NATIONAL CITY: Sweetwater corruption defendant gets probation
(CNS) – A construction company executive who provided gifts,
meals and entertainment event tickets to members of the Sweetwater Union High
School District to influence the school board's decisions in granting
construction contracts was sentenced Friday to three years probation and ordered
to do 100 hours of volunteer work.
Henry Amigable, 48, pleaded guilty a year ago to a misdemeanor charge of
giving something of value to a member of a school governing board.
He faced a maximum of six months in jail.
Defense attorney Dan Greene told Judge Michael Smyth that Amigable
accepted responsibility at an early stage of the case and “has done everything
in his power to help make amends.''
Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr agreed, telling the judge that
Amigable has cooperated with his office in the investigation.
Smyth called the case “serious,'' saying Amigable acted as an employee
trying to bring business to his company and not as an owner.
The judge said Amigable has shown humility and remorse for his actions,
noting that the crime has caused the defendant to be out of work.
Amigable was charged last year along with former SUHSD Superintendent
Jesus Gandara, trustees Arlie Ricasa and Pearl Quinones and former board member
Greg Sandoval. They, along with 11 other defendants from the San Ysidro School
District and Southwestern Community College District, were subsequently
indicted by a county grand jury.
Arraignments are scheduled April 12 at the South Bay Courthouse.
Also charged in the indictments handed down in December are current
Sweetwater board members James Cartmill and Bertha Lopez, as well as San Ysidro
School District Superintendent Manuel Paul and former Southwestern College
Superintendent and President Raj Chopra.
For years, the public officials regularly accepted what amounted to
bribes — trips, fancy dinners — in exchange for their votes on multimillion-
dollar construction projects, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis alleged.