Trevi Center Owner Michel Knight Reaches Plea Agreement

Michel Knight, owner of the Trevi Center in Lake Elsinore, pleaded guilty Thursday to two misdemeanor counts and was immediately sentenced to three years probation and 90 days of sheriff supervision.

CORRECTION: According to court records, Michel Knight pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges: criminal conspiracy and contributing funds under an illegal name. The original report stated Knight only admiitted guilt on the former charge.

A Lake Elsinore businessman whose felony trial was due to begin today has reached a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

Michel Knight pleaded guilty today to one count of misdemeanor criminal conspiracy and contributing funds under an illegal name. He was immediately sentenced to 90 days in sheriff's custody and three years probation.

Knight was facing more serious charges before today's agreement was reached, including two felony counts each of perjury, suborning perjury and forgery. During today's proceedings a single charge of felony criminal conspiracy was reduced to a misdemeanor charge. An additional misdemeanor count of contributing funds under an illegal name was dismissed.

Knight is the owner of the Trevi Entertainment Center in Lake Elsinore as well as an entertainment center in Moreno Valley that was approved by that city this year.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez agreed to a defense motion to reduce the felony conspiracy charge to a misdemeanor and accept his plea agreement.

The judge also dismissed the other charges for Knight -- also known as Elsayed Assameth.

The charges stemmed from Knight's hiding his involvement in a failed recall effort against former Lake Elsinore City Councilman Thomas Buckley in early 2010.

Buckley narrowly lost his reelection bid in November 2010.

Included in Knight's conditions of probation is a prohibition against having any contact -- even if indirect -- with Buckley. He is also prohibited from contact with Enelida Caron, who turned state’s evidence against him and pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of criminal conspiracy.

“An attack on the electoral system is an attack on the people, specifically in this case an attack on the people of Lake Elsinore by Michel Knight,” Buckley said.  “I’m glad to see that he has now admitted that what he – and his defenders – have been denying all along: his involvement and his guilt.

“Going forward, Lake Elsinore residents need to keep this whole sordid affair in mind when they cast their ballots,” Buckley added, “and question the motivations and shun any political candidate or official with ties to Knight – past or current – like Manos, Park, and Hickman.”

According to published reports, at a 2011 preliminary hearing during which Caron pleaded guilty to conspiracy, she testified that current City Council candidate Steve Manos served as a consultant on the failed recall campaign.

Knight was also admonished Thursday against contributing to any political campaigns or holding public office, as well as participating in any political committees, during the terms of his three-year probation.

He has until Jan. 25 to enroll in an electronic anklet monitoring program -- at his own expense -- for his time under Riverside County sheriff's supervision, instead of jail time.

