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Candidate coping with record

Gary Bric pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge and was arrested, cleared, on a gambling charge.

March 21, 2007|By Chris Wiebe

BURBANK — As voters learn of City Council candidate Gary Bric's criminal record, he hopes it won't mar his chances in April for one of two open seats.

Court documents show that Bric pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in June 1997 and was arrested in 1990 after he was accused of being involved in bookmaking, which is accepting bets on results of sporting contests. The bookmaking charges were dropped after the district attorney prosecuting the case would not reveal the identity of a key informant in the case.

An affidavit written by investigating Los Angeles Police Department Det. Russell Butz relied heavily on information from that undercover informant, who performed surveillance on Bric and two other defendants named in the case. The informant alleged that Bric accepted wagers at his residence, also acting as a pay-and-collect person for a gambling operation. The informant also alleged that he often settled up on wagers with Bric at Conrad's Bar and Restaurant, where Bric was working as a bartender.

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Bric maintains his innocence in the bookmaking charge, which he said is evidenced by the fact that when another defendant in the case, Arthur Hanlon, was convicted for bookmaking in February 1991, the charges against Bric were dropped.

"I know the arrest doesn't look good, but I hope people will look at the fact that all charges were dropped against me after the bookmaker pleaded out," he said.

Bric was upfront about his drunk driving conviction during his endorsement interview with the Burbank Police Officers Assn. in 2003, which was his first bid for a council seat, he said.

"I take 100% responsibility for that," Bric said. "It was a huge mistake; I was guilty as charged; and it's something I will never do again."

The Burbank Police Officers Assn. stands behind its endorsement of Bric and does not want the past to overshadow the positive things Bric would bring to the council if elected, union President Mike Parrinello said.

"He was up front with us and we discussed a lot of other ideas and think he will be very pro-police and pro-citizens of Burbank, so we didn't want to use the past against him," he said. "We want to focus on the issues, not something that happened years ago."

In regards to Bric's bookmaking arrest, Parrinello points to the district attorney's dismissal of the charges.

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