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John Drayman: Former councilman allegedly sought developers' aid to remodel condo

Drayman has said he owed contractors $117,000 for work on his home, but National Fire claims that the project cost $213,000.

May 23, 2012|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • John Drayman allegedly asked developers for help to pay for a disputed $213,000 worth of construction on his condominium at 3481 Stancrest Drive.
John Drayman allegedly asked developers for help to pay… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Struggling to pay contractors for a disputed $213,000 worth of construction on his condominium, former City Councilman John Drayman asked two prominent development figures for a $100,000 loan in late 2010, a debt he felt could be detrimental to his reelection campaign, according to recently unsealed grand jury testimony.

The account of the lunch meeting between development consultant Rodney Khan, developer Marc Nathanson and Drayman at the Hilton Glendale also indicates how far the former councilman — who has since been indicted on charges of embezzlement, forgery and filing false financial statements — was in the red before Montrose Harvest Market organizers began honing in on the fraud he allegedly committed for years.

Nathanson testified that he and Khan — who now serves on the Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission — turned down Drayman's loan request that day because they both do business with the city, and the money would cause a conflict of interest.

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But a few days after the meeting, Nathanson connected Drayman with a friend, John Moller, a gas station and rock quarry owner who lent the money in January 2011, according to the testimony. Although Drayman had been an ardent supporter of projects submitted by the developer — including Laemmle Theatres and a six-story apartment complex — Nathanson told jurors that the meeting was not set up as a favor.

According to the grand jury testimony, after getting a wire transfer from Moller, Drayman wrote a $100,000 check to National Fire Systems & Services, the contractor that worked on his condominium at 3841 Stancrest Drive in 2010 — the same project that got the councilman in trouble with the city for not pulling proper construction permits.

It wasn't until Drayman mentioned the construction to former City Manager Jim Starbird that city officials found out about the permit issue.

During a closed-door meeting in fall 2010, Starbird gave City Council members a court receiver's presentation that raised concerns that some on the council may have received illegal construction work from Advanced Development and Investment Inc., a Los Angeles developer that allegedly defrauded cities, including Glendale, of millions of dollars.

After the closed-door meeting, Drayman told Starbird that he had an ADI subcontractor renovating his condo, and that he believed he was being overbilled.

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