Monday, July 4, 2011

Trutanich Punks LA City Council - Gets Grand Jury Powers Right Under Their Noses

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is poised to make complete fools out of the Los Angeles City Council. Trutanich has tricked the Council into giving him the same Grand Jury powers that they denied him last year.

Trutanich gets the last laugh on the City Council by
fooling them into giving him the Grand Jury Powers
they denied him last year,
According to a report at the Los Angeles Dragnet, Trutanich "sneaked" Grand Jury powers into the ACE Program and played on the greed of the City Council for the promise of vast cash revenues from the ACE Program, to blind them to the reality of what he was actually doing.

The Dragnet's analysis concludes that the ACE Program, once enacted, will give Tutanich unlimited McCarthy-like Grand Jury subpoena powers, and allow him to fully control the judges he get to appoint. But the promised stream of millions of dollars for the General Fund is likely never to materialize unless the Council stands by and allows Trutanich to target homeowners and small businesses with ACE penalties.

The Council would most likely never allow Trutanich to use the ACE Program against homeowners and small businesses because such action would likely mean the end of their political careers. So Trutanich will be left to employ ACE against illegal street vendors, graffiti vandals and unlicensed day laborers - all worthy causes, but all unlikely to be able to pay ACE Penalties. Thus the ACE Program gives nothing to the General Fund, but gives Trutanich the last laugh as his Grand Jury powers will allow him to harass his enemies and make mountains out of molehills.

Read the Dragnet article for a full and excellent analysis of Trutanich's end run on the City Council.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

TRU LIES VIII or is it IX?: Trutanich Lies About "His" ACE Program

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich must be getting desperate if reports that he blatantly lied about the origins of the ACE Program that he has been pushing "like a snake-oil salesman" are true. The ACE Program promises to elevate Trutanich to the top of the Los Angeles City Hall power pile, with vast ranging powers attendant with the police state style of law enforcement that Trutanich appears to favor.

But the ACE program is not without critics, and the lies told by Trutanich on June 5, 2011 to The Kevin James Show audience, could be a sign that the City Council is finally waking up to the "End of Days" scenario that could result from empowering Trutanich the "judge and jury" powers he seeks.

Trutanich's lies about "his" ACE Program are seen as just the
latest of a series of lies that Trutanich followers are being fed
as the former Plaintiff's Attorney steps up his campaign for DA.
(Credit: Los Angeles Dragnet)

Trutanich's desperation may be due to the fact that the ACE Program is inching closer and closer to a vote by the full City Council. As it gets closer to that vote, Trutanich seems to be ratcheting up the hyperbole with his followers, promising a more efficient way of obtaining "compliance" from municipal code violators, as well as a new stream of revenue for the cash strapped City Council from the "Administrative Penalties" that Trutanich says will be as simple as "traffic tickets." Simple for who? The City in collecting the money, or those hit with traffic ticket-like fines with no real hope of fighting them?

But as to the lies themselves, Trutanich appears to have told at least two; the first was that the ACE Program was an idea he had when he became City Attorney. He didn't say it once, he said it twice, so there's no excuse about misunderstanding exactly what he said.

Trutanich's claim that the ACE Program was an idea he had when he became City Attorney
appears to be completely false based on the original motion instructing Trutanich to
create an administrative citation ordinance. 
But documents on file at the City Clerk's office show that the idea for the ACE Program came from Councilmember Paul Koretz, and as the Los Angeles Dragnet is reporting, it was an idea that Koretz's Chief of Staff, Richard Llewellyn (a former aide to City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo) had long before Trutanich ran for City Attorney.

The second lie that Trutanich told, is that he had shared his idea with other cities. Trutanich specifically mention the cities of San Diego and Santa Monica, and implied that they had implemented his plan and that it was "working just fine." But both of those cities already had their own administrative citation programs in force long before Trutanich was asked by CM Koretz to write LA's version of those ordinances, indeed, Trutanich despatched three of his top aides to San Diego to study and copy the San Diego program.

For those doubting these startling revelations, Trutanich's lies can be heard on YouTube or using the embedded player here:

TRU is False was one of the first to question the motives and desirability of allowing Trutanich to be given the extensive powers that are embedded deep inside the proposed ordinance, and there now seems to be a general acceptance that whilst the concept of and Administrative Citation Enforcement program could be a benefit to Los Angeles, the notion of giving Trutanich control over it is definitely not a good idea.

Sharp eyed observers will note that the latest iteration of ACE Program has stripped away Trutanich's control over where the administrative penalty money will go. But the all-important subpoena power remains, and if Trutanich succeeds in retaining this power he will have made fools of his enemies in City Hall who quashed of his Grand Jury plans last year.

Critics still believe that the City Council needs to remove Trutanich from having any involvement with the ACE Program because it still could be used just like traffic tickets - to raise money, rather than to promote public safety. As the Los Angeles Dragnet observed, "if you cannot trust the City Attorney to be truthful about where it came from, how can you trust him when he tells you where it's going?"

Credits for this report:

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich Accused of Lies and Plagiarism over ACE Program - Politics Without Mercy

Los Angeles City Attorney Lies About His ACE Program - Los Angeles Dragnet

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich Accused of Lies & Plagiarism over ACE Program - Political Pantloads

Trutanich Tells Tales To Tout ACE Program - Los Angeles News Alerts

Developing ...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Carmen Trutanich's Broken Promises Remembered on Memorial Day

Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich made a promise not use the City Attorney's Office as a political springboard to higher office. It was not only a signed sworn promise, but a theme he mentioned time and time again both before and after he was elected - he was committed to serving a full first term, and seeking a second term. He specifically stated he would NOT run for District Attorney.

The Los Angeles Dragnet recently reported that Trutanich violated that promise as early as 18 months into office when he announced his willingness to run for DA, and then set up a bogus website to make it look like "hundreds of law enforcement officers" are pleading with him to run for DA.

The Political Pantloads Blog has published this YouTube video for Memorial Day, to remind people of Trutanich's broken promises.

Quite how Carmen "The Clown" expects anyone to take him seriously is a mystery.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trutanich's Campaign - Deception, Deceit and Duplicity Alleged

Carmen the Clown Trutanich's campaign to become District Attorney officially started with a highly questionable email from Sheriff Lee Baca directing recipients to visit a website hysterically named "Draft Trutanich For District Attorney" purportedly set up by an anonymous group of law enforcement individuals who, independent from Trutanich, wanted to urge Trutanich to run for District Attorney.

Today, the Los Angeles Dragnet supplied lurid details indicating that Trutanich was actually behind the entire scam, a rather unsophisticated attempt to fool voters.

The Dragnet uncovered photographs believed to only have been in Trutanich's possession were transferred to the straw man who created Trutanich's phony website using a secret file-sharing account, and that those photographs were used by Trutanich on his bogus campaign website.

