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Hermandad's L.A. office is indicted

July 13, 2001

By ALDRIN BROWN The Orange County Register

The Hermandad Mexicana Nacional Legal Center of Los Angeles was indicted Thursday on charges of misusing millions of dollars in federal grants.

Grand jurors returned three counts accusing the Latino activist group of misappropriating about half of $6.6 million in grants intended for English classes and other programs between 1995 and 1998.

It was unclear if there would be any effect from the indictment on the troubled Orange County office.

In May, the state Department of Education filed a $17 million suit against the Legal Center and the Santa Ana chapter of Hermandad, alleging irregularities in their tracking of grant funds.

Nativo Lopez, executive director of the Santa Ana chapter, said of the indictment: "We're not in the same boat.

As far as the work that we're doing, the future looks very bright.''