IRWINDALE, CALIF. -- This rocky little Los Angeles suburb, celebrated just two months ago for pulling off a major sporting coup, has since stumbled into a grand jury investigation, adverse legislation and court injunctions -- all for the love of money and the Los Angeles Raiders.

The 1,000 citizens of this upwardly mobile gravel industry center say the message is clear: Small city officials who try to make off with one of the NFL's most successful football franchises better watch their step. The big city boys don't give up easily.

"We knew people would come after us," said Xavier Hermosillo, Irwindale's spokesman and one of the negotiators in the deal. "We knew it was an unpopular move with certain politicians, and {Raiders owner Al Davis} knew it, too. He loves a good fight."

Each week brings one more ugly battle for little Irwindale, one of California's largest suppliers of sand and gravel.

With a lurid headline "The Great Raider Scam," the Los Angeles Weekly accused "sleazy Irwindale officials" of mismanagement of funds.

The Los Angeles Times jumped in with charges of city officials steering contracts to their own accounts soon after a grand jury investigation into the financial dealings of the city was started at the urging of Los Angeles city attorney James Hahn.

Scarred by abandoned gravel pits, one of which is to house the new stadium for the Raiders, Irwindale is an 11-square-mile stretch of land 20 miles east of Los Angeles.

The residents, who are mostly Hispanic, live in relative seclusion from the hustle and bustle of big-city life. A city poll reported that 94 percent of the residents support the Raiders move.

Irwindale officials make attracting big businesses look easy. Since creating a redevelopment agency in 1976, the city has lured a major brewery and the corporate headquarters of the nation's largest savings and loan. Because of the agency, the city's bank accounts have swelled from $25,000 12 years ago to $26 million today, not including a $10 million check already given to the Raiders.

Irwindale has so much money it invents ways to spend it. Each of the 235 homeowners received a grant of $10,000 for home improvement. The city plans to bury its telephone and power lines, and having agreed to fill one unsightly gravel pit with football players, looks for ways to similarly beautify the rest. The city even built and owns the only restaurant in town. It pays for all the residents' optical expenses and may soon cover medical and dental needs as well.

When Irwindale learned Al Davis was unhappy with the Los Angeles Coliseum and planned to leave, Hermosillo city consultant Fred Lyte and city manager Charles Martin saw it as a perfect opportunity to score a fiscal touchdown.

The Raiders agreed to move the team. Irwindale agreed to loan the Raiders $115 million, $10 million of it in forfeitable up-front money already advanced to construct the stadium, team headquarters, practice field and Raiders Hall of Fame.

"The reaction from the {politicians} was, 'How dare you take the Raiders?' and I said, 'Hey, we didn't even start dating the woman until she left home,' " Lyte said. "Now they descend upon us with all these grand juries, district attorneys, bills, lawsuits and it's certainly going to go on, and certainly we'll win it. We'll grind it out and whip 'em."

The grand jury investigation centers on allegations of conflicts of interest made by the Los Angeles Times. The article said Lyte, who stands to gain $2 million in consulting fees, violated a clause in his contract that forbids him from recommending to the city council a project in which he has a financial interest.

Lyte discounted the charges as "unfounded, totally untrue" and "just plain bull." He said he doubts the investigation will turn up anything that would void the deal. "It's harassment, it's a delay, that's all it is."

Recently, several politicians have accused the city of using redevelopment agency money to profit illegally from the private sector.

An enraged Los Angeles city councilman, Ernani Bernardi, said he objected "to the use of taxpayers' money to subsidize a very profitable, private operation." He obtained an injunction preventing Irwindale from taking any action until an environmental impact report is submitted, forcing at least a three-month delay.

The Raiders have stuck with Irwindale nonetheless. "Every time we're in court, the Raiders' lawyers are right in there with us and we give {the opposition} hell," Hermosillo said.

State Assemblyman Mike Roos has submitted three bills to nullify the contract. The bills would prevent local agencies from using state aid, local sales tax and use of taxes or redevelopment agency funds to pay off debts on facilities in "destructive competition" with a facility wholly or partly owned by a state agency, such as the Coliseum. The legislature will not hear the bills until it reconvenes in January.

One other crucial obstacle remains: securing the necessary land for parking next to the proposed stadium. The best possible tract is owned by the Corps of Engineers and is leased by the county. By the terms of the contract, the Raiders get to keep the city's $10 million check if it cannot supply mutually acceptable parking. The check is void if a third party blocks the deal.

And several members of the County Board of Supervisors do not expect the board to approve the necessary land lease agreement.