In El Monte, a close friendship shatters over cannabis vote, surgery paymentPosted by On


One was a lobbyist and the other was a City Council member, but they also were best buddies who thought they had a special bond.

Sigrid Lopez and Victoria Martinez Muela traveled together on a trip to Cuba. Lopez attended her friend’s 2017 wedding. The two were like sisters, Martinez Muela said, and both were key figures in San Gabriel Valley politics.

But the friendship shattered when Martinez Muela, a member of the El Monte City Council, voted against allowing retail sales of cannabis in the city, a proposal that Lopez had championed.

Now, Lopez has signed a sworn declaration as part of a complaint submitted to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office in May alleging that Martinez Muela may have accepted a $1,100 gift from her for a medical procedure and failed to disclose it on financial statements, in violation of the state’s political ethics law.

Lopez said in an interview the money was for breast augmentation surgery for Martinez Muela.

In interviews with The Times, Martinez Muela did not deny accepting the financial assistance, but also said she did nothing wrong. Lopez, she said, was a generous friend who also drove her to and from the procedure, and cared for her afterward.

The district attorney’s office is reviewing the complaint, a spokesman said. It was lodged by Andre Quintero, a prosecutor with the Los Angeles city attorney’s office and a former El Monte mayor who has clashed with Martinez Muela.

In the same declaration, Lopez said she also…

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One was a lobbyist and the other was a City Council member, but they also were best buddies who thought they had a special bond.

Sigrid Lopez and Victoria Martinez Muela traveled together on a trip to Cuba. Lopez attended her friend’s 2017 wedding. The two were like sisters, Martinez Muela said, and both were key figures in San Gabriel Valley politics.

But the friendship shattered when Martinez Muela, a member of the El Monte City Council, voted against allowing retail sales of cannabis in the city, a proposal that Lopez had championed.

Now, Lopez has signed a sworn declaration as part of a complaint submitted to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office in May alleging that Martinez Muela may have accepted a $1,100 gift from her for a medical procedure and failed to disclose it on financial statements, in violation of the state’s political ethics law.

Lopez said in an interview the money was for breast augmentation surgery for Martinez Muela.

In interviews with The Times, Martinez Muela did not deny accepting the financial assistance, but also said she did nothing wrong. Lopez, she said, was a generous friend who also drove her to and from the procedure, and cared for her afterward.

The district attorney’s office is reviewing the complaint, a spokesman said. It was lodged by Andre Quintero, a prosecutor with the Los Angeles city attorney’s office and a former El Monte mayor who has clashed with Martinez Muela.

In the same declaration, Lopez said she also…



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