LA DA Gascón Announces Arrest of Former GOP State Lawmaker and City Manager in City of Industry Corruption Scandal

By Vanguard Staff

LOS ANGELES, CA – Frank Hill, a former Whittier GOP Assemblymember, and three other men were charged with embezzlement and misappropriation of millions of dollars that were earmarked for a solar farm study in the City of Industry, according to an announcement Friday by LA County District Attorney George Gascón.

Hill, who was convicted in a 1994 FBI sting at the State Capitol for extorting $2,500 from an undercover FBI agent, was joined by William Barkett, Anthony Bouza, former City Manager Paul Philips in a 12-count felony complaint.

“Public corruption erodes the trust of our citizenry and hampers progress,” District Attorney Gascón said. “There is no place for it in Los Angeles County.”

Barkett faces misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, money laundering and grand theft, Bouza is charged with eight counts of having a financial interest in a contract or purchase made in an official capacity and one count of misappropriation of public funds, Philips faces misappropriation of public funds, and Hill has two counts of having a financial interest in a contract or purchase made in an official capacity.

Philips made his initial court appearance Friday and his arraignment was postponed to Sept. 10. The other three defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 7.

According to court documents, the City of Industry entered into a land lease agreement with San Gabriel Valley Water and Power LLC between 2016 and 2018 to study the feasibility of a solar farm. The city advanced some costs that had to be repaid if construction began.

Philips, the city’s former city manager and Bouza, an attorney hired by the city and a private contractor who allegedly helped draft an agreement, handled the funds.

About $20 million in public funds was allegedly routed to an account controlled by Barkett, the owner of SGVWP, who is accused of spending about $8.3 million on personal items. He also allegedly falsified or altered invoices to inflate the amount, according to the DA’s complaint.

Bouza and Hill, a private contractor retained by the city and a former state assemblymember, are being charged with a financial conflict of interest because they allegedly drafted or influenced contracts with the city.

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