SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - Information obtained exclusively by News 4’s Fact Finder team shows a South Lake Tahoe City Councilwoman who ran on renewed ethics is now part of a bribery investigation involving a local pot club.
Attorney Ted Long gave News 4 a letter from a deputy district attorney to the bribery suspect Gino DiMatteo which reads quote: “From evidence reviewed thus far, it appears that you have violated Penal Code Sections 67.5 for acts and events occurring in and around June and July 2012 related to the bribery of South Lake Tahoe City Council Member Angela Swanson.”
The letter goes on to offer DiMatteo immunity if he is willing to: “assist the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office and el Dorado County Sheriff’s Office in their investigation of Angela Swanson.”
Long says DiMatteo would have agreed to cooperate if the DA showed him their evidence of wrong doing - but two weeks went by with nothing turned over, and law enforcement ended up arresting DiMatteo before any recordings happened.
“I think it was all a rouse. It looked like a good set up. Medical marijuana guy bribes councilmember to keep door open. I don't think there's any truth to it,” Long said.
After several unreturned phone calls to the District Attorney's office, News 4 showed up in person where they remained just as tight-lipped. They would not confirm who the public official was, if they actually accepted the alleged bribe or if that person could also face charges. But they did say the investigation is still unfolding.
Councilwoman Swanson said in a statement Monday she hasn't done anything wrong and she did not respond to another News 4 request for comment Tuesday on this new information. Instead she attended the City Council meeting - but was advised to leave by the city attorney when it came to talking about an issue dealing with medical marijuana. Other councilmembers like Tom Davis say that's to hopeful regain the public's trust.
“The Council and the City have worked very hard to build that trust,” he said. “When that trust is broached like this, it's disappointing and depressing. And I’m extremely disappointed in her if they claims are correct.”
Swanson’s campaign website says she ran on her strong ethics. She listed her top goal in office as being able to: “restore the community’s faith in the Council.”