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Compton politicans have accepted illegal pay for years, DA says

Compton May Aja Brown standing in front of the Martin Luther King Memorial near Compton City Hall.
Stephen Hoffman/KPCC
Compton mayor Aja Brown standing in front of the Martin Luther King Memorial near Compton City Hall.

Compton officials have been padding their salaries for years, collecting fees for attending meetings that were sometimes as short as one minute, according to a letter from the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office to Compton Mayor Aja Brown and the city's four council members.

The letter says that if the payments continue, the Compton politicians could face prosecution. It was posted online Thursday by the 2UrbanGirls website.

The allegations center on a handful of commissions, of which Compton's mayor and council members are members. The letter says that the mayor collected $4,000 each month from the meetings, and that council members could net $3,400 per month. The practice has taken place for decades.

The district attorney's letter notes that commission meetings were often "exceptionally brief" and that "the Housing and Gaming commissions serve no obvious purpose other than providing additional compensation to the commission members."

No representative of the Compton-based Crystal Casino has ever appeared before the gaming commission, the letter says. And it notes that elected officials do not have to attend commission meetings to collect the extra pay (with the exception of the Urban Community Development Commission).

The allegations arrive as Compton is in the worldwide spotlight. The film "Straight Outta Compton," about the hip-hop pioneers N.W.A, is number one at the box office. And Compton native and N.W.A member Dr. Dre recently announced he would donate royalties from his new album to fund an arts center in the city.