By Mary O’KEEFE
On Friday, John Drayman was back in front of Judge Stephen Marcus in the Los Angeles Superior Court, this time to work out a payment plan to reimburse the Montrose Shopping Park Association.
Drayman originally had 28 counts filed against him; however, in March through a plea deal with the L.A. County District Attorney’s office Drayman pled guilty to one count of embezzlement, giving false statements to the California State Franchise Tax Board and perjury. He was sentenced to one year in L.A. County jail and five years probation and to pay about $305,000 in restitution to the Montrose Shopping Park Association and $14,000 to the state tax board.
In May 2011, MSPA members went to the Glendale police with their concerns that Drayman had been embezzling funds from their organization, specifically through the Harvest Market. Drayman was part of the team that had been tasked with collecting payment from the Harvest Market vendors along with receipts. When MSPA members compared what other farmers markets were generating and the funds that they were receiving from Drayman, they became suspicious.
After a grand jury investigation, charges were filed against Drayman. Part of his plea agreement is to pay restitution to the MSPA.
On Friday, after reviewing the financial information that was provided by Drayman to an financial evaluator, the judge set the reimbursement at $1,000 a month to be paid to the MSPA.
In an interview with CVW, Drayman echoed what he had told the court, that he was unable to pay that amount and could only pay $250 a month. Drayman is employed by a local resident and said his wages do not allow him to pay any more than $250. Beyond his condo, his other asset that was mentioned at the court was a 2006 vehicle.
“I bought the used 2006 Chrysler Sebring in 2007,” he said.
At some point, he took out a loan against his vehicle to help pay his mortgage. Once he started his present job, his employer offered to pay off the loan on the car and Drayman agreed to pay him back by working.
Drayman’s Montrose condo had been threatened with foreclosure since June 2012. He applied for assistance through Keep Your Home California, a government program offered to homeowners. The program gives up to $25,000 toward the amount owed.
Drayman did not supply all the required paperwork on Friday that was to provide information on his mortgage payments. He said that he is working on obtaining that paperwork.
“I feel the majority of the Montrose Shopping Park board feels, although we don’t have in-depth conversations on this, but we do feel the jail sentence was very short and not appropriate for the crime,” said GiGi Garcia, vice president of the MSPA.
Drayman was sentenced to 365 days but served only eight days in jail, and about six weeks at his condo with an ankle monitor.
“I feel, on behalf of the merchants, we need to be reimbursed,” Garcia said. She said the reimbursement means more than just money to the MSPA and is a sign that when something wrong is done there will be consequences.
She added that she does not believe Drayman has shown any remorse and, for her, that makes reimbursement even more important.
Dale Dawson was a member of the original MSPA board that brought the suspicions of embezzlement to the GPD.
“My own opinion is that Judge Marcus is absolutely doing the right thing in holding [Drayman’s] feet to the fire on this,” Dawson said. “Even at payments of $1000 a month, which [Drayman] claims he cannot afford, that is still only a maximum paid over five years of probation of $60,000, less then what he stole in a single year.”
Again for Garcia, it is the principle more than the money although she would like the MSPA to see the reimbursement.
“I think that what has affected everyone here the most is trust is broken … not only with MSPA but also with the city of Glendale, and there seems to be no remorse,” she said.
She added that even if it is not the entire amount that is owed, she wants Drayman to make payments.
“We have to walk the path [we chose] and pay the consequences,” she said. “So if he has to write that check to us every month, [despite] the amount, that is his burden.”