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City Treasurer Job May Get Code of Ethics

City Council will vote Tuesday night on a resolution "regarding the safeguarding of City funds" that includes specific information on the duties of the treasurer and suggests five changes be brought to those duties.

In light of two investigations concerning Hermosa Beach City Treasurer David Cohn, City Council, at its Tuesday night meeting, will consider adopting a resolution "regarding the safeguarding of City funds" that includes a request for a proposed code of ethics

Cohn, who is being investigated on an allegation of sexual assault in association with a massage that went awry, is scheduled to give the city's 4th quarter investment report at the same meeting. 

Cohn, who has said he will not resign during the dual investigations, released a statement Monday through attorney John Sweeney reassuring residents that city finances were not compromised and stating his innocence.

"In November my iPad tablet was stolen and within 10 minutes of the theft I had its contents deleted through the security server of the device. My iPad did not contain any of the City’s financial records, emails, or operating data.

"I can unequivocally state that no Hermosa Beach City business, documents, or confidential information was accessed by these individuals."

Gustavo Ceron, 29, and Yuritsi M. Garcia, 26, who have been charged with stealing Cohn's iPad and then attempting to extort him for the deletion of its contents, will be in court on Dec. 17 for a preliminary hearing. The couple, who were arrested by Hermosa Beach police Nov. 13 in Maywood, their hometown, have pleaded not guilty. 

Garcia, who is free on bail, told a reporter with the Daily Breeze she was giving Cohn a sensual massage in his home while topless on Nov. 3. She alleges the sexual assault took place when she refused Cohn's request for sex during the massage and that he gave her the iPad, even teaching her how to use it. 

Outside the courtroom Monday after the preliminary hearing date was set, Garcia had nothing to say to reporters because her attorney "told her not to talk" to media.

Sergeant Dan Scott of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Special Victims Bureau told Patch Thursday the sexual assault investigation is ongoing. "Hopefully within the next week or so we'll know more," he said. "Each day it progresses."

Sgt. Scott said an initial police report of Garcia's allegation taken by HBPD on Nov. 27 has been "incorporated into one investigation" with a report taken by his department on Nov. 28. He said the formal request for LASD to handle the investigation was received Tuesday.

Interim HB Police Chief Steve Johnson has said LASD was brought in to ensure an independent, thorough investigation. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office is handling the case against Garcia and Ceron, according to Sandi Gibbons of the District Attorney's Office.

Cohn, who remained publicly silent about the situation until Nov. 29, also said in his statement:

"I assure the residents of Hermosa Beach that I have done nothing wrong, that I am the victim of this crime, and that the statement of the person arrested and charged with this crime, as printed in our local newspaper, is false and defamatory. The allegations only arose after she was arrested in a sting operation and charged with a felony."  

  • Related: City Treasurer's Alleged Massage Turns into Arrests
  • Related: City Treasurer's Situation Sparks Suspension Talk
  • Related: Council to Discuss Treasurer Cohn's Suspension at Next Meeting
H. Schwartz December 07, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Pure narcissism," I have done nothing wrong " this guy doesn't get it, he thinks he's the victim. No,he brought this on himself, and, an elected official with any common sense would not put himself in such a position. Why not patronize any one of the existing legitimate massage therapists here in Hermosa Beach? Massage Envy,or the Massage Spot for example, or doesn't the Treasurer wish to patronize local business? Better to get somebody out of Craig's List and invite them over to your house for a "massage"?, A not so smart move by a not so smart individual.
RebeccaAnne December 07, 2012 at 03:52 PM
All city council positions should have a code of ethics attached to them--not just the treasurer.
Joel Cooper December 11, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Shouldn't everyone already have a "code of ethics."
S Thompson December 13, 2012 at 04:01 AM
When did prostitution become legal in Hermosa? I think Mr. Cohn needs an ethics adjustment.

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