Monday, December 26, 2011

OccupyLA uncovers inconvenient truths about Trutanich

From the Los Angeles Dragnet: Carmen Trutanich’s plan to use his position as Los Angeles City Attorney to sue OccupyLA protesters and bolster his campaign to become District Attorney, may have backfired even before it has started.

In what appears to be a response from the OccupyLA movement to Trutanich’s threat to bankrupt the protesters over the costs of the clean-up at City Hall, the OccupyLA website has started taking a look at where Trutanich is raising money, and why.

OccupyLA discovered that Trutanich is taking campaign donations from big money interests who rival to AEG’s plans to establish a world-class convention center and football stadium in downtown LA. AEG’s Farmers Field development would bring thousands of jobs to LA, but it seems Trutanich ‘likes the money’ of rival developers who want to locate the football stadium outside the City of Los Angeles in the City of Industry.

According to the OccupyLA website: “Among the many names listed, I found several executives (and one spouse) of real estate development and construction firms that made individual contributions to Trutanich’s campaign.”

John BurroughsConstruction Manager, Commerce Construction Co.
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee

Jakob AckermannDirector and Chairman of Commerce Construction Co LP, Majestic Realty Co.
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee

Gayle Garner RoskiArtist, Wife of Edward P. Roski Jr
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee

Edward P. RoskiPresident of Majestic Realty; Rated #163 on The Forbes’s 400 Richest Americans with a net worth of approximately $2.5 billion
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee
“It so happens that Edward P. Roski’s Majestic Realty Co. (along with Commerce Construction Co.) is also at work on its own stadium project in the City of Industry.” OccupyLA reports.
Trutanich has a long and bitter history with AEG. In 2009, Trutanich publicly accused AEG of ‘criminal aspects’ to their handling of the Michael Jackson memorial. The fiasco over Trutanich’s year-long ‘criminal aspects’ investigation has been well documented; it appears to have been nothing more than a cheap political stunt.

But the bad blood between AEG and Trutanich may well explain why the former 
ambulance chaser
plaintiff’s attorney turned career politician is so keen make friends with AEG’s enemies, even if it costs the City of LA much needed jobs and sales tax revenue.

One thing does appear to be certain. Trutanich’s attempt to generate publicity for his DA campaign by persecuting the OccupyLA protesters has caused them to turn their attention on him. In the process, the OccupyLA movement could well turn into his worst nightmare as they fuel the awkward questions about who is willing to pay Trutanich to become District Attorney, and why.

Trutanich might not like the ballot designation 'The 1% Candidate' that OccupyLA may award him, but he certainly looks like earning it.


Monday, December 19, 2011

'Criminal Aspects' threat made by City Attorney Trutanich challenged

The Los Angeles Dragnet has published an article condemning City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for using the public arena to allege that there were 'criminal aspects' to AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial.

A humorously crafted picture pulls together the 'criminal aspects' and sets the tone for an insightful and informative discussion on the way Trutanich apparently tried to manipulate the media into believing that there was a crime connected to the costs of the memorial service at the Staples Center.

The Dragnet suggests that Trutanich 'channeled' Joe McCarthy in his pursuit of media attention, basically concluding that Trutanich had no real evidence of any crime, but was willing to use innuendo and rumor to try to bully AEG into submission.

The article is the second in a series entitled "The Trutanich Scandals"which promises to be a regular feature on the Dragnet blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Extortion for Dummies - Trutanich denies extortion accusation as ACE Program comes under fire

The Los Angeles Dragnet reports on the latest developments in the Trutanich extortion case:

Trutanich 'extortion' accusation raises community concerns about ACE Program.

Last week's hearing on accusations that Carmen Trutanich and the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office had used 'extortion' in order to settle civil lawsuits in return for dropping criminal prosecutions has been continued to November 14, 2011.

According to the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise, Judge Georgina Torres Rizk ordered the continuance so that the District Attorney's Office can take over the case in the event that she rules that Trutanich has to be disqualified for using the threat of criminal "charges and the threat of jail to obtain an advantage in a corresponding civil suit." a  Met News Staff Writer reported.

The 'extortion' accusation was originally contained in a 17-page motion to disqualify Trutanich from the prosecution of MD Graphic Installers Inc., a Los Alamitos-based outdoor advertising installation company.