Full details of Trutanich's alleged Deception, Deceit and Duplicity at the Los Angeles Dragnet.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Trutanich's Turbid Ties to Lobbyist Surface In LA Weekly Report

The LA Weekly mentions City Attorney Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich no less than 11 times in it's article "How Lobbyist John Ek Gets His Way at City Hall," published on April 21, 2011.

But Trutanich isn't mentioned as taking an "aggressive stance" against lobbyist John Ek's efforts to allow his client, HMS Host, to hold on to its concessions at Los Angeles Airport where LA Weekly says HMS Host has given LAX a reputation for "lousy food."

Few would disagree that food concessions at LAX are 'lousy,' add 'expensive' and 'surly' to a long list of complaints about HMS Host too.

But far from defending traveller's rights, Trutanich seems to be on the side of Ek's client here, and LA Weekly unveils a long and tangled series of dealings between Trutanich and Ek which might explain why Trutanich was so willing to take sides with Ek and HMS Host.

LA Weekly reveals that both Trutanich and Ek are part of San Pedro's power-broker community. No real surprise then, that during Mayor Jim Hahn's administration, Ek's lobbying activities came under investigation when, according to Gene Maddaus at the LA Weekly, one of Ek's airport clients, URS, "complained to investigators that he had urged them to donate to Hahn's anti-secession campaign. This was supposedly done at the behest of Hahn's appointee to the Airport Commission, and Ek allegedly warned of the consequences of not contributing." Maddaus said.

Maddaus reports that Ek denied the pay-to-play allegation, but was nevertheless "called as a witness before the grand jury, and sought counsel from a well-known local defense attorney — Carmen Trutanich, now L.A. city attorney. Ek was never charged." Said Maddaus.

Trutanich's ties to Ek did not end there. Two weeks before Trutanich launched his bid for City Attorney, he had a small dinner at Trani's Ristorante to discuss the campaign. Trutanich's two guests were Janice Hahn and John Ek. Since becoming City Attorney, Trutanich and Ek have continued their association. Recently, at the Dalmation-American Club fish luncheon, another of Trutanich's regular haunts, "Ek greeted Trutanich with a bear hug." Maddaus said.

So when the thorny question of whether the Airport commission should evict HMS Host, (Host placed last of four bidders for the lucrative LAX concession contract), Trutanich came to Ek and HMS Host's rescue; he declared that there was a conflict of interest.

No, not the conflict of interest that you might expect - that Trutanich and Ek enjoy a close relationship, but rather that the LAX commission president, Alan Rothenberg, had a conflict of interest;  he is on the board of California Pizza Kitchen, and CPK is part of Host's concessionaires. But rather than simply require Rothenberg to recuse himself, and let the Airport commission hear HMS Host's appeal, according to Maddaus "Trutanich decided to disqualify the entire commission. That decision changed the entire process, sending the appeal into a different arena, one more solicitous to Host. The appeal went to the council's Board of Referred Powers, an obscure panel chaired by Cardenas and featuring Hahn as a member."

The result of Trutanich's decision has been to delay the removal of HMS Host and prolong the agony of travelers; earning HMS Host far more than Ek's fees.

But wait, there's more. According to Maddaus, one of Trutanich's deputies "Kelly Martin, the city attorney assigned to LAX, wrote a response that strongly defended the airport" from accusations by HMS Host that "the bidding process was flawed and should be thrown out." In a surprise move, Trutanich re-assigned Martin to other duties, doubtless much to the relief of Ek and HMS Host.

Of course, Trutanich's decision to remove Martin probably has an explanation that might pass the straight-face test, but then again, Trutanich also has a reputation for re-assigning his deputies for questionable reasons, as in the case of deputy city attorney Tom Griego, who Trutanich transferred to the criminal division in order that Griego could call himself a "criminal prosecutor" in his bid to fool voters into electing him as a Superior Court Judge.

Trutanich's dealings with Ek must surely make some wonder who the "people's lawyer" is really working for.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Trutanich's DA Campaign Accused of Starting With "A Lie and an Ethics Violation"

Carmen Trutanich launched his campaign to become District Attorney with everything expected of him; accusations of lying and an ethics violation.

The Los Angeles Dragnet revealed a pathetic attempt by the Trutanich
Campaign to fool voters into thinking he's being "drafted" for the job. 

The Los Angeles Dragnet reported that news of Trutanich's official announcement of his campaign to become District Attorney was tainted with a lie and a deception.

The source of the accusation of misconduct by Trutanich was an anonymous comment posted in response to Dragnet's original piece describing how Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca was being used to "draft" Trutanich to run for the office that he swore he would not pursue at least until completing a full first term as City Attorney. "8:45AM" commented that it was  "Interesting that Carmen the Clown Trutanich starts his campaign off with a lie and an ethics violation."

The anonymous commenter gave sufficient details of an alleged deception designed to create the appearance that an anonymous group of law enforcement leaders were actively trying to persuade a reluctant Trutanich to go back on his sworn campaign pledge not to use the position of City Attorney as a political springboard to higher office.

Fortunately, the Dragnet did an excellent job of dismantling a trail of deception showing that Trutanich's chief investigator, Gary Schram, and the creator of the DraftTrutanich4DA website, Jim Royer, were members of the same law enforcement organization, the CNOA, and that the pair worked closely together there. That the organization held events where Trutanich's own staff were taking RSVP's. The whole thing looks like a massive scam because Trutanich did not disclose his close connection to the so-called "anonymous group of law enforcement leaders," because he obviously knew them, and perhaps equally obviously, told them what to do.

The "lie," then, appears to be that Trutanich claimed no connection to the DraftTrutanich4DA website, and the ethics violation appears to relate to the failure of the DraftTrutanich4DA website to disclose who is paying for the service it is providing to Trutanich.

We couldn't say it better than "8:45AM" "It's a helluva way to start a campaign; a lie and an ethics violation."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Palisades Preservation Association Urges 'NO' on Trutanich's ACE

Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich got a slap in the face from the Palisades Preservation Association according to the Los Angeles Dragnet.

The Dragnet reported first major blow to Trutanich's ACE Program with the news that the PPA had filed a 20-page letter with the Los Angeles City Council's Budget and Finance Committee. The letter urges the Budget and Finance committee to vote against Trutanich's ACE, advising them that the PPA Board unanimously found that Trutanich's "ACE ordinance is not only unnecessary, but subject to abuse."

The PPA letter can be found using the City Clerk's Connect service, under Council File 10-0085. It is an 'on line' document entitled Communications from Public, and can be accessed using the link below:

The PPA letter is the third objection that the City Council has received to Trutanich's ACE, and it seems that finally people are waking up to the real threat presented by giving Trutanich more power.

The Dragnet also reports that Trutanich has been told to keep his mouth shut about the ACE Program lest he inadvertently reveals the true target of his money-making plan. It is highly likely that Trutanich has already prepared a list of "Target Rich" neighborhoods in Los Angeles where his ACE Program enforcers, the Building & Safety Department's Code Enforcement Officers, have figured out where to get the most bang for the buck - the Westside of Los Angeles.

