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In addition, the Fair Political Practices Commission received notice from the Bell Gardens city clerk that Beltran failed to file campaign-finance statements for two years.
“We no longer believe that Mr. Beltran can act in the best interest of our city or community,” states an April 16, 2007, letter to Calderon from the Committee to Remove Beltran From Office. The letter signed by about 200 Bell Gardens residents cites Beltran’s conviction for filing a false police report in March and his alleged campaign-disclosure lapses as two of several reasons why he should step down.
CALDERON, WHO SPENDS MUCH of his time in Sacramento, has refused to answer repeated written requests from the Weekly for comment. Likewise, he has not responded to the 200 constituents who complained about Beltran. A May 23, 2007, letter from the same committee urges a powerful Bay Area Democrat, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, to investigate Beltran’s actions because Beltran is a Senate employee. Perata’s office did not respond to requests for comment from the Weekly.
Beltran is known as a young and ambitious political consultant. Some see a great deal of potential in him — and suspect his legal troubles are the result of political machinations by his adversaries. “He has my full faith and confidence,” state Senator Gil Cedillo, Beltran’s political mentor, said last week after police searched Beltran’s home and office.
Meanwhile, the FBI also is investigating alleged kickbacks to Maywood city officials by Maywood Club Towing, which is owned by Shahram Shayesteh’s brother-in-law, Tooradj Khosroabadi, also known as Tony Bravo.
Between them, the two companies — United Motor Club and Maywood Club Towing — control towing contracts worth millions of dollars in four high-crime, low-income suburbs of Los Angeles. Each year the two companies tow thousands of cars owned by mostly poor immigrants in Bell Gardens, South Gate, Maywood and Cudahy.
Now, South Gate officials say they have suspended United’s business license for 30 days pending review of the city’s contract with the firm.
Shayesteh is no stranger to either tow company. According to federal court files, Tony Bravo and his wife, Elvia Franco, refinanced a house to post a bond for Shayesteh in Shayesteh’s federal drug trafficking case.
In a court hearing in May, during which Bell Gardens Councilman Daniel Crespo sought a restraining order against Shayesteh for alleged criminal threats, Crespo recalled that Tony Bravo and Maywood Councilman Sam Pena approached him last year and urged him not to worry about Shayesteh.
Crespo alleges that Shayesteh threatened him after the November Bell Gardens City Council meeting and during a three-way phone call that Beltran set up in February to discuss the city tow service. Crespo alleges that Beltran included Shayesteh in the call without Crespo’s knowledge.
According to police who are investigating Beltran and United Motor Club, both Pena and Tony Bravo have given statements indicating they believe Shayesteh owns United Motor Club. Pena and Bravo could not be reached for comment.
In April, Bell Gardens Mayor Jennifer Rodriguez told the Weekly that she and Beltran met with Shayesteh and an unidentified man at Applebee’s last year, just prior to approving the five-year, $5 million city towing contract with United.
Rodriguez has since told LAPD detectives she cannot recall the identity of either man at the meeting.
Beltran’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, told the Weekly last week that he believes police and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office are retaliating against Beltran because he sought a new trial for Beltran’s false police report conviction. Cohen alleged prosecutorial misconduct in that case.