It seems that MD Graphics is not alone in accusing Trutanich of 'extortion.' The Met News reported that several other defendants have now joined in the accusation. Trutanich filed a response to the 'extortion' accusation contending that "the motion is without foundation," asserting that he has done nothing wrong.

Although Trutanich has a well-documented record of using threats of jail as a 'first response' to hot button issues, this appears to be the first time that victims of Trutanich's threats have used judicial proceedings to challenge the lawfulness of his conduct.

Billboard hypocrisy
The apparent freedom Trutanich feels he has to use the treats of criminal prosecutions to obtain cash settlements in parallel civil cases may have pleased residents angered by billboard blight. Few have sympathy for illegal billboards, indeed Trutanich himself was forced to remove his own illegal billboards after his apparent hypocrisy prompted Dennis Hathaway, president of the Ban Billboard Blight Coalition, to categorically require Trutanich to remove the illegal billboards.

Trutanich's 'extortion' plans extend beyond billboards
However, when the target shifts from using jail threats with illegal billboards to other violations of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, homeowners, renters and small businesses are now beginning to fear that Trutanich will use the same modus operandi with his much-vaunted Administrative Citation Enforcement Program (known as the 'ACE Program') to bludgeon and extort them into 'paying up or going to jail' for having an over-height yard fence, untidy front yard, cracked sidewalk paving, over-sized mailbox, or a neon store sign that is too bright, too big or just too tempting to resist for an eager code enforcement officer with a quota.

In fact the list of cash-rich targets for Trutanich's ACE Program is seemingly endless, a fact that Trutanich has doubtless boasted to Coucilmembers to gain their support. Trutanich has been desperately pitching his ACE Program as a revenue stream for the city's general fund, in the hope that their eagerness to balance the books will blind them to the extortion implicit in a program that effectively makes Trutanich the judge, jury, prosecutor and treasurer in 'administrative code enforcement' actions.

It's a very real fear that grassroots community activist Stephen Box has written about on several occasions; 'Bell tolls for Nuch's ACE Program,' and 'LA's ACE Program comes with a big tip jar.' Box seems to have spotted the same problems with Trutanich's approach to law enforcement as many others; it targets those least able to afford to defend themselves, and it uses or abuses the force of law to create a source of revenue. There's a word for that; extortion.

CM Rosendahl condemns Trutanich's ACE as 'Half-Baked'
Community concerns about Trutanich's ACE Program appear to have reached the Los Angeles City Council, with Councilmember Bill Rosendahl calling Trutanich's plan 'Half baked.' Rosendahl was, perhaps, as much incensed by Trutanich delivering a hastily revised version of ACE barely two hours before a vote on ACE was scheduled, as he was outraged by the way that Trutanich had buried, disguised or omitted critical details of how Trutanich intends to administer ACE. Rosendahl drew short of accusing Trutanich of lying about ACE, but others have been more outspoken.

Others fear 'extortion' by Trutanich
The Fair Housing Coalition recently urged stong opposition to Trutanich's ACE, accusing Trutanich of lying about his ACE Program, saying that 'A tactic the City Attorney’s office is using is saying that this Ordinance will replace Criminal Prosecution. This is a lie. In fact it will be used in addition to Criminal Prosecution.' Sounds strikingly similar to the 'extortion' accusation being made by lawyers for MD Graphics, doesn't it?

Trutanich lied about ACE during talk show interview
The Fair Housing Coalition's accusation that Trutanich lied about his ACE Program is not the first time that Trutanich has spoken falsely about ACE. Trutanich's staff were forced to admit that Trutanich had lied about ACE during an interview on the Kevin James radio show. Trutanich made several claims about ACE that were patently false; perhaps the most audacious being that he had the idea for 'ACE' when he first became City Attorney and had 'shared' the ACE Program idea with the cities of San Diego and Santa Monica. Trutanich stated that they now had the program and it was 'working just fine.'

City Attorney staff admit Trutanich lied about ACE
In reality, both cities already had their own administrative citation programs in force before Trutanich became City Attorney. Indeed, Trutanich's Chief Deputy, William Carter, admitted to the Met News that when he looked into Trutanich's 'idea' he found that 'other cities were already doing it,' Carter said. That's about as close as an admission by Carter that Trutanich lied as you'll ever get, but even Carter couldn't deny provable facts, even if his boss has no problem lying on broadcast radio.