Brad October 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I disagree. I believe Park will bring in fresh younger blood and new ideas. Would that be so bad? The current political situation in this city is extremely stale with D-list former council members as commenters. I don't think that giving Park a shot would be a bad idea at all: At-least he has the guts to try and do something for this city, not hiding behind a pseudo anonymous screen name here on Patch. For being under 30 years old, he has really put himself out there and I have to respect that. Not only that but he has proven leadership skills being a former Marine is not likely to BS his constituents. His family used to run a business here and town for many years, he grew up here and knows what this city needs more then anybody. Vote for William Park... he's the best hope towards a fresh political start.
Bob B. October 12, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Brad is right Park will bring a fresh perspective to Lake Elsinore, D list players is what's running. So I have mailed my ballot back to the Registar of Voters and my votes were for Carlos, Park and Magee.
Antonio October 12, 2012 at 03:17 PM
You obviously have a connection to M. Knight. The guy tried to corrupt a local government and you say he is a good man. Pull your head out or come clean about your relationship to Knight.
Katheryn October 12, 2012 at 03:29 PM
My votes which I will put in the mail today are for Magee, Carlos and Park. Turner and Morsch are all about mining in residential areas as long as they don't hear it in their own neighborhoods or are exposed to crystalline silica (which causes cancer). Watch Morsch on the Planning Commission approving exemptions on items he hasn't a clue about. All the commissioners didn't read a thing and said YES to Castle & Cooke. Watch Peter Weber making faces at the public when they are speaking to the City Council and he doesn't care what the public wants. Manos is another one I wouldn't want on the City Council his alliances are questionable. Rick Mosch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T2u8WsqbYM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m_HypxyudI&feature=plcp Peter Weber and Melendez http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nabtSQHyzCE&feature=plcp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCZwshL_Tl8&feature=plcp Turner attended a mining meeting and said the City is doing a great job, does he have a clue? We know that Morsch is all about mining in residential areas and seems to not care as lone as it's not around him. Weber doesn't care, he gets campaign contributions from the mining consultant featured on the Pechanga video. Morsch and Manos signs are on the fence of the aggregate operation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQKeNzUkofE
L.E. concerned citizen October 12, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Has anyone bothered to do a background on any of the candidates?? NEWS FLASH!!! Your fresh face Park works Knight. I guess if you can't buy a City Council member you can always elect your own employee.
Amber Pafundi October 12, 2012 at 06:07 PM
If u or someone that you know worked for him then you would know Michel knight has a good heart he hires homeless people that steal right under him. Makes sure people have places to live! Oh and for being slave drivers really what other employers let you stand around on the clock and talk drink all their soda and eat their food without paying for in ummmmmm none!!!!! Sex parties where not thrown by trevi an out sider came in and rented the hall, with that said why is that put on trevi, come on people all you want to do is throw out the neg stuff not all the positive stuff they do!!!!!!!
Brad October 12, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Just because somebody works for Knight doesn't mean they are anything like him. Knight came into this town that nobody else wants to touch, and renovated a eye sore which cost him a few million to do, nobody is perfect. The truth is, William Park is the only hope we have for FRESH BLOOD and a chance of future development instead of a bunch of stale power wanabee people with personal agendas.
L.E. concerned citizen October 12, 2012 at 06:29 PM
LOL!!! Are you serious??? If you don't think that all politicians have a personal agenda then you shouldn't be voting. If Park was serious about City Council on his own terms then he should have separated himself from Knight. Knight came to this town like a thug. He thought that he could buy everything legal or not and then went on a witch hunt when he got slapped around it. He is no Elsinore savoir.
Brad October 12, 2012 at 06:38 PM
People, including myself, might start taking you more seriously when you start publicly commenting using your real name, and are a verifiable Lake Elsinore resident. For all we know you could be Thomas Buckley. Until you do that, your personal opinion holds no bearing on how we're going to vote. If your smart, you'll vote for change.
L.E. concerned citizen October 12, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Don't get me wrong. I'm voting for change. I'm just not going to replace dung with dung.
Shel Johnson October 12, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Hi Brad, I agree with you and I am voting for William Park and change. My picks are William Park, Jerry Carlos and Bob Magee. I never take gossip seriously and I steer clear of people who tell lies. Could the person writing all the hateful things be someone currently on the Planning Commission, Public Safety Commission or City Council?
Sharon October 12, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Wow, he must have really upset you to be making all these lies up about him and his family. What did you do exactly? Steal money from the business? Slouch around on the job and let other people do your work for you? Sexually harrass the other employees? You need to stop the lies. I know lots of people who work at Trevi, including my daughter. She and the others have nothing but nice things to say about Knight and his family, especially his wife, Mei. How much did you get from Mr. B for you lies? You should be ashamed of yourself!
