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Carson, CA Mayor Accused of Not Living in City

The mayor of Carson, California, Albert Robles, who has been pushing hard for a local stadium to be built for either the San Diego Chargers or Oakland Raiders, may face a criminal investigation because his true residence may outside the city.

California law suggests that elected officials live in the areas they represent. Robles insists that he lives on East 214th Street in Carson at his parents’ home, and gets up early every morning to join his wife, son and daughter in a Kenwood Avenue apartment 10 miles north of Carson. He asserts that he drives his children to school, sometimes picks them up, and variously joins them after dinner to watch TV.

But neighbors in Kenwood told the Los Angeles Times that Robles lives at the Kenwood address with his wife, Sonjia Quanitte, who owns the apartment building. Financial disclosure statements required of elected officials reportedly reveal that Robles received between $10,000 and $100,000 a year in rental income from the building his wife owns.

Robles explained away the apparent misdirection by stating, “The notion of a couple, a married couple, only living together as man and wife is not something that holds true today like it did in the 1950s. The whole notion of marriage has evolved.”

Robles insisted that he has slept at the Kenwood apartment roughly ten times in the last three or four years, adding, “I’m there when they wake up, making them breakfast.”

Robles has been under the microscope before; in 2004, the L.A. County district attorney’s office investigated his claims that he lived in Carson; in 2008, the district attorney’s office charged Robles with sending out anonymous campaign mailers when he ran for the water board. Neither case resulted in anything substantive, triggering Robles to charge that the D.A.’s actions were “racially motivated.”

In April 2013, Jim Dear, the city clerk of Carson, stated firmly, “We know that Albert Robles does not live in the city of Carson, has not lived in the city of Carson for many, many years.” That same month, Robles’ 2005 convictions for public corruption and money laundering, for which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, were thrown out–but five counts of bribery remained.

 

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