Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thoughts On The John Drayman Indictment

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.


Qalice said...

Thanks for a nicely written, personal outlook on the Drayman case. I canvassed North Glendale for him and was at the party he held the night he got elected, and I feel deeply disappointed. He got weird while he was on the city council, and we've yet to hear the result of the investigation into his condo renovation. He's innocent until proven guilty, but you're right -- there's something rotten going on. I guess we'll find out its dimensions over time.

Scott said...

Indeed. I didn't even touch on the ADI mess, which is also astounding. At the very least he clearly lied repeatedly about how much of the work he had supposedly paid for during his re-election campaign. He was very lucky to have unlikeable enemies. Because his enemies (Barry Allen, Mohill, etc) had dodgy pasts or were just plain unlikeable they allowed him to explain away substantial and troubling allegations as being the work of conspiracies against him. This created a circle-the-wagons mentality that protected his reputation in Montrose for longer than otherwise would have been possible.

Mona Montgomery said...

The Vanguardians deserve credit for their part in unmasking Drayman, especially Mike Mohill, whom you have castigated for his whistle blowing. Vanguardians is a nonprofit organization which meets every Thursday morning, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Robert Hall Bldg. 300 West Glenoaks. I hope you will post Vanguardians on your list of worthy nonprofits.

Bill Weisman said...

And while you're at it, be sure to check out Mona's fun web site!