What else has Trutanich lied about?
It's a logical question. It's a reasonable question. One who has been proven to have lied on a previous occasion, can be assumed to be lying on another occasion. One who was been hypocritical about his enforcing the law when it comes to his own billboards, can be assumed to be a hypocrite when it comes to the enforcement of the law as it relates to others. It is these questions about Trutanich's veracity and his motives that should be sending shivers up the spines of all Los Angelenos.

When the City Council finally gets to vote on the ACE Program, let's hope they have these thoughts in mind and that they balance the need of the city to be able to enforce its laws, with the need to ensure that the enforcement is fair and balanced. From the evidence presented, Trutanich seems to be the least trustworthy to be entrusted with that task. The Council can easily remove the City Attorney's Office from having any role in ACE and instead use the framework of ACE to create an independent commission to administer ACE free from any undue influence that Trutanich may chose to use.

When Judge Rizk finally rules on the accusation that Trutanich used 'extortion' to obtain multi-million dollar settlements to bankroll his cash-strapped office, let's hope that sufficient competent evidence leads her to understand the very real dangers of allowing financial expediency to overrule due process and fundamentally basic concepts of fairness and transparency. The DA's Office or the Attorney General's Office can fairly take over the prosecution of these cases free from the apparent fiscal motives displayed by Trutanich, like the way he recently tried to misappropriate a $2M settlement check from another billboard case.

'Extortion for Dummies' should not be the standard by which law is enforced in the second largest city in the nation.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Extortion accusation against City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to be heard in court Thursday

Observers are likely to cram Dept 72 of the Los Angeles Superior Court at 1945 S. Hill St., in downtown Los Angeles tomorrow, Thursday October 20, 2011 to see whether City Attorney Carmen Trutanich will appear personally to answer the accusation that he used 'extortion' to obtain cash settlements to civil cases by using the threat of criminal prosecution.

Full details of the 'extortion' accusation, contained in a 17-page motion to disqualify Trutanich and his office from continued prosecution of the case against a contractor who installed billboards and super graphic signs without permits, can be found on the following blogs.

Politics Without Pity: Extortion accusation against City Attorney Trutanich to be heard in Superior Court

Los Angeles Dragnet: Trutanich accused of 'extortion' - prosecutorial misconduct alleged over threats of jail to obtain cash settlements

Response to the 'extortion' accusation from Trutanich's office has so far been limited to a statement to the Met News Enterprise from an unnamed spokesperson that 'our office believes this is a specious motion and we anticipate filing a response soon.'

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Los Angeles City Attorney Trutanich accused of 'Extortion'

The Los Angeles Dragnet is reporting that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has been accused of 'extortion' in court papers filed on behalf of a contractor allegedly threatened with jail unless a cash settlement is offered in civil case.

"Pay up and stay out of jail" is the allegation made against Trutanich

According to the Dragnet, Trutanich has been pursuing parallel criminal and civil cases against billboard companies, and offering to drop criminal cases if large cash payments are made. That's 'extortion' according to Century City lawyers Salerno & Associates who represent one of Trutanich's alleged 'extortion' victims.

 Recently Trutanich received a $4M settlement from CBS Outdoor and then tried to divert half of the $2M to a political ally.

More at the Los Angeles Dragnet.

Monday, August 29, 2011

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich Told To Remove Billboards

Following the Los Angeles Dragnet's exclusive on City Attorney Carmen Trutanuch's alleged off-site billboards, an inspector from the Building and Safety Dept. has told Trutanich that his billboards must be removed.

This from the Dragnet:

The Los Angeles City Attorney's billboards on Ventura Boulevard "Should be taken down" Dennis Hathaway, president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, told the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise, Friday, August 26, 2011.

Despite claims that Carmen Trutanich's off-site billboards are not "Illegal Advertisements," Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety Inspector Luke Zamparini told the Met News that Trutanich's billboards “can’t stay up forever.”

Zamparini stated that he had viewed one of Trutanich's billboards using Google Maps and believed that “it looks like a vinyl sign that’s just stuck up there like a 'Grand Opening' or 'Going Out of Business' sign occasionally used by businesses."