Sharon October 12, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Mark is not being truthful, as many people can account for the good things Michael Knight has done for them. It is a shame that everyone believes everything they read. No wonder people get prison time for things they did not do. Buckley is known for his carousing at the local bars. It is common knowledge. Got picked up for a DUI. He was jealous of Knight because Knight wouldn't follow his orders. That is what started all this in the first place. Knight brought a good business to Lake Elsinore. He might have made a few mistakes by bringing in questionable venues, but he quickly realized what he did and changed it. Yes, I do know Mr. Knight personally, just to answer your questions. He and his family are the nicest people who have really been treated unfairly. He is going to pay for his mistakes and move on now. Buckley, no one will probably ever know what you have to do with all this. If they did, you would probably be run out of town. I read your smug statement about Knight. He is twice the man you will ever be.
Sharon October 12, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Sorry Mark - I stated your name instead of hrtsh.......I apologize. You are right about Knight's big heart. These people making all these ridiculous statements have no idea what kind of man he is. And to hrtsh - I would guess that Knight probably fired you and that's why you are so upset.
Sharon October 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM
News flash! Now I know I am voting for Parks! Thanks L.E. Any friend of Knight's is a friend of mine. He must truly be a nice guy!
Sharon October 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM
L.E. - I dare you to call Mr. Knight up and have a man to man. You would find out just what kind of a man he is. Of course you won't do it. You and others get your jollies by writing in and tearing down a man you think you know everything about. Beckett is right, Knight came into town and finally built a business we all should have supported and been proud of. It was beautiful and I was so happy to see it come and replace the dilapilated building the old KMart had become. Businesses don't have a chance in Lake Elsinore. Business owners have to jump through hoops in this town. If there is to be a lesson here it is to support your local businesses and vote in those who will help them instead of imposing ridiculous rules and fines on them. My God, when will this town become what it could be - a city that everyone would be proud of and want to live in. We need new people at City Hall. Get your bu_ ts out there and VOTE!
Sharon October 12, 2012 at 10:59 PM
The city was upset because they kept asking Knight to make frivolous changes and was upset because he brought it to their attention that the city needed to fix a few things in their own house. He was right and got punished for it. PS. Knight is not an arrogant man at all. He is a very humble man. He just finally got tired of all the harrassment.
Ann October 13, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Ann October 13, 2012 at 01:30 AM
THIS MICHEL KNIGHT himself and i do not need to hide hehind any names my phone # is 951-805-2627 if you want to confirm. For three years i chose to be silent on the matter for certain reasons, when the time comes for me to speak out ( and that I WILL) all those who attacked me and my family will have to answear for it the leagel way. As I intend to sue several resident in this town for Defamation, Slander and Loss of income and as you all know by know that I can carry through to the end. My decesion to accept the plea bargin deal with the DA office was totaly business driven and had nothing to do with the case and its caracters. When I will come out and speack it will be in the city council meeting and the three news papaers will be asked to attend, certain documents that I have been safe keeping for three years will be disclosed and people will have to answear to their true roles, connections to certain developers and employment rewards. Untill then have a nice time.
hrtshpdbx1987 October 13, 2012 at 02:14 AM
actually contrary to what all of you people think....i am not lying. i was not fired, i have never been fired from any job. I worked my fingers to the bone there. All i am saying is....i was mistreated, and so were many others that worked with me. none of us ever slacked off, there was no time to anyways...dont you people ever see how busy it is? with the way all of you sound...no wonder your all his friends. you sound just as bad as him! you dont notice an evil person because your all the same way. pretty sad how blind you all are.
THAT IS A SEPERATE ISSUE October 13, 2012 at 07:49 AM
I too was an employee of Trevi and while employed there I learned a lot about why this potential goldmine has failed it is not because Michel Knight is a crook and he is far from a slave driver, as a matter of fact when it comes to employees I could never understand how so many unqualified trainwrecks could end up in one place, I spent time in the management department and anyone working over their scheduled shift did it by their own choice and very few worked actual overtime hours that they were not paid their hourly rate for, they just did not receive overtime wages to do so and unless u were part of management u do not work over 40 hours a week and therefore they r not required to pay u overtime wages and this is exactly why non mgmt employees were not usually even allowed to go over 80 hours in a pay period. R there many unpaid wage issues ABSOLUTELY but these issues were not because of Michel Knight these issues were all conspirated by the woman whom is the 2nd reason Trrevi has failed the one who signs the checks, now this is the person whom has no respect for the employees and what struggles her scandalious ways impose on people employed at Trevi...Michel Knight is NOT God but he should not be accused by ex employees (a lil less than half the reason for trevi failing) because of the things his buisness partner (a lil more than half the reason for trevi failure) thinks paying employees is an option!
Kristin October 13, 2012 at 08:04 AM
