Scandal at City Hall

New charges against former Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet

New charges against former PS mayor Stev

PALM SPRINGS,Calif. - Palm Springs City Attorney Edward Kotkin said things are moving along with the Downtown Development Project.

"Status quo is that the Downtown Project is moving forward," he said. "The Kimpton (and) The Virgin are wonderful projects. The city council is committed to ensuring that the best downtown possible is, in fact, the end result here."

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This, as prosecutors, amended their complaint in the Palm Springs corruption case against former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, and developers Richard Meaney and John Wessman.

They added two conflicts of interest charges against Pougnet, dating back to 2014, and linking the former mayor to the Kimpton and Marriott hotels.

But Kotkin said city leaders are concerned about seeing the projects completed.

"If in turn, we have financial or legal concerns that arise, in the course and scope of this criminal justice matter being handled by the courts, we may take action with respect to protecting the city's best interests," he said.

Grit Development, formerly Wessman Development, President Michael Braun released this statement in regards to the new charges by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office:

"Per the new city council decision related to the specific plan amendment in 2016, the Marriott hotel has been replaced by a residential project; it is no longer part of the Downtown Project. As to the new allegations, this is in the hands of my legal team. As you might know, it always has been company policy not to comment on pending legal matters."

As for Kotkin, he and city officials said they're moving on with what he calls a "complex" and "challenging" situation.

"When the city wants to achieve a universally, I think, popular goal, and we're dealing with issues of public integrity, we have to walk a very fine line," he said. "Public integrity is at the essence of what the City of Palm Springs is about."

Riverside County District Attorney's Office officials also said they removed a count against Pougnet, related to the Morrison subdivision.

Pougnet, Meaney, and Wessman are expected to be back in court in Indio on June 30.

Stay with KESQ and CBS Local 2 for the latest updates in the Palm Springs corruption case. 


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