It's hard to imagine what Zamparini was actually looking at when he made his determination that Trutanich's billboard was a “temporary sign like that doesn’t require a permit,” because the photo we produced in our August 24, 2011 exclusive "Trutanich Billboard Blunder?" clearly depicts a permanent sign which has been in place for over 2 years.

We also used Google Maps to try to understand the rationale behind Zamparini's determination, and challenge any reader to agree that the Google Maps picture shows anything other than a permanent sign.

 The Met News also spoke to the City Attorney's Office about Trutanich's seemingly illegal off-site billboards, however, Trutanich did not respond personally, perhaps electing to hide behind a deputy who made the rather surprising statement that "the determination of the signs’ legality is not one that is made by his [the City Attorney's] office," adding that “we’ll defer to any other department or office to make that decision.”

Now that Inspector Zamparini has decided that the signs cannot remain forever, we trust that Trutanich will comply with the law and remove his billboards before Zamparini conducts a field inspection and determines the sign to be permanent and not a “temporary sign" "that doesn’t require a permit.”

As previously stated, if Zamparini determines the four Trutanich billboards to be in violation of the city's law, the fines of $1,000 a day per sign amounts to over $2.9M, which the city would most likely welcome in the midst of their budget crisis.



Friday, August 26, 2011

Possible Solution To Trutanich's Billboard Blunder

The four Carmen Trutanich City Attorney billboards on Ventura Boulevard could be replaced with signage raising no questions about whether they are lawful.

In accordance with the signed, sworn pledge made by Trutanich when he was running for City Attorney,  he could replace the current signage on the billboards with this "political" message as required by his pledge.

Just a suggestion ...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


City Attorney Carmen Trutanich may have been caught breaking his own billboard laws, according to a report at the Los Angeles Dragnet.


He's the hero of the anti-billboard movement in Los Angeles. He has threatened to arrest city workers over billboards. His million dollar bail for an Oscars billboard garnered him the national headlines he so desperately craves, and his scorched earth policy on billboards earned him a $2M settlement check that he "bizarrely" tried to use for a political payoff to a campaign supporter.

But when it comes to his own billboards, it seems that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has a different set of rules.
Four billboards on Ventura Blvd. currently advertise Carmen Trutanich City Attorney. Located at the Allen Realty Plaza (12522 to 12528 Ventura Blvd.), the billboards appear to be a carryover from the time during 2008-2009 when Trutanich leased his campaign headquarters at 12524 Ventura Blvd.

Two of the billboards (double sided shown above) are fairly prominent, the other double sided billboards (below) simply promote Trutanich's former campaign website:
During the time Trutanich occupied 12524 Ventura Blvd., the billboards were "On Site" advertisements. In the lingo of billboard law, they advertised goods, services or activities available at the location. The billboards stated "Carmen Trutanich FOR City Attorney," the activity taking place at 12524 Ventura Blvd.

However, when Trutanich vacated his HQ in July 2009, Trutanich's billboards became "Off Site" advertisements, meaning that they advertised something taking place away from the location of the billboard.

After Trutanich quit the location, the billboards remained. It appears, however, that they were not simply forgotten. In fact they were changed - the word "FOR" was covered up to convey the new message "Carmen Trutanich City Attorney."

Under Trutanich's own law, all billboards in Los Angeles require permits. No doubt Allen Realty Plaza had, and has, valid permits for "On Site" billboards, in other words, billboards advertising the activities of current tenants. However, there is also no doubt that no valid permit exists for any of Trutanich's "Off Site" billboards.

The reason for that is because one of Trutanich's first scorched earth policies was to ban the issuance of any new "Off Site" billboard permits. That was why he threatened to arrest Councilmember Jan Perry, AEG's Tim Leiweke, and several Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety workers if they issued permits for AEG's Regency Cinema at LA Live.

According to information provided by Dennis Hathaway's Ban Billboard Blight organization, illegal off site billboards violate Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) section 91.6201.
Hathaway has links to all relevant billboard laws, and LAMC section 91.6202.2 describes the penalties for violators. If Trutanich's un-permitted off site billboards are in violation of the LAMC, the penalties are extreme, punishable by "a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment."

