The Desert Sun, who has been doing an incredible job of covering the PouGhazi scandal, reports that another developer gave Former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet $22,000, mostly in checks made out to cash because he was worried the mayor could not “make ends meet.” If only the Mayor didn’t cut his own salary.
The bizarre details from the newspaper:
George Marantz, owner of G&M Construction, paid Pougnet with nine checks — eight of which were written to “cash” — between late 2012 and early 2015. Marantz said Pougnet would ask him for money every few months, and Marantz made the payments because he worried the mayor could not “make ends meet.”
Marantz told investigators he wrote the checks to cash because he’s “an old man.”
Yes, Marantz used the famous Uncle Leo line on investigators.
Marantz was not charged with a crime for the checks and prosecutors did not say the money was a bribe, but they do believe Pougnet had a criminal conflict of interest as he voted to give Marantz’s company, G&M Construction, additional funds for a bridge project in the city.
According to court documents, “Marantz said he was helping out a friend but he did not have an agreement that the money was for any particular vote. However, he did admit that Pougnet ‘went to bat’ for him on the Belardo Road Bridge Project.”
Marantz admitted to the Desert Sun that he had given Pougnet checks, but disputed the amount. He also said the money was a gift, with no strings attached.