor Wilson nor Scott Carwile have had charges brought against them. All three have repeatedly denied the allegations made by Wang and Mayor Wong continues to serve as the city’s mayor. Of the four implicated in the allegations, Wong is the only to have secured her own independent counsel to help her respond to any possible forthcoming charges.
In closing, Capra thanked the people of Temple City “for their support and the opportunity to have served the community.”
Next up, the now four member council has decided to make an appointment to replace Capra. On Thursday, June 11 each councilmember will nominate up to two possible replacements who will all have an opportunity to present a case for their appointments as well as take questions from current council members. It is widely believed that most of the nominations will come from former council candidates or sitting city commissioners.