Something is rotten in Montrose. Former Glendale city councilman John Drayman, who formerly led the Montrose Shopping Park Association and managed the Harvest Market, has been indicted on one count of embezzlement, 10 counts of filing false tax returns, five counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery, one count filing a false financial statement and eight counts of perjury by declaration. You can read the full indictment at Montrose Patch. The investigation was started last May, when members of the MSPA realized that the sums submitted to the board were far less than the funds Drayman had collected from merchants at the Harvest Market. After Drayman was removed from handling the money from the Harvest Market and an oversight committee was established, the Harvest Market started earning approximately $100,000 more per year than it had in the years under Drayman. In fact, the market had become a money losing proposition that was subsidized by the small merchants in the Montrose in the hopes of attracting marketgoers to their businesses. Revenues jumped 300% after his exit.
The only explanations I can see for the massive financial discrepancies are:
- a) Drayman was collecting and stealing the money
- b) Drayman was exceptionally incompetent at collecting money from the merchants
- c) someone else involved with the market stole the money (apparently without Drayman realizing this?)
Drayman's attorney, Michael Kraut, has indicated that Drayman's defense will rely upon option C: nuking others involved with the market.
From the Daily News:
"The evidence is going to be very clear. The loss of money is going to come from a different person," said Michael Kraut, Drayman's attorney. "My client is cooperating with the investigation; he is talking to the police."
From the News-Press:
“[Kraut] claimed that others, who he declined to identify, were responsible for the embezzlement. ‘[Drayman] has been waiting for his time to finally say what happened in this case,’ Kraut said.”
After reading the charges, Kraut and Drayman have their work cut out for them, especially if the DA has the kinds of financial records they allude to in the indictment.
Glendale is, in some ways, a pretty small town. I knew and liked John Drayman, and found him to be a responsive when I contacted him with concerns about issues in downtown Glendale - this was before I had a blog or was especially plugged in to Glendale stuff. We also share a true interest in Glendale history. So I want to be clear that I don’t enjoy seeing someone I've known experience a downfall worthy of a Coen Brothers film. I also know Bill Weisman and his wife Sharon, who helped secure John’s bail, and know them to be good people and exceptionally loyal friends.
If the charges aren’t true, then someone who isn’t guilty has had their life ruined - and the rot in the Montrose Shopping Association goes beyond one man. If the charges are true, they represent an absolutely jaw-dropping betrayal of the trust that the community placed in John Drayman. Both options are ugly. I hope the truth comes out and justice is served, whatever that may bring.