Furthermore, "Each violation of the provisions of this division and each day during which such violation is committed or continues is a separate offense." Thus, each of Trutanich's four billboards could result in fines of $1,000 a day for the two years since Trutanich quit his Ventura Blvd. headquarters and moved into City Hall. That amounts to a staggering $2.92M in fines, as well as the possibility of 24 months in jail for each of the 730 days since Trutanich became City Attorney.

Of course that's a disproportionate amount of punishment for what Trutanich probably considers to be be a minor violation of his law, if a violation at all. But then again, Trutanich pursued billboard violators mercilessly regardless of the magnitude of the violation.

Regardless of whether Trutanich's billboards constitute a major or minor violation of his own law, he could nevertheless try to claim that his billboards are exempt from his law. Under LAMC section 91.6201.4 "an ideological, political or other noncommercial message" is not covered by his law.

The problem for Trutanich is that his billboards likely would not qualify for the "political" exception because they fail to display the disclosure statements required by the Fair Political Practices Commission and the City Ethics Commission, both of which require clear identification of who has paid for the "political message."

So if Trutanich's billboards are not exempt because they are not "political," could they be exempt as "ideological or noncommercial?" The problem here is that Trutanich himself considers ideological or noncommercial signs to be subject to his law.
Furthermore, Trutanich's billboards advertising his old campaign website clearly are commercial. The website now appears to be an online retailer of electronic goods, clearly a commercial enterprise.

Whichever way you look at it, Trutanich does seem to be displaying a double standard when it comes to the enforcement of billboard laws. He, above all in Los Angeles, should not be engaged in questionable billboard activity and should be setting an example of how to follow his law, not flout it.

Of course the interesting question that arises is "Who will investigate Trutanich's seemingly illegal billboards?" Clearly Trutanich's City Attorney's Office cannot investigate or prosecute Trutanich, the conflict of interest would be so obvious that even Trutanich could see it. Interestingly, for the same reason, the City Attorney's Office cannot defend Trutanich either; he would have to hire his own defense attorney just as Rocky Delgadillo did when he hired Trutanich.

What about the District Attorney's Office? Could Steve Cooley's Public Integrity Division be tasked with the investigation, or would the current open hostility between Trutanich and his former supporter Cooley, create a conflict of interest there? That would leave either the Attorney General's Office or the US Attorney's Office with jurisdiction to investigate and if necessary prosecute any violation they find. We do hope they follow Trutanich's guidelines on setting bail...

Credit: Joe Friday, Los Angeles Dragnet

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trutanich's Schoolyard Tactics Costs City Millions in Trial Losses

As the Los Angeles City Attorney continues to blow his own trumpet about his legal skills, he has increasingly being pimping his "Porcupine Defense" as a brilliant, innovative legal strategy that has "saved the City of Los Angeles millions of dollars." It's is part of Carmen Trutanich's strategy to promote himself as a viable candidate to take over from Steve Cooley as LA's next District Attorney.

Typically, Trutanich confines his self-aggrandizing remarks to small groups of sycophantic supporters who are unable and disinclined to either challenge or question the man they see as the thug or bully who will take on the bad guys. The Porcupine Defense, like the "Misdemeanor Million Dollar Bail"is touted as one of the brilliant legal strategies that defeats those who dare to sue the City. But as this mini-documentary shows, the "Porcupine Defense" is anything but brilliant and certainly not a successful strategy.

Apart from the obvious humor in that reporter Brad Nolan has no idea what the City Attorney actually does (he is not the only one), he also doesn't know the City Attorney's name.

You can almost see Nolan glazing over as he is bombarded with a stream of often unintelligible self-promoting baseless claims. His chuckle at the explanation offered as to the Porcupine Defense, belies the relief that most have when they have been the hapless victim of Trutanich's barrage of legal mumbo-jumbo and BS; at last, something to laugh at.

However, the Porcupine Defense is no great legal strategy. It exists nowhere in the volumes of legal learning in a law school library. It is not tested in the Bar Exam, and as Trutanich failed to tell Nolan, it is based on a childhood schoolyard prank - "You may eat me, but I won't taste good going down."

