Councilman Wants La Mesa Mayor To Pay For Probe

La Mesa City Councilman Ernie Ewin wants Mayor Art Madrid to pay for a private investigator hired by the city to look into whether Madrid received special treatment from police when found apparently drunk in public, it was reported Thursday.

The city of La Mesa hired San Luis Obispo-based James Gardiner Associates at a cost not to exceed $7,500 to file a report about the Feb. 20 incident within 30 days. City Manager Sandy Kerl said the money will come from a $50,000 contingency fund, but Ewin has other ideas.

"I'm looking for a way to offset this unexpected, unbudgeted expense," Ewin told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "Why should the entire city pay for something that is really the result of somebody's lack of judgement?"

Madrid has not commented on Ewin's suggestion.

The 73-year-old Madrid was found lying on the ground next to his sport utility vehicle about a block from his home after a night of drinking with a city government colleague, 34-year-old Trisha Turner. Police gave both a ride to Madrid's home, spurring heated debates and calls for Madrid's resignation.

"For those people in the community that had some concerns about the police department, I hope this would address those concerns and restore confidence," La Mesa Police Chief Alan Lanning told the Union-Tribune. Lanning has previously said that, under the same circumstances, his officers would have done the same for anyone.

Turner, who was found slumped behind the SUV's steering wheel, has since learned she will face drunken driving charges though neither she nor Madrid were given a sobriety test. She is scheduled to be arraigned on April 10 in El Cajon Superior Court.

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