Lead Story West Edition

Former Compton mayor convicted again for misusing public funds

LOS ANGELES — The former mayor of Compton was convicted of corruption charges July 28 for using about $4,000 in taxpayer funds to pay for personal expenses.

After the guilty verdicts on two felony counts were read aloud, Omar Bradley raised both arms skyward and then sat looking downwards, shaking his head from side to side. His wife sobbed.

He declined comment as he left the courthouse with family members.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli set sentencing for Aug. 30.

Bradley, 59, was charged with misappropriating public funds by “double-dipping” — using a city credit card and cash advances for travel. It was his second trial in the case.

In 2004, Bradley was found guilty of the charges, but the conviction was tossed out on appeal eight years later. His voided conviction in 2012 allowed him to twice unsuccessfully run for mayor again.

Bradley now faces a lifetime ban on holding public office. Bradley served as mayor from 1993 until 2001.

During the two-week trial, Bradley’s attorney argued that the former mayor believed his expenditures — for clothing, golf fees and hotel rooms — were legal because they were for city business. Prosecutors had not proven that Bradley knew the $4,000 he spent was unlawful, attorney Robert J. Hill told the jury.

But Deputy District Attorney Ana Lopez alleged that Bradley’s spending was “purely personal” and offered “no public benefit,” and that he clearly understood the rules.

She conceded, however, that accountability for spending became “very relaxed” in Compton after the city council approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of city credit cards to council members without any public comment on the issue.

During two days on the stand, the ex-mayor testified that he had played golf with officials in order to discuss several city projects, and bought golf clothing to look the part.

Following the first trial, Bradley was sentenced in 2004 to three years in prison, but he was later moved to a halfway house.

Bradley — who was born and raised in Compton and also served as a city councilman from 1991-1993 — lost a run-off election in June against incumbent Mayor Aja Brown.