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City Treasurer's Situation Sparks Suspension Talk

Two City Council members ask for an emergency resolution to discuss suspending David Cohn at Tuesday night's council meeting.

A request by two City Council members to place an emergency resolution on council's agenda for Tuesday has not been granted, said Hermosa Beach City Manager Tom Bakaly Monday night.

The request was made by Councilmen Kit Bobko and Michael DiVirgilio in a letter (attached here as a PDF) sent to Bakaly Monday. The two asked for the resolution so that council could discuss suspending City Treasurer David Cohn's authority to manage the city’s assets or assert control over city staff or funds until an investigation into an alleged extortion and an audit of city funds have been completed.

Cohn alerted Hermosa Beach Police to an alleged theft of his iPad from his home, spawning the arrest of his alleged masseuse and her boyfriend, who had visited Cohn's home so that she could give him a sensual massage, according to reports.

In a police report, Cohn, 72, alleges that one of the two stole his iPad during their time in his home and then attempted to extort money from him.

Gustavo Ceron, 29, and Yuritsi M. Garcia, 26, were arrested and charged with trying to extort money from Cohn. However, Garcia, the masseuse, who lists her services on Craigslist, has told media a different version of what transpired.

Garcia, who said she was massaging Cohn while topless, has told media that Cohn gave her the iPad after he refused to pay her in full for the massage, which allegedly was cut short when Cohn asked her for sex. She said that when he then attempted to grab her, she retreated to a bathroom and called Ceron, who was waiting outside Cohn's house.

Reports state that Garcia wanted Cohn to deposit $6,000 into a bank account in order for her to delete the content on his iPad, which reportedly was photos of family and friends.

Garcia and Ceron were arrested by HBPD outside a bank in their hometown of Maywood. HBPD is handling the investigation of Cohn's allegations.

A report states that Bakaly and interim Hermosa Police Chief Steve Johnson have asked investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to look into Garcia's allegations that Cohn assaulted her.

A public relations consultant for the city has said that the iPad did not hold any city-related correspondence or documents, according to the Daily Breeze.

Cohn has not made any public comment about the incidents or allegations. 

Reader comments on Patch's previous article about the matter (see below) indicate a few people have concerns about Cohn continuing to function as treasurer for the city.

  • Related: City Treasurer's Alleged Massage Turns into Arrests
klc November 27, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Cohn should resign immediately.
H. Schwartz November 27, 2012 at 10:00 PM
He should resign now, but if he doesn't it will be interesting to see the City's leadership or lack thereof as to whether they move quickly to remove him or all run down to the beach and stick their heads in the sand as they usually do.Lets hope somebody does the right thing, nip this embarrassment in the bud and move on. The people deserve better.
Ray Waters November 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM
How about waiting to see if there is really a violation by the Treasurer. It seems to me that Bobko and DeVirgilio are grandstanding again.
Joel Cooper November 27, 2012 at 11:40 PM
When you say "violation" are you referring to something illegal? If so what would that have to do with it? For an elected official to put himself in a position of blackmail is flat out stupid, legality doesn't enter into the equation, rather, Mr. Cohn needs to either remove himself or be removed from office because he doesn't have the brain power to not get himself in such a position. The City of Hermosa Beach needs a smarter person handling the peoples money
H. Schwartz November 28, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Grandstanding? If the City Council doesn't act and act fast in the wake of such an egregious embarrassment when are they supposed to? It's all about integrity, not legality.

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