South Lake Tahoe councilwoman cleared in bribery investigation
A South Lake Tahoe councilwoman has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing after a bribery investigation by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office.
Angela Swanson was investigated for accepting “an uncounted bag of cash” from career criminal Gennaro ‘Gino’ DiMatteo between two votes on the future of DiMatteo’s former medical marijuana dispensary in the city.
The cash was for Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation, a charity Swanson is involved with. The cash transaction was set up and attended by Swanson and no receipt was given during the transaction, according to the investigation.
“Our investigation revealed that Mr. DiMatteo clearly believed that prior to councilmember Swanson’s vote on his dispensary he was told that he needed to make a donation to a local South Lake Tahoe charity,” District Attorney Vern Pierson wrote in a four-page letter to the South Lake Tahoe City Council.
“Mr. DiMatteo told investigators it was his understanding — ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours.’”
The cash transaction involved approximately $1,100.
In the letter to the City Council dated Jan. 17, Pierson states it was clearly an attempted bribery under California Penal Code. But an investigation involving multiple witness interviews, search warrants on multiple locations and a review of voluminous documents concluded that while it is clear DiMatteo believed he was attempting to bribe Swanson, it is equally clear that Swanson had already intended to vote favorably for his marijuana dispensary.
“Upon a final review of all the evidence, it is our conclusion that South Lake Tahoe City Councilmember Swanson’s actions do not rise to the level sufficient to file criminal charges as she clearly harbored no criminal intent. Accordingly, this case is now closed,” Pierson ...
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DA's Immunity Letter: