Vista Councilman Won't Resign Despite Guilty Plea

Frank Lopez, Wife Pleaded Guilty To Misdemeanor Charge

Vista City Councilman Frank Lopez said he is not resigning and is prepared to fight a threatened recall despite the fact he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge earlier this week.

Lopez stood in front of City Hall Friday and addressed the media for the first time since the San Diego County Sheriff's Department launched a criminal investigation that probed accusations he wrote bad checks.

During the press conference, Lopez said, "There will be no questions nor will I answer any."

Lopez was accused of writing hundreds of personal and payroll checks that bounced, and there have been allegations of a gambling debt topping $50,000.

Lopez pleaded guilty to failing to pay workers' compensation premiums for employees at his Mexican restaurant, Casa Linda. He stood at a podium for less than two minutes and wanted to clarify what exactly he was guilty of.

"On any other allegations, including righting intent to write bad checks, this was thoroughly investigated and no wrongdoing was substantiated," said Lopez.

At a previous City Council meeting, 10News spoke with fellow councilman Steve Gronke about the allegations against Lopez.

"Unanimously, as a council, we have asked him to step down and he has chosen not to," said Gronke.

Many thought Lopez's press conference Friday was going to be a resignation, but instead he said he would keep his commitment and service to the people.

Vista resident Marsha Bode said, "I thought, you know, 50-50 … if it was me, I would have resigned."

"He belongs to get whatever they decide to do … put him in jail, he should not be councilman," added resident Lisa Montulli.

Lopez and his wife, Mary, will have to spend one night in jail and pay $12,000 in restitution to the state.