This is the brilliant legal strategy that the City Attorney uses. A catch-phrase, gimmick, or campaign stunt that has so far cost the City of Los Angeles millions and millions of dollars in trial loses. Small wonder that the City Council will now hire private attorneys to defend the City.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

DA Wannabe Trutanich's Failures and False Promises Parodied in Ad by Alan Jackson

District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson is not pulling any punches when it comes to outing City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's woeful record of failures and failed promises. The following from the Alan Jackson campaign was first released at The LA Dragnet and Politics Without Mercy:



Video Ad Entitled “Election Hangover Part II”

Los Angeles, July 19th – Today the Alan Jackson campaign released a web ad response to Carmen Trutanich’s candidacy for District Attorney. Since his decision to run, it is clear that Trutanich will be turning his attention away from his job as City Attorney to launch a campaign for higher office. Using a parody of the Hangover Part II movie trailer, the ad highlights Trutanich’s broken promises and failed record since he was elected City Attorney. The spot is called “Election Hangover Part II.”

Not only has Carmen Trutanich broken his promise not to run for higher office, he has been an unsuccessful City Attorney. Under his watch, the City of Los Angeles is undergoing a widespread corruption probe by the FBI. Meanwhile, Trutanich has stifled first amendment rights, choosing to cut vital programs and staff salaries while refusing to cut his own. With all this mayhem, Trutanich is now looking for higher office.

To view the advertisement, please visit

“Not only is Trutanich breaking his sworn promise to the voters, but he’s been a huge disappointment as City Attorney. Now he wants a promotion and a pay raise?” asked Jackson’s strategist John S. Thomas.

“Apparently Mr. Trutanich is as serious about fighting corruption in the city as he is about completing his term as City Attorney,” said Thomas.

Thomas continued, “With the early release of prisoners from California State prisons looming large, we need a District Attorney who takes his job seriously and will put the people of LA County before his own political career.”

Trutanich’s “Pledge to Serve” stipulates that if Trutanich breaks his promise to serve two terms as City Attorney and not seek higher office, he must pay $100,000 of personal funds to the Best Afterschool Program for Kids and place a full-page ad in every major daily paper with a picture of himself and text stating ‘I AM A LIAR’.

Click below to view Carmen Trutanich’s original “Pledge to Serve.”

See below for several news articles explaining in more detail how Trutanich has performed as a City Attorney.

Second L.A. building inspector pleads guilty in federal bribery probe (LATimes)

Businessman held on $1-million bail in supergraphic case (LATimes)

Is Carmen Trutanich L.A.'s Mubarak? (LATimes)

L.A. leaders reject pay cuts for themselves (Daily News)

L.A.'s latest budget victim (Daily Breeze)

More at:

Monday, June 27, 2011

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

The Los Angeles City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, has been accused of lying and plagiarism in connection with a talk radio interview that he gave on the Kevin James Show on KRLA 870AM on Sunday, June 5, 2011. The Los Angeles Dragnet made the credibility claims about Trutanich after comparing what Trutanich told James about the ACE Program, an idea that Trutanich claimed was his, to documents showing the ACE Program was the idea of Councilmember Paul Koretz.

The documents show that the Administrative Citation Program was based on a motion passed by Koretz on January 15, 2010.

In addition, the Dragnet claims the idea for ACE came from Richard Llewellyn, Koretz's Chief of Staff, who actually came up with the idea when he (Llewellyn) was working for the former City Attorney, Rocky Delgadilo.

The Dragnet also makes other claims about Trutanich lying about details of the program, including claiming to have 'shared' his idea with the cities of San Diego and Santa Monica; both cities had their own administrative code enforcement programs in place before Trutanich became City Attorney, and indeed, Trutanich sent his top aides to San Diego on a fact-finding junket before claiming the idea was his.

This is the latest in a string of lies or "misstatements" from Trutanich, the last concerned claims that Trutanich had "busted" the 38th Street Gang. Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca defended lies about Trutanich, claiming that Trutanich's membership of an anti-gang task force gave him bragging rights.

The Dragnet wonders who will come to Trutanich's aid over his most recent lie.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Carmen Trutanich's District Attorney Fundraiser Questioned "Appearance of Impropriety" Alleged

Carmen Trutanich's campaign to become District Attorney stepped up a notch or three on the radar of ethics monitors with several reports this week focusing on who and how: Who is doing Trutanich's fundraising, and how Trutanich is going about fundraising? Both were brought sharply into focus after the LA Times reported that John Ek, a notorious City Hall lobbyist, had been listed as a $25,000 "Host" at a fundraiser for Trutanich's campaign to become District Attorney.

