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PICO RIVERA – The City Council has collected $14,000 in restitution for money lost during the investigation of former Councilman Carlos Garcia earlier this year. Garcia pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of trying to influence a government decision in July, for getting favorable city treatment last year for food distribution firm BakeMark Inc. Although the city originally sought $50,000 through a request to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, it was repaid only about $14,000. The money came from county funds. “I personally think the city should have got the entire amount,” Mayor Ron Beilke said. “But it’s time to put this behind us.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre The $14,000 is just $18 short of what would have been paid to the city by BakeMark without Garcia’s intervention. The company owed $14,018 for unpaid business license fees. The District Attorney’s Office deemed it inappropriate to seek the remaining $36,000 for the city, which included staff hours spent pulling records and testifying before a grand jury and legal fees. Garcia was investigated because he had allegedly encouraged BakeMark, which had done business with his packaging company, to challenge the fees with the city. Garcia pleaded guilty after losing re-election in March 2006. He was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and a $3,000 penalty, and was restricted from running for office for four years. Garcia said he is on a payment schedule with the city and plans to stay out of politics. “Believe it or not, I’m a good guy,” Garcia said. “My feeling at this point is that they should really focus on the issues that they have and leave me alone.” Beilke said it was important to resolve the issue and move forward. “I actually think this is the most important item on the agenda tonight,” Beilke said at the meeting on Tuesday. “It deals with the corruption of a city official.” Garcia insists that his guilty plea was a matter of practicality after he was not re-elected. Councilman Gregory Salcido spoke at the meeting on Garcia’s behalf, saying he believed that although the former councilman pleaded guilty and should take responsibility for that, he did not intentionally deceive the council. “I would never characterize Carlos as corrupt,” Salcido said. Garcia said he was treated harshly in the situation because of political competition. “The whole issue I think was blown way out of proportion and definitely tilted against me,” Garcia said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!