Start the Presses: An insulting case of justice denied

April 19, 2014


got the call at about 11 p.m. Tuesday night.

"Drayman is out," said the voice on the other end of the line. "Keep me out of it, but I think Drayman is out."

After years of investigations, thousands of hours of work by police and prosecutors, court delay after court delay, the infamous John Drayman, the Pony Ride Kid, the Montrose Mafioso, got just eight days in the gray bar hotel.

At the time of his indictment in 2012, prosecutors claimed that he stole between $304,000 and $880,000 from the Montrose Harvest Market during a seven-year period — a period that included a stint as Glendale's mayor.

It has been a sad chapter for the Crescenta Valley. At a point not long ago, Drayman represented the hope that Montrose would finally get a fair shake on the council dais. Now, mention of his name makes people's faces scrunch up like they've smelled bad cheese.


This latest insult, this miscarriage of justice, takes the wounded heart of Honolulu Avenue and shatters it into 304,000 pieces.

And the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department couldn't look more politically tone deaf. Think about it: 18 hours after Drayman's release to house arrest, former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo received 12 years in prison and was ordered to pay about $9 million in restitution.

I guess John is lucky he didn't steal directly from the city treasury. He might have gotten a month.

As my colleagues on the editorial board point out, if Rizzo were to serve the same percentage of time behind bars as Drayman did, he would have a matching ankle bracelet by Labor Day. Part of me hopes that happens, as the public outrage would be so loud that Sacramento would have to get off its collective butts and do something about it.

About that: If this bothers you, call or email our local state representatives and demand they stiffen penalties for white-collar crimes committed by elected officials. Perhaps John ducked the guillotine here, but we should all be collectively ashamed if anything like this ever happens again.

Here's that information:

Assemblyman Mike Gatto

(818) 558-3043

State Sen. Carol Liu

(818) 409-0400

Gov. Jerry Brown

(916) 445-2841

Though Drayman's catch and release closes one chapter of this sordid drama, it is not the end. Here are a few things we'd like to know.

• What in the world did he do with all the money?

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