Anyone who is a former employee of Trevi and is still so Trevified that they have sat and waited for today so they could use patch to blast Michel Knight or Trevi for their unresolved payroll issues should have saved their oh so precious valuable time and turned their case over to labor board, all of you who feel they have been financially victimized by Michel need to file their claim and move on, because you all sound like u r singing the same sad country song, file ur claim and then go find a life, this is all a seperate issue and u sound ignorant using it to fill the empitness Trevi left in ur heart
Eydhunred Powngrila October 13, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Brad, Park not only works for Knight, but is being financed by him. Park is also the only candidate that DID NOT file a campaign financial statement. Hmmm. That is a lot like Manos when he was trying to cover up how much money he got from Knight.
Eydhunred Powngrila October 13, 2012 at 05:21 PM
By the way, if you had seen Park at the candidate forum, you would have seen just how sad it was. He barely looked forward when giving answers. He had no confidence and some of his answers showed that he has paid no attention to what is happening in the city. He talked about the city needing to do things that it is already doing and also things that the city has looked into doing that aren't possible. What's his resume? He graduated high school. Spent several years in the marine corps. Wore his uniform for a public testimony after being discharged (may not be illegal, but in VERY bad taste). Wasn't able to keep the family business afloat. The family home was lost to the bank. He works at a bowling alley for one of the most corrupt business owners this town has ever seen. He has never voted...ever! Why would you think this guy is qualified?
Eydhunred Powngrila October 13, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Are you going to bring gas cans with you? There may be a car or two for you to torch. Perhaps you could threaten to torch the building as well. Maybe you could also chain the doors shut. We could also see how may trucks in the parking lot get broken into and then have the security camera tapes 'lost' so we can't find out. What about a few stabbings to go along with it?
Eydhunred Powngrila October 13, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Again Brad, his mom and dad ran that business. William Park couldn't keep it afloat which means he knows squat about running a successful business. He has put himself out there because Knight gave him the money and needs a pawn on the council. No thanks. Knight already has Hickman. We don't need another one.
Eydhunred Powngrila October 13, 2012 at 07:08 PM
This is the way I see it. It's all about which flavor of corruption you like. Anti-Castle & Cooke, then you vote for Magee and Johnson. These two will walk in lock step. They may break a little regarding the Chamber, but for the most part, Magee will control Johnson. Magee takes money from a lot of developers, just not Castle and Cooke. They have received money from a lot of the same people. Private business, thuggery, corrpuption approach? Manos and Park, along with Hickman. These three are in the pocket of Knight. Even if Manos has not taken Knight's money this go around, Knight probably has some evidence that he'll use against Manos when he needs it. Castle & Cooke/non-ABLE variety of corruption, vote for Morsch and Weber. They were both for getting rid of Bob Brady. That leaves Turner and Carlos, who haven't taken money from others. Now, I am suspicious that 27 Year Watcher may be Carlos or someone close to him. Carlos keeps using that number to talk about his years of history with Lake Elsinore. It's a strange coincidence. On the council, Melendez would side with Weber and Morsch. Hickman with Manos and Park and probably Weber. Weber will support Morsch and not sure who else. Tisdale? Who knows. So, the least connected options for the next city council are Tisdale, Carlos & Turner. Hickman we have to live with, so the only other person, who, even though she may be easily influenced, I don't think she will be easily corrupted, is Johnson.
Roberto October 13, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Going forward, Lake Elsinore residents need to keep this whole sordid affair in mind when they cast their ballots,” Buckley added, “and question the motivations and shun any political candidate or official with ties to Knight – past or current – like Manos, Park, and Hickman.”According to published reports, at a 2011 preliminary hearing during which Caron pleaded guilty to conspiracy, she testified that current City Council candidate Steve Manos served as a consultant on the failed recall campaign. REPLY: Carlos is a Tuscanite and we don't need no more stinkin Tusckey's. Natasha Johnson would be a nice fit and bring a balanced and fair female perspective to the City Council. Knight was also admonished Thursday against contributing to any political campaigns or holding public office, as well as participating in any political committees, during the terms of his three-year probation. He has until Jan. 25 to enroll in an electronic anklet monitoring program -- at his own expense -- for his time under Riverside County sheriff's supervision, instead of jail time.
Marti October 14, 2012 at 02:35 PM
All you people that are so concerned about trevi and the owner need to go do something about it then quit ranting about it on the internet. If you have no money put into trevi or the elections it HONESTLY DOESNT CONCERN YOU. Nobody cares about your opinon, if your concerned go campaign for the election. I worked at trevi there for six months and found a better job in the end. I was given a job when is was in need. Yes some bad things happened at Trevi but good things happened there too. Its in the past now you cant bring it back. NO BUSINESS IS PERFECT. ALOT of unjust stuff happens everywhere it could be alot worse. GET OVER IT WHATEVER HAPPENS just HAPPENS. No one put a gun to my head and said work go for trevi. IM ALIVE. If you dont like trevi dont go there if you dont like elections and the people running dont vote simple as that!
caligurl24 October 19, 2012 at 09:24 PM
He doesn't know how to run a business ! That's the problem. I've talked to people who work there and you don't get paid for overtime or breaks. You don't even get to take your breaks ! From what I've heard it wouldn't be a surprise if he's back in court soon !


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