Lobbyist John Ek together with his former criminal defense lawyer City Attorney Carmen Trutanich
and the invitation for the controversial $25,000 Host/Raise cocktail reception in San Pedro. 

The John Ek hosted fundraiser came at around the same time Trutanich was insisting that a conflict of interest prevented one of Ek's clients, LAX concessionaire HMS Host, from being kicked out of LAX for giving the airport a reputation for "lousy food." Ultimately, as the LA Times reported, Trutanich and Ek prevailed over common sense, and Ek's client, HMS Host, can continue to operate at LAX.

While Trutanich pretends to be undecided on whether or not to run from his appalling record of "thuggery, bullying, grandstanding and reneging on promises" as LA's City Attorney, he is gathering a war chest of cash to overcome the negatives that surround his troubled 23 months in public office.

But taking money from lobbyists is an ethical and political "no no" that even the nighttime parttime law-schooled wannabe top cop has to honor. The apparent failure of Trutanich to realize that having a lobbyist as a fundraiser was off-limits caused a flood of negative comments in the blogs. Famed former journalist turned Street-Hassle blogger, Mulholand Terrace, was the first to comment on the questionable link between the LAX, Ek, Trutanich and the fundraiser cocktail reception. Politics Without Mercy went further, delving further into the long and perhaps lucrative history between the lobbyist and Trutanich. The Los Angeles Dragnet added a little more by accusing Trutanich of being the new Jack Weiss and cutting and pasting the PWM piece in its entirely, as we now do.


City Attorney Carmen ‘Nuch’ Trutanich kicked off fundraising for his campaign to become District Attorney with a lavish cocktail reception in San Pedro.  The April 27, 2011 cocktail reception was co-hosted by the notorious City Hall lobbyist John Ek, and came less than a week after Trutanich’s ties to Ek were revealed in the Los Angeles Weekly in an expose “How Lobbyist John Ek Gets His Way In City Hall.”

At the time of the LA Weekly article, Trutanich was proving to be a true ally in Ek’s efforts allow his client, HMS Host, to hold on to its concessions at Los Angeles Airport where, according to the LA Weekly, HMS Host has given LAX a reputation for “lousy food.” Few would disagree that LAX food is horrible and expensive, and LAX  had selected new concessionaires to replace HMS Host. But Trutanich raised a conflict of interest issue that allowed HMS Host to continue to supply “lousy food.”

The Tru Is False blog also raised questions about Trutanich’s relationship with Ek, noting that while Trutanich was a criminal defense attorney, he represented Ek when Ek was called to testify in a Grand Jury proceeding regarding campaign finance issues. Ek never testified.

Given the question marks surrounding Trutanich’s close relationship with the LAX lobbyist, one might have thought that Trutanich would seek to distance himself from Ek as he attempts to bunny hop from the from the City Attorney’s Office to the DA’s Office. Apparently not. Today the LA Times revealed that Ek had been a co-host at Trutanich’s cocktail reception with the ink barely dry at the LA Weekly.

Trutanich had probably planned his San Pedro cocktail reception well in advance of the embarrassing details of his relationship with the LAX lobbyist being revealed, but was clearly not bothered by what many might well think is the appearance of impropriety, perhaps even a conflict of interest. Some might think that Trutanich’s lack of concern is indicative of an arrogance of office, a “F you, I’m the City Attorney and I can do what I like!” mentality that epitomizes Trutanich’s reputation as a bully and a thug.

As a host listed on Trutanich’s mailer, Ek is expected to produce $25,000 in campaign contributions – that’s the price of getting the top billing on the mailer. But today, Trutanich’s campaign spokesman, John Shallman, told the LA Times that “Ek did not raise any money or give any contributions at the event.”Apparently the Times did not get a satisfactory answer to the obvious follow-up question “Well, if Ek wasn’t giving Trutanich and money, nor persuading any of his clients to do so, why is Ek listed as a host where the invitation clearly states ‘$25,000 Host/Raise’?” There must be an innocent explanation, surely?

Trutanich has to report all campaign contributions by the end of this month. His ever growing list of enemies will be examining that list carefully to see if any of Ek’s clients are listed as contributors.