Although East LA and South Central probably have the highest occurrences of minor code violations, it is the wealthy Westside that has the money to pay the fines that Truanich is most likely counting on.

Hopefully, more local associations will get the message and spread the word.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Perry Mason to LA City Council: Please do not allow Trutanich to play the ACE card

Los Angeles City Councilmembers will soon be asked to vote on the Administrative Citations Program, or "ACE" as City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has been calling it, ever since Councilmember Koretz suggested a plan to improve the enforcement of building code violations.

Trutanich may have considered the passage of what seems to have become 'his' ordinance, a done deal, however, an individual who goes by the name 'Perry Mason' may have thrown a wrench in the works.

On Tuesday, March 29, the entice city council, the Mayor, Controller and the press received another email from 'Perry Mason' asking that the brakes be put on Trutanich's "ACE," - something which apparently bears little resemblance to anything Koretz had in mind.

Mason has supplied a lengthy analysis identifying what he (or she?) believes are seven major defects with the Trutanich's "ACE" which will give the City's prosecutor:

1) power to administer what is basically a justice system.
2) power to appoint his prosecutors to be judges.
3) power to instruct his judges on how to decide cases.
4) a financial stake in the outcome of cases.
5) control over the way revenue from fines, penalties and costs are disbursed.
6) Grand Jury-like powers to subpoena witnesses, document and other evidence.
7) power to deny persons forced to appear in his courts the right to a public defender.

Mason makes a compelling case of what appears to be inherent constitutional violations due to conflicts of interest, undue influence and separation of powers issues, and points out that Trutanich's medical marijuana ordinance was recently found to be unconstitutional suggesting that Trutanich's idea of figuring out what is constitutional by asking the judge, was heavily criticized as a violation of separation of powers itself, by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mohr.

Regardless of whether Trutanich's "ACE" is unconstitutional, few would disagree that Trutanich's actions when it comes to exercising his prosecutorial powers, should give the Council and Los Angelenos grave concerns should he succeed in gaining additional powers through his ACE program.

Rather than have the council quash Trutanich's "ACE" altogether, Mason suggests removing the City Attorney's Office from having any control over the program, and handing control to an independent body like the City Ethics Commission.

Trutanich will most likely not be pleased by the unwelcome analysis by Mason, and is probably keen to learn whether Mason, who insists on using a pseudonym for fear of retaliation, is an insider - one of his own people who have gone rouge.

If Trutanich is cut out of his "ACE" it will be a major blow to his aspirations to become DA or even be re-elected as CA. It is likely that Trutanich is becoming increasingly concerned about his political future as former supporters are keeping their distance.

Here's the full text of the Perry Mason email:

For some months now City Attorney Trutanich has been bragging about 'his ACE program' and how he will save the City of Los Angeles with his program. As obnoxious as Trutanich's bragging is, there is some truth to the argument that the ordinance proposed well over a year ago by Councilmembers Kortez and Parks could be a valuable tool in enforcing the City's municipal code without resort to the criminal courts system.

However, in the time that Trutanich has taken to write the ordinance, you might well agree that the original one-page proposal has been hijacked and tortured into eighteen pages of complicated legalese that goes far beyond anything originally envisioned, and has likely become as unconstitutional due to his efforts to inject himself into a power-play position in his "ACE."

Be assured, with a multiplicity of well-concealed legalese, Trutanich has created a program that, even if it were constitutional, is nothing short of a grab for power, influence and cash.

Much has already been written about all that is wrong with Trutanich's "ACE" - just Google the phrase "Trutanich ACE Program" to see what I mean. If Trutanich's "ACE" passes as it is currently written, much more will be written; most likely by civil libertarians as well as the courts. It is not hard to imagine the courts expressing their astonishment that the City Attorney of the nation's second largest city did not understand that his "ACE"  undermines Due Process, Separation of Powers, and Conflict of Interest by authorizing the City's chief prosecutor to:

1) Administer what is basically a justice system.
2) Select and appoint judges, I know, he calls them 'administrative hearing officers,' but they are judges and he has been bragging about how he's going to be able to make his prosecutors into judges for the ACE program, so that's what they are.
3) Instruct his judges on how to decide cases.
4) Have a financial interest in the outcome of cases.
5) Have control over the way revenue from the fines, penalties and costs are disbursed.
6) Grant himself Grand Jury-like powers to subpoena witnesses, document and other evidence, perhaps on as flimsy a suspicion as fueled Trutanich's 'criminal aspects' investigation into the Michael Jackson memorial, or his theory that the student political protesters were 'professionals.'
7) Deny people forced to appear in Trutanich's courts the right to a public defender.

Think I'm joking? Take a real close look at Trutanich's ACE, it's under Council File 10-0085 "Report from City Attorney." Here's the link:

And here's what you will find:

Points 1) 2) & 3) above are contained in Section 11.2.09 of Trutanich's ACE which gives him the power to create the system and staff it with his own judges. Section 11.2.09 in fact reads "The City Attorney shall develop written policies and procedures for the hearing and appeals process in addition to developing written policies and procedures for the selection and appointment of one or more independent Administrative Hearing Officers to hear and decide administrative citation appeals. The administrative hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures promulgated by the City Attorney."

It seems highly likely that there is an inherent conflict of interest and violation of Due Process in allowing the City's prosecutor to set up a court system, staff it with prosecutor-judges, and tell them what to do.

Points 4) & 5) are contained in Section 5.121.11 of Trutanich's ACE, where the conflict of interest would seem to be even more problematic because of Trutanich's ability to control the disposition of money collected by his prosecutor-judges. Section 5.121.11(a) of Trutanich's ACE, called the "Creation and Administration of Fund" reads as follows "There is hereby created and established in the Treasury of the City of Los Angeles a special fund to be known as the Code Compliance Fund (the "Fund"). All monies collected pursuant to Chapter 1, Article 1.2, Sections 11.2.1 and following, of the Los Angeles Municipal Code shall be deposited into the Fund. The fund shall be administered by the City Attorney's Office." So it does at least appear that Trutanich has a considerable financial interest in his ACE because he has the power to disburse those funds after paying himself for the costs of running his Program. Ask yourself, how much of the money that should go to the General Fund will end up paying for Trutanich's prosecutor-judges? My guess is that there won't be much left after all Trutanich's costs are paid.

Point 6) Under Section 11.2.09(B)(6) of Trutanich's ACE, he has given himself Grand Jury-like subpoena powers. The Section allows Trutanich's prosecutor-judge to "subpoena witnesses, documents and other evidence in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the City Attorney." This power to order the production of documents, evidence that he otherwise has no power to obtain, presents a very real problem as there is virtually no limit as to what one of his prosecutor-judges can be ordered to force a resident or a corporation to disclose, provided that some obscure violation of the LAMC is alleged.

Point 7) I cannot refer you to any portion of Trutanich's ACE that deals with the provision of a public defender for persons who are forced by citation or subpoena to appear in Trutanich's kangaroo courts. That is because there is no provision in Trutanich's ACE for free legal defense representation. Only those who can afford to pay a defense attorney have that right, it's just too bad for anyone else. You might question why the Office of the Public Defender will not provide their services in Trutanich's ACE courts? The answer is that because the ACE program is essentially a civil proceeding, the Public Defenders Office cannot represent defendants there.

