Mirrored here for historical purposes.
The Mercury News – October 4, 2006
LA corruption case includes allegation of sex favors
LOS ANGELES – Indicted former airport commissioner Leland Wong bought sex massages for a top aide to former
Mayor James Hahn in an effort to secure a city contract for a client, newly released court documents allege. Wong, who was allegedly receiving bribes from a company seeking a new port contract, paid for the 90-minute, $130 massages to influence then-Deputy Mayor Troy Edwards, prosecutors said in documents unsealed Tuesday.
Wong, who held commissioner posts in three mayoral administrations, was indicted in August on public corruption charges. Citing Edwards’ grand jury testimony, prosecutors alleged Wong paid for the deputy mayor’s massages at a spa in a downtown hotel. Edwards, who was Hahn’s liaison to the city’s ports, airports and utilities departments, told a grand jury under a grant of immunity that Wong continued to pay for the massage sessions even after he told the commissioner he had been sexually gratified by some of the masseuses, the documents show.
The prosecution alleged the massages were part of Wong’s 2002 effort to win a favorable harbor lease for Evergreen Shipping, which paid Wong $100,000 for his efforts. Wong didn’t tell Edwards or anyone else that he’d been hired by Evergreen, prosecutors said. Wong’s lawyers countered that he disclosed the relationship on a city form in late 2002. Wong, 49, of San Marino was indicted on 20 counts, including bribery, conflict of interest, perjury and embezzlement. Wong, who has pleaded not guilty, did not testify before the grand jury. Wong also has denied all charges that he embezzled or attempted to embezzle money and property from Kaiser Permanente while he worked as its Los Angeles director of government relations.
Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman said evidence suggests Wong used Kaiser funds to finance massages for Edwards. Wong’s attorneys denied the former commissioner had anything to do with Edwards receiving sexual favors. “In fact, we expect the evidence at trial will show that Leland Wong operated lawfully at all times – both as an employee of Kaiser Permanente and as a public servant,” Wong lawyers Janet Levine and Jeffrey Rutherford said in a statement. Edwards’ attorney, Donald Re, said his client was not influenced by the massages to assist Wong or any company doing business with the city. “I think it’s much ado about nothing,” Re said. “I think it’s lurid without any substance.”