The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office says Compton’s mayor and council members have been illegally boosting their salaries for years by paying themselves for commission meetings that sometimes last only about a minute.
In some cases, officials have been paid whether or not they attended the meetings at all.
Mayor Aja Brown was allegedly paid an extra $4,000 a month on top of her authorized monthly salary of $600. The four council members received $3,400 more a month.
The DA’s office has sent a cease and desist order that the city officials stop with the meetings, or else criminal charges could be filed.
The letter is drawing comparisons with the salary scandal in the city of Bell, but the amounts of money in Compton are much smaller.
So far, there’s no word of whether other charges are imminent, but Brown and other officials defended their actions as part of a city tradition.
For her part, the mayor issued an official response today, saying that the salaries are part of the city charter and can only be changed through a public vote.
Angel Jennings is a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, and covered the story for the newspaper.
And Karen Foshay is senior investigative producer for Al Jazeera America, and covered the story in 2013 for KCET’s SoCal Connected.