Despite the apparent unconstitutionality of Trutanich's ACE, he has peppered his proposed ordinance with language claiming his "ACE" to be "consistent with due process principles." However, you might recall that key portions of Trutanich's medical marijuana ordinance were recently found to be unconstitutional, suggesting that just because Trutanich says it is constitutional, does not mean that it is. That tends to be decided in real courts of law where Trutanich does not get to choose the judges, or tell them what to do.

Indeed, the Los Angeles Times recently reported on Trutanich's failure to understand why his medical marijuana ordinance was unconstitutional. Trutanich apparently had his deputy ask Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr  for a little guidance, a hint maybe, as to how badly they had done, and how they could fix the problem.

Judge Mohr declined to advise the City Attorney, saying the "request for guidance would violate the separation of powers between the judicial and legislative branches." It is astonishing and troubling that Trutanich would embarrass himself and our City by making such a bizarre request from a judge. I don't think Trutanich understands the role of a judge, and looking at the way he has written his "ACE" to give himself control over his judges, you might also agree.

Here's the link to the LA Times report:

Putting aside for a moment the very serious concerns all Los Angelenos should have in giving Trutanich any more power given his track record of bullying, threatening and flat out failing to grasp basic concepts of civil rights, it just doesn't seem right to put any City's Chief Prosecutor in charge of running a system of justice. That's why we have checks and balances; we don't need another McCarthy armed with J. Edgar Hoover powers.

Of course it would be highly desirable to have an alternate justice system that is separate from the traditional criminal court system which is often too busy to enforce Municipal Code violations. Even better if the fines and penalties collected by that alternate system remain in the City, rather than get taken for the most part by Sacramento. But the alternate system has to be fair and just. Letting Trutanich run that alternate system is the functional equivalent of putting the fox in charge of the hen house, and you know it.

Almost everything Trutanich has said and done since taking office screams at you that he cannot be trusted to administer his "ACE" fairly and in the interests of all Los Angelenos, even the ones that sometimes irritate us. Honorable Councilmembers, we are a tolerant and progressive society, not a third world dictatorship where thugs rule under the pretext of "doing the right thing," but it's generally what is right for them, not us.

I realize that the City could benefit in many ways by a properly administered program such as the one first envisioned by CM's Koretz and Parks, and the delay and confusion that Trutanich has caused by obscuring that original vision makes us all the more anxious to get the thing done. There is, however, still a way that this program can be made to comport with the original intent and be legal, fair and cost effective: Simply remove the City Attorney's Office from any role in the program, and place the responsibility for running the program into the hands of an independent body, much like the City Ethics Commission.

It's not such a far fetched idea, and if the program really is self-financing, what difference does it make whether the City Attorney runs it, or some other body? The costs will be recovered regardless. Bear in mind too, that the costs of having proper Administrative Hearing Officers, or judges, can be a lot less than the salary of one of Trutanich's favored deputy city attorneys. There are literally hundreds of highly qualified lawyers who would gladly volunteer their services to the City to be judges. They would gain the resume value and experience of being a judge, and the City would get the benefit of their services for a nominal cost.

Finally, I believe you should be as concerned that Trutanich appears to have taken your unquestioning support for his "ACE" for granted; not only in the remarks he makes, but also in City correspondence. I refer to what Trutanich recently said in his "Partial Response of the City Attorney's Office to the Third Financial Status Report (FSR) for FY 2010/11" which can be found under Council File 10-0600-S60 in the March 23, 2011 Report from City Attorney.

At page 2, of the report Trutanich says "Interfund transfers of City Attorney personnel from General Fund positions to newly-emerging Special Fund and Proprietary staffed positions, however, will more than offset the previous estimates for the ACE start-up and lower than expected attrition factor." 

It certainly looks like Trutanich considers your approval of his "ACE" to be a mere formality, a done deal and he is already budgeting for it. Please don't do it, there is a better way.

I respectfully write to ask you to put a stop to Trutanich's power-grab and to strip the ordinance of any powers granted to the City Attorney's Office, and instead appoint an independent body  to administer this program. In that way, the City of Los Angeles will have a constitutional, fair and effective program that cannot be abused at the whim of an overly ambitious wannabe tyrant.

Once again, I apologize for having to use a fictitious name to contact you. It is not intended to mislead you, only to protect myself from retaliation.

Respectfully yours,

Perry Mason
A pseudonym for a concerned Los Angeleno

One point Mason fails to make is that Trutanich's ACE recently got the 'Thumbs Up' from CAO Miguel Santana from the Mayor's Office. Did Santana realize exactly what he was approving, or will he change his mind after reading Mason's missive?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trutanich Re-Invents History - Claims He Shook Down AEG For $1M

When City Attorney Carmen Trutanich dropped the bombshell of there being 'criminal aspects' regarding AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial, few people expected that one year later, the whole thing would quietly 'go away' with no comment from Trutanich and the curious acceptance by Trutanich of some free tickets to see Lady GaGa at AEG's LA Live.

It now seems Trutanich is trying to re-invent history and now claims to have brokered the $1M deal.

At the time both the LA Times and the LA Daily News reported that AEG had agreed to make a $1M donation to the City of Los Angeles, and credited Councilmembers Jan Perry and Dennis Zine with negotiating the settlement. There was no comment from Trutanich who after a year of investigating had nothing but the growing reputation of being a bully, thug and braggart.

The LA Daily News reporter Rick Orlov interviewed AEG's CEO Tim Leiweke, Councilmembers Perry and Zine, and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, and reported that:

'Leiweke and AEG, which sponsored Jackson's world tour before he died, had initially refused to reimburse the city, and he [Leiweke] accused Trutanich of using bully tactics to get the company to pay. Leiweke on Friday insisted that the company agreed to pay because it was the right thing to do, not because it was legally required. In particular, he said it was the efforts by Perry and Councilman Dennis Zine that helped work out the final agreement. "I'm just glad to see this resolved," Zine said. "AEG has stepped up and is doing the right thing to resolve this." Trutanich had no comment.' Orlov said.

No comment? Nothing from the man who one year earlier basically accused AEG of 'criminal aspects?' Not even a lame claim to have somehow been involved in obtaining a donation of $1M? How very unlike the loudmouthed City Attorney not to even try to claim he was even peripherally involved.

Of course, Trutanich may have been advised to keep his big mouth shut because perhaps someone told him that his actions might be seen as using the threat of criminal proceedings to shake down a company like AEG. Doing that could see Trutanich on the wrong end of a 'criminal aspects' investigation himself, or even wearing the handcuffs he so loves to threaten to use.

So it's altogether surprising to see that Truanich is now claiming to actually have been involved in negotiating the $1M donation from AEG.