Although it is perplexing to some that Trutanich, who projects himself as a “do the right thing kinda guy,” would align himself so closely and publicly with a lobbyist, it is not the first time that Trutanich’s conduct has raised eyebrows. Barely days after taking office, Trutanich claimed that there were “criminal aspects” to AEG’s handling of the Michael Jackson Memorial at Staples Center, and announced that his Bureau of Investigation was gathering evidence. A year later, the criminal aspects investigation abruptly ended without either criminal charges or a statement from Trutanich. A search of Trutanich’s campaign finance records showed a  his Office Holder committee had received free tickets to a Lady Gaga concert at LA Live, a venue operated by, AEG. There’s surely an innocent explanation, but, like the LAX concession “assist” to John Ek, it really looks bad.

Some might think that voters have a reasonable expectation to demand they highest of ethical standards from a candidate seeking to be the county’s top prosecutor. That Trutanich should forgo campaign contributions that look questionable, even if there is plausible innocent explanation. That does not appear to be Trutanich’s belief,

It has also been pointed out that Trutanich’s invitation lacks the required disclosure notice stating “Paid for by the Committee to Elect …” A small detail, perhaps, but again, the job of District Attorney is one that demands an attention to detail, and that too seems lacking.

The primary election for Los Angeles County’s next District Attorney will take place on June 5, 2012.

The above is attributed with thanks and appreciation to Politics Without Mercy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Trutanich Delays DA Run Decision Because Son Injured In Iraq

In case you missed City Attorney Carmen Trutanich telling Kevin James and KRLA 870AM listeners that one of the reasons why he was delaying making a decision on running for DA was that his son just got back from Iraq injured, here is a short audio clip:

Some listeners may have gotten the impression that Trutanich's son suffered a combat related injury, however, as Street-Hassle's Mulholland Terrace and Zuma Dogg have reported, Trutanich's son is not in the military. He is an Assistant US Attorney and presumably was on some sort of Dept. of Justice assignment in Iraq. The rumor is that the injury was a sports injury. So was Trutanich giving a misleading impression?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Clown's Credibility at Crossroads - Lie in Campaign Email Threatens Sheriff's Endorsement

As City Attorney Carmen "the Clown" Trutanich continues to seek support for his bid to become Dictator Attorney, sorry District Attorney, it appears that he has taken bragging and exaggerating to new depths.

The Los Angeles Dragnet has accused Trutanich's bogus campaign of lying - no subtly there, and perhaps rightly so. The lie concerns a claim that Trutanich "Trutanich busted the notorious 38th Street Gang— confiscating an arsenal of 80 firearms and removing 57 long time gang members from the streets," when his Office's role in filing an after the fact gang injunction and condemning gang houses as nuisances was so peripheral to the take-down as not to warrant mention in the LA Times. As for "confiscating"  weapons and making "arrests" those were palpably not the actions of Trutanich or his office, as this take-down was a federal indictment - and Trutanich has no jurisdiction in that area.

Per the Dragnet:


City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's bogus campaign sent out an email blast purporting to come from Sheriff Lee Baca, but actually sent from the campaign's Gmail account.

The "Urgent Message from Sheriff Baca" implores the reader to sign a petition that will no doubt be used by Trutanich to try to weasel his way out of his sworn promise not to do what he is currently doing; using the City Attorney's Office as a springboard to higher office.

No campaign donations are being sought, raising questions about how much money is being spent on this bogus campaign, and by whom. Doubtless all genuine candidates will be examining Trutanich's campaign statement carefully once it becomes available at the end of the month.

Beyond the questionable financing of this bogus campaign is the content of the email itself. Although attributed to Sheriff Baca, some may question whether the Sheriff actually wrote it, or even read it, because it appears to contain a lie. "Trutanich busted the notorious 38th Street Gang— confiscating an arsenal of 80 firearms and removing 57 long time gang members from the streets."

Trutanich's involvement with the arrest of 57 notorious 38th Street Gangmembers was so peripheral that it did not even rate a mention in the Los Angeles Times article about the take-down, published on February 1, 2011.

According to the Times "During the pre-dawn raids Tuesday, LAPD officers and special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested 37 defendants on federal indictments; 20 more people were taken into custody on state weapons and narcotics charges. Federal prosecutors already had 14 defendants named in the federal cases in custody. Seven fugitives remained at large."