PALM SPRINGS — Former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and two developers will have to wait until the fall to enter the initial pleas in their corruption and bribery case.
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Pougnet, who is gay; Richard Meaney, and John Wessman, the city’s most prominent developer who also is partnered with the city on a huge downtown revitalization project, are scheduled to appear in an Indio courtroom October 6. The case was transferred from Palm Springs to Indio in May at the request of defense attorneys.
The three suspects appeared in court June 30 and were scheduled to enter their pleas, but the hearing was rescheduled due to the judge’s absence, the Desert Sun reported.
If convicted on all counts, Pougnet would be barred for life from holding public office and face a potential maximum sentence of 19 years in state prison.
The accusations against Pougnet, Meaney and Wessman are the result of an 18-month investigation by an Inland Empire public corruption task force, which included a 2015 raid of Palm Springs City Hall by FBI agents and county investigators.
The city hall raid followed reports by the Desert Sun that revealed questionable financial ties between the mayor and the developers.