In a document entitled "Office of the City Attorney Third FSR Budget Briefing 3/23/11 FY 2010/11 Successes To Date," Trutanich now claims that:

"On June 18, 2010, the City Attorney's Office, in conjunction with Councilmember Dennis Zine, was able to negotiate a $1 million donation to the General Fund by AEG and the Estate of Michael Jackson to reimburse costs incurred by the City during the Jackson Memorial Service in July 2009."

Click here to go the City Clerk's website and then use the "Report from the City Attorney" link to download the entire document.

Of course Trutanich's report may be a little incomplete and inaccurate, perhaps it should read:

"On June 18, 2010, the City Attorney's Office concluded it's 'criminal aspects' investigation of AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial. The City Attorney's Office Bureau of Investigations spent an undisclosed sum conducting the 12 month 'criminal aspects' investigation based on rumors from TMZ before coming up with goose eggs, at which time Councilmembers Jan Perry and Dennis Zine were able to negotiate with AEG for a $1M donation to the City's General Fund, and the City Attorney's Officeholder Committee received some free tickets to a Lady GaGa performance."

Is it so easy to re-write history these days? Trutanich made a complete fool of himself and his office with his foolhardy 'criminal aspects' allegations. Perhaps, if he had kept his big mouth shut AEG would have been willing to pick up the tab a lot sooner? But AEG were most likely unwilling to consider doing anything while Trutanich was blundering around claiming to have a 'Bureau of Investigations' working 24/7 to solve the crime of the century.

The people of Los Angeles need to be reminded of the facts and monumental failure of Trutanich to run a prosecutorial agency responsibly before they further empower him to ride roughshod over the City with his bizarre ACE Program.

Interestingly, Truanich included this reference to his ACE Program with the documents containing the myth about his claim to be instrumental in the AEG $1M donation.

Los Angelenos, you've been warned.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trutanich Oath Of Office Picture Removed From Website - ContractGate Scandal Develops

"When LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich took office, his staff removed a handy search tool from the city attorney’s website that allowed the public to search through various city contracts,"according to  FishBowl LA.

However, it seems that Trutanich's removal of the of the search tool is not the only victim of what some might say is selective website editing.

The City Attorney's website also features countless photos of Trutanich "doing the right thing" and the main page displays a rotating photo montage about the office of City Attorney, which of course has a photo of Trutanich. The current Trutanich photo (below) shows Carmen the CLown doing a "meet and greet."

Vital information about a Trutanich Meet & Greet with Korea Daily Leadership Prep Program
informs visitors to the City Attorney website of one of CLown's core functions.
"City Attorney Carmen Trutanich met with students from the Korea Daily Leadership Prep Program, a training course for 4th to 8th graders focused on developing leadership skills in public service. The City Attorney shared with them his insight on leadership, government, and politics," the caption reads.

What is interesting is the photo (below) that was recently deleted to make room for that vital "meet and greet" photo op.

Previously, a photo of Trutanich taking his Oath of Office reminded visitors
to the City Attorney website of the CLown's promises to Los Angelenos.
Just as with the ContractGate removal, no reason was given for why any reference to Trutanich's promises to Los Angelenos was removed. However, followers of Carmen the CLown's antics will recall that Trutanich recently announced that he did not consider himself bound by his campaign pledge not to use the office of City Attorney as a political springboard to high office, to serve a full first term, and to seek a second term.

In the absence of any explanation from the CLown as to why any reminder of promises made should be forgotten, perhaps the only rational explanation it that Trutanich is running from an inconvenient TRUth about his sincerity when it comes to making pledges, promises or undertakings.

This picture of City Attorney Carmen "The CLown" Trutanich taking the Oath of Office
was removed from the City Attorney website, perhaps in anticipation of embarrassing
questions over the CLown's seriousness when it comes to making oaths, promises or pledges. 
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Trutanich had no qualms about reneging on his campaign pledge when he was questioned about rumors that he will run for District Attorney in 2012, one year before his first term as City Attorney expires. Perhaps the removal of the Oath of Office photo was in preparation for the hailstorm of criticism that will greet Trutanich should he officially announce his intentions.

Interestingly, the removal of reference to promises made is not limited to the removal of Trutanich's oath of office photo. It seems that if you want to check on the other promises and pledges made by the CLown by visiting his old campaign website,, you won't even find a Korean "meet and greet."

Despite the byline, "Find the TRUth," the old campaign website now hawks foreign made electronic goods like the giant flat screen tv that Trutanich had installed in his executive office.

Nice cover up, you might say. Doubtless the five candidates who have officially announced their candidacy to replace Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley in 2012, will provide Los Angelenos with some reminders of the CLown's pledges, promises and oaths.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Trutanich Transparency Questioned As ContractGate Unfolds

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's commitment to transparency is coming under fire from sources other than TRU is False! Actions taken by Trutanich staffers to remove a search tool that allows the public to search contracts awarded by Trutanich as City Attorney were revealed last week by Fishbowl LA.

The ContractGate scandal started when the Fishbowl LA news piece was published last week. Their website posts "LA Media News, Unspooled," and it is curious that their news piece featuring a San Diego based effort called "Flashlight" (which makes information concerning contributions to politicians and the contracts that politicians award easier for the public to find) chose to use City Attorney Trutanich as the poster child for what not to do.

Fishbowl LA states that: "So long as Flashlight keeps its link index fresh, the site could prove extremely useful as a reporting tool. That said, keeping public information links fresh is not easy. For instance, when LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich took office, his staff removed a handy search tool from the city attorney’s website that allowed the public to search through various city contracts."

Fishbowl LA's allegation appears to be partially borne out by a quick look at the City Attorney's website which has a very untidy and disorganized appearance compared to other City websites. Of course photo-ops of Trutanich feature most prominently, perhaps underlying Trutanich's main goal - self promotion. But if there is a Contract Search Tool, it is well hidden, and we could not find it.

So what is it that Trutanich is trying to make harder to find? Could there be awkward and embarrassing contracts that the City Attorney's Office has awarded?

Trutanich was known to be highly critical of his predecessor, Rocky Delgadillo, for hiring 'politicals' who engaged in fundraising and media promotion on the taxpayer dime, and removal of a contract search tool might make it harder for the public to research precisely why certain people are employed by Trutanich.

It seems that, increasingly, the media are discovering more and more reasons why Trutanich is not the person he claimed to be, and even the Los Angeles Dragnet published a story on ContractGate last week.  The Dragnet has been a strong supporter of Trutanich, however, recently the Dragnet started linking to articles written here revealing less than favorable pieces about the onetime "People's Lawyer."

Whatever the reason, for someone who promised 'Transparency' prominently in his campaign and well into his administration, it seems that FishBowl LA has unearthed yet another reason to believe TRU is False!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Trutanich'a ACE Program Hides Power-Grab and Cash Stash

Carmen Trutanich has a plan to save the City's budget problems, as well as his own. It's called the "ACE" Program, aka Administrative Citation Enforcement Program, aka Carmen's Revenge. Just like just about everything else from Carmen the Clown, it ain't what it seems, and it stinks.

Carmen Trutanich's "ACE" Program looks like another power-grab to give the
City Attorney more power, money and influence.
As previously reported, City Attorney Trutanich has a secret plan to gain more power, more money, and greater influence as a "judge-maker." It's all dressed up as an innocent administrative ordinance designed to make code enforcement more efficient. In reality, it gives Trutanich the power to fine city residents and create an alternative "TRU-Justice System" where pesky details like the constitution, separation of powers, due process, and basic notions of fairness won't get in his way.

Council File 10-0085 contains the thinly disguised details of Trutanich's revenge on the City Council for killing his previous power-grab; The TRU Grand Jury. 

After you read the unctuously worded introductory letter, check the text of the proposed ordinances for the following ways Trutanich is making his power-grab:

"I OWN THE STINKIN' JUDGES!" The ACE Program will work for Trutanich because he's designed it to give him the power to chose the judges and tell them what to do. Take a look at Section 11.2.09 "The City Attorney shall create an administrative hearing and appeals process..." and you won't find the word "Judge" mentioned anywhere. That's because Trutanich calls them "Administrative Hearing Officers," but they are judges and they will sit in Trutanich's Kangaroo Courts.

You also won't find any mention of where these "Administrative Hearing Officers" are supposed to come from either. That's because Trutanich already controls the Dispute Resolution Program and guess what? it already has Hearing Officers who currently hear minor disputes. But in order for Trutanich to "make it happen," he will probably use his existing Deputy City Attorneys to sit as Judges. "It's a great way of saving money." he will probably explain. But what he won't tell you is that not only does this give him the power to exert undue influence over his judges, but it also gives him real power; he can be a "judge-maker."

Just imagine the bargaining power Trutanich will have if he can "make" judges. It's probably everything he's ever dreamed of, and everyone else's nightmare.

"GIMME MY GRAND JURY POWERS!" One of the reasons Trutanich gave for wanting his own Grand Jury was the ability to issue subpoenas - legal commands to haul persons into court, and order the production of documents. Trutanich probably still believes he could have proven his crass 'criminal aspects' investigation into the Michael Jackson memorial if he had a Grand Jury that could have ordered the production of AEG CEO Tim Leiwecke's personal records.

Thankfully, our civil liberties were protected when the Council squashed Trutanich's plan. So it's Plan B for Trutanich, and that's why Section 11.2.09(B)(6) gives Trutanich's Judges the power to "... subpoena witnesses, documents and other evidence in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the City Attorney." Nice try, but if you want to be a modern day McCarthy, find a bunch of less well-informed people to empower you.

"SHOW ME THE MONEY!" Section 5.121.11 creates the "Code Compliance Fund." This is where all the money collected by Trutanich's Kangaroo Courts will go. And guess who is in charge of the fund? That's right, according to Section 5.121.11(a) "The fund shall be administered by the City Attorney's Office." Of course, the money collected by Trutanich's Judges will be passed on to the responsible departments and any surplus goes to the General Fund. But, course, Trutanich gets to take his piece of the action; the vig, such as the costs of running the program, his judges' salaries, and any other costs he can tack-on to free himself from the budget control the Mayor and City Council has placed on Trutanich.

This is another one of Trutanich's Secret Weapons that needs to be nixed. Quickly.

The full text of Trutanich's plan is available for download from the City Clerk's file management system which can be accessed using this link:

The text of Trutanich's ACE Program can be found by using the link above to
take you to this screen. Then click the .pdf icon to download the entire file.
Why should anyone care if Trutanich gets these new powers? You might think that the ACE program is  sensible solution to an age-old problem of finding more efficient ways to enforce minor violations of the code. You would be right. Other cities have come up with similar programs, but there are two major differences between what other cities have done, and what Trutanich wants to do.

First, other cities don't give their City Attorney as much power as Trutanich's ACE plan.

Second, other cities don't have a City Attorney who has already demonstrated ample reasons to believe that he cannot be trusted with any more power that he already, regrettably, has.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trutanich Accussed of Bluffing - Makes A Change from Bullying, Bragging &c.

Carmen Trutanich appears to be gazing longingly
at a pair of handcuffs ...
(Photo Credit: LA Times / LA Dragnet)
Carmen "The Clown" Trutanich appears to have shot himself in the foot with his latest threat. This time he's not threatening to arrest anyone, or investigate anyone - except perhaps the author of a 2-page plan to take away his power to prosecute.

The Los Angeles Dragnet, a long time supporter of Trutanich, has recently changed direction and today published the 2-page plan penned by the pseudonymous 'Perry Mason.'

In essence 'Mason' proposes that the City of Los Angeles uses the City Controller to investigate the actual cost of running Trutanich's criminal division, as it appears the cost of prosecuting minor city crimes could be more economically achieved using the District Attorney's Office.

Trutanich, last week, closed down two offices causing LAPD to have to drive to downtown Los Angeles to file these minor crimes. Clearly 'Mason' believes Trutanich is bluffing and has asked the Mayor, Controller and the City Council to call Trutanich's bluff.

The City Hall Insider also published links to the 'Mason' plan, and quoted a line that perhaps sums up the Clown better than any other we've recently heard: "... this would not be the first time Trutanich has gone to a gunfight at sundown with a revolver full of blanks."

'Mason's' plan, if taken seriously, could cause a major showdown between Carmen the Clown and City Hall, as even if the Dragnet's analysis is correct; that a City Charter amendment would be required, it would be interesting to watch the Clown explain why he should not be audited, and why it makes more sense to pay such a high price just so that the City Attorney can prosecute minor crimes.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tru Secret Weapons - Puppet Judges

Carmen "The Clown" Trutanich's attempts to plant a "friendly" judge in office number 117 of the Los Angeles Superior Court failed dismally when Tom Griego failed to gain enough votes to win a judicial appointment in the November mid-term elections. Trutanich had endorsed Griego, and had even enabled Griego to obtain a misleading ballot designation of "Criminal Prosecutor," through the use of a controversial internal transfer, as previously reported.

But it seems Trutanich's plans to control the administration of justice went beyond trying to sick an "Unqualified" judge on voters. Thanks to an anonymous tip, TRU is False can reveal that Trutanich had planned to set up his own Kangaroo Courts where Deputy City Attorneys - "Criminal Prosecutors" according to Trutanich's Griego standard, would sit as Judge and Jury in cases involving "Administrative Penalties."

Better yet, there would be no right to a public defender to represent those forced to appear before Trutanich's version of the Star Chamber, thereby ensuring that Trutanich's Supreme Court would not have to bother with pesky details like Constitutional rights including those established in the Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Amendments.

Trutanich's secret weapon was designed to generate vast sums of revenue from the Administrative Penalties which would be shared with the City of Los Angeles and the City Attorney's Office, and was believed to be one of several money generating weapons that the Trutanich regime were designing in order to fight the budget cuts by imposing Administrative Penalties on homeowners and businesses who dared to violate the Los Angeles Municipal Code by, for example, not obtaining permits for new water heaters, or allowing the grass to grow too high in their front yard.

Although many within the Trutanich regime were said to be "horrified" and "appalled" at Trutanich's apparent ignorance of basic notions of Fairness, Due Process and Conflict of Interest, the nighttime law school graduate could not be convinced that the idea was basically unconstitutional, if not downright insane.

Trutanich assigned a Special Assistant to oversee the task force of attorneys who would develop this, the first of several similar, stunning secret weapons.  Unfortunately, early tests were not successful. Those commanded to sell the thinly disguised assault on the rights of homeowners and businesses as a simple "Regulatory Ordinance," reported that they were quite unable to keep a straight face when explaining Trutanich's vision to others.

When news of the test failures were reported to Trutanich in one of his routine secret briefings, raised voices were heard outside the closed doors of the Eighth Floor "TruBunker,"apparently similar to the ravings of a dictator who accuses those who "do not obey orders" to be "traitors."

Trutanich recently confirmed the existence of his "Secret Weapons" program when he told LA Times Reporter Jim Newton that "... suggestions from the city attorney's office on how to raise revenue — by, say, giving the office the power to collect city debts and oversee fines for violating administrative codes — are routinely allowed to "age nicely," as Trutanich put it."

Perhaps the City Council has more sense than we often credit them with - putting the brakes on a power crazed egomaniac seems like one of their better moves.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Trutanich Is The New McCarthy

Joseph McCarthy and Carmen "The Clown" Trutanich
Can you tell the difference?
Both the Los Angeles Times and the LA Weekly yesterday published articles about Trutanich. The Los Angeles City Attorney is running for District Attorney and has secured the services of John Shallman as campaign manager. This was previously reported on Political Pantloads, as was the LA Weekly's observation that the relationship between former supporter Steve Cooley and the Clown of City Hall is over; "Cooley was livid"said the LA Weekly, when he found out that Trutanich was running for District Attorney - the Clown didn't even have the guts to tell Cooley, he had to hear about it second hand.

Comments to the LA Times Op-Ed piece were interesting, especially this one from anonymous blogger "Truth and Justice for All," we repeat it here because it has some highly insightful comments on the real Trutanich and probably explains why Jim Newton's Op-Ed piece was not as complete an excoriation of Trutanich as it should have been - Newton got swayed by Trutanich's double-speak rambling and teary-eyed false sincerity:

"The truth about Trutanich is really disturbing. I believe he's a con man of the first order. Just look at how he tried to play you Jim - first he bambozzles you with rambling responses to questions, then, when you see through the "BS," he plays the emotion card and does the teary eyed "I'm just trying to do the right thing" act. What you may not realize is that every moment of his affable bumbling emotional fool routine, is just that; an act. It's designed to fool you, designed to disarm your criticism and he is a master at doing it. 

After lunch I bet he gave you a bear hug and a slap on the back after luch, and promised you would be "friends for life." Sorry, but it's the line he uses all the time and he delivers it beautifully, but while you're all overcome with this extragavent expression of emotion, he's looking at you with eyes colder than an aligator's, hoping he can turn you and use you. 

It's not really surprising; 20 years as a successful defense attorney, Trutanich learnt how to use distraction and deception to be an effective advocate for his client. That's no disrespect to defense attorneys, it's what they have to do to give their often guilty clients the zealous representation that the law demands. But it's not duty of a prosecutor to win at all costs - we don't want another McCarthy in power."

"Truth and Justice for All" writes with a passion an insight that can only come from someone close enough to Trutanich to know his modus operandi, his "schtick" - distraction, disarmament and utter insincerity.

Both the LA Times and the LA Weekly mentioned Trutanich's failed bid to get his own Grand Jury, but it was "Truth and Justice for All" who made the darkest connection of all; "We don't want another McCarthy in power."

The comparison to Joseph McCarthy is not without merit. Trutanich wanted his own Grand Jury to be a veritable Star Chamber, where Trutanich could grill and grind his enemies on the flimsiest of evidence, much like McCarthy did with his inquisition. It's not hard to imagine the long line of Trutanich's enemies outside his secret Grand Jury room, and it's not hard to imagine just how abusive Trutanich's use of that power might be. We got a glimpse of that over the billboard issue when Trutanich jailed a businessman on a $1M arrest warrant that a court later reduced to $150k - still well above the schedule bail for a misdemeanor violation of the City Code.

Interesting, if you look at the timing of Trutanich's bid to get his Star Chamber, it was around the time that he began to realize that his "criminal aspects" investigation into the Michael Jackson memorial was going nowhere. There was no evidence to back-up Trutanich's bombshell statement to the City Council that there were "criminal aspects" to anything.

But if Trutanich had Grand Jury powers he could haul AEG's Tim Leiweke in to his secret court and subpoena every shred of paper that might prove a connection to some "criminal aspect" to what most people believe was an appropriate, if expensive, memorial to one of America's greatest musical talents.

This is the TRUe threat of Trutanich gaining Grand Jury powers, and while the City Council put an end to that nightmare violation of civil rights, it's only a temporary fix. If Trutanich succeeds in his bid to become District Attorney he gets instant access to not one but two secret Grand Juries, and you can bet they will be in session 24/7.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Carmen "The Clown" Trutanich hides behind Chief Deputy Bill Carter
to deliver another empty threat - this time to stop prosecuting crimes due to budget cuts.
Carmen "the Clown" Trutanich apparently choose "duck and cover" as a strategy to once again bemoan proposed budget cuts to the City Attorney's Office, perhaps he should be re-named Carmen "the Coward" Trutanich?

Last year, when told that the City Attorney's Office would have to share the pain of everyone else in the recession, the Clown chose Special Assistant Jane Usher to deliver a sharply worded email to attack the Mayor for cutting his budget. That didn't work out too well for the Clown, so this year he choose his Chief Deputy Bill Carter, to deliver the message. Carter told the LA Times that "the cuts could lead to fewer prosecutions of misdemeanor crimes."

According to the LA Times, Carter's belief is that a $1M reduction in the City Attorney's budget will cause him to have to "... prioritize those cases in which suspects need to be held and cases filed," Carter said. That's political double-speak for a threat not to prosecute cases in retaliation for the budget cut.

It's not really a change of tactics for the Clown; the use of threats seems to be Trutanich's answer to everything, but threatening not to prosecute crimes might work for the Clown, just as threatening not to imprison criminals, or give them an early release, has worked for the Sheriff in the past.

Of course, many might be wondering why Trutanich chose to once again deploy an operative to deliver the message. Perhaps it's because he made such a fool of himself the last time he opened his mouth in City Hall - that was over the "criminal aspects" he claimed to have found in the case of the Michael Jackson memorial. If Trutanich now were to cry foul to the City Council, they probably would laugh him out of the Chamber.

Another reason why Trutanich might have kept his mouth shut over the budget cuts, might be because he believes the reduced budget constitutes a "changed circumstance," and that might give him an excuse to renege on his sworn promise not to run for DA. As the Political Pantloads blog is reporting, Trutanich has retained the services of John Sallman as campaign manager for a run at the DA's Office.

Trutanich mentioned "changed circumstances" when he told the LA Times that he was "keeping his options open" about running for DA, and that he did not feel bound by his sworn promise because "circumstances had changed."

Once again, Carmen "The Clown" Trutanich reveals his shallow grasp of law, doubtless the result of a fourth rate part-time law school education. The concept of "changed circumstances" might sound impressive, but has nothing to do with relieving a party to a contract from a sworn promise.

That's the problem with Trutanich; you cannot trust anything he says to be TRUe, and when he does open his mouth, there's not telling what nonsense will come out. It must be very frustrating for Chief Deputy Bill Carter and Special Assistant Jane Usher, to have to work for someone who is a constant source of embarrassment and ridicule. Perhaps that's why they both rather like the idea of Trutanich leaving the office and running for DA?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Carmen The Clown Trutanich - The "Criminal Aspects" Bombshell.... Bombs

He had not been in office a week before Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich started bellyaching about the costs of the Micheal Jackson memorial. The idea that his city should honor the memory of Michael Jackson, who unquestionably led a controversial life, but had directly and indirectly contributed millions, if not billions to the the city's music and entertainment industry, was seemingly disgusting to Trutanich.

So incensed was LA's new City Attorney, the so-called "People's Lawyer," that you can almost imagine him seething with anger, screaming "Honoring a child molesting pedophile drug adict! Not on my watch!" to his bewildered staff.

Nobody else in City Hall seemed to have any doubts that the memorial an appropriate if expensive civic event, but Trutanich could talk of little else, and did so publicly through a media always willing to get a sound bite from the equally willing new City Attorney.

As the days rolled by Trutanich apparently became increasingly convinced that some laws must have been broken to allow the memorial to take place at AEG's Downtown Los Angeles Staples Center and LA Live, and he made no secret that he was going to throw all the weight and might of his new Bureau of Investigations behind his suspicions.

On July 21, 2009, just three weeks into his tenure, Trutanich made it known that he was going to personally address the assembled councilmembers, and in a statement broadcast all over the world, Trutanich dropped the bombshell ...

Trutanich kept a solemn, stern face as he addressed the crowded City Hall Chamber with a carefully prepared statement:
"The City Attorney's Office Bureau of Investigations is continuing to actively review the events leading up to the events held at the Staples Center and at LA Live venues downtown. My investigators have already interviewed numerous witnesses and gathered significant evidence. We are still collecting information and developing a timeline of events and we are identifying the key players involved. To that extent I invite other, others to also come forward and to provide additional information and documents relating to this matter, by contacting our office."

Los Angeles City Attorney, Carmen The Clown Trutanich smiles as he drops
the bombshell - There are "criminal aspects" to the Michael Jackson memorial.
 Despite his calm staccato delivery, Trutanich couldn't suppress a wry smile and a look of glee as he paused for effect, and then said "Our investigation has taken an unanticipated turn that raises both civil and criminal aspects." 

You could have heard a pin drop as he delivered those words. The new sheriff in town had cracked the case in less than three weeks, and he had found "criminal aspects" to the Micheal Jackson memorial.

Although Trutanich never directly stated that AEG, the owners of the Staples Center and LA Live, were the prime suspects in his criminal and civil investigation, most people could not think of any other suspect.

It was a suspicion quickly confirmed when Trutanich stated that his investigators had been in contact with attorneys for AEG to request papers.

But that was all Trutanich was prepared to say, at least publicly. To add to the solemnity and seriousness of his investigation, Trutanich stated "Ethical considerations and the need to protect the integrity of the investigation prevent me from discussing anything related to the criminal investigation." In other words, this is so important, so serious, he can no longer talk about it. It must be a huge crime, a conspiracy of gigantic proportions, and the City Attorney has the evidence and will not "publicly discus any matters that could potentially jeopardize the effectiveness of our ongoing investigation."

And so, on July 21, 2009, Trutanich left little doubt that he had the dirt, the evidence, the proof he needed to criminally prosecute those who dared hold a "criminal aspect" memorial for Michael Jackson in "his City."

Despite the weight of evidence that Trutanich must have had as a result of unleashing the awesome might and investigative power of his Bureau of Investigations on AEG, and the interviews with "numerous witnesses"  and the gathering of "significant evidence" against those responsible for the memorial, nothing more was ever heard about Trutanich's "criminal aspects."

For almost a year, as the world waited for news, no case was ever filed, no arrests were ever made.

Not even a civil case, the one that Trutanich had said "... rest assured that before I file any lawsuit to recoup taxpayers costs, I will confer with you in closed session, to brief you and obtain your concurrence on any decision that is made."

It was almost a year later, on June 18, 2010 that the LA Times that dropped the next bombshell:
LA Times reports a 'deal's been done.' AEG will pay $1.3M of the
$5M or $6M that Trutanich said had been used for the memorial.
"Last year, AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke accused City Atty. Carmen Trutanich of demanding $6 million to pay for the cost of the event. Trutanich said he asked for $2 million to $3 million at the time." according to a report filed by David Zahniser at the LA Times.

There was no statement from Trutanich about what looked like a payoff. It seems incredulous that for a man sworn to uphold the laws of the State of Californina, to enforce the laws of the City, to guard the coffers of the City Treasury, who had a case so strong that he could publicly claim had "criminal aspects" could simply 'go away' without a public statement from the "People's Lawyer." It's not as if Trutanich is camera or media shy, so why no explanation? Where's all that "transparency' that Trutanich promised to bring? Gone in flash of cash?

Perhaps justice has a price when placed in the hands of the "People's Lawyer?" A token payment of less than one fifth of what  Trutanich claimed was expended with "criminal aspects" and the whole thing never happened. It stinks. If there was crime, there should have been a criminal case. If there was a civil wrong, then file a civil case. But there was no case filed either criminal or civil, and no comment from Trutanich, so who can blame the public for thinking something very, very wrong had happened?

Interestingly, around this time, Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, was being castigated for an alleged attempted shakedown to sell President Obama's US Senate seat, yet not a word about Trutanich's apparently abandoned "Criminal Aspects" investigation?

One thing did surface on August 12, 2010, after the dust died down. Thanks to a degree of transparency provided by the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission; a report of an interesting  campaign contribution to Trutanich's Officeholder Committee.

Trutanich's Officeholder Committee received a non-monetary contribution
from AEG, according to a reported contribution on the City Ethics Commission website.
If there's anything one can be sure of regarding Trutanich's "criminal aspects" investigation, it is that Trutanich should not be allowed to become District Attorney, an ambition is widely believed to be next on the "People's Lawyer's" wish list.

Either Trutanich was grandstanding and had no case against AEG, or he abandoned a case with "both civil and criminal aspects" for a $1.3M payoff. Whichever it was, it looks like the worst kind of ethics, and Los Angelenos must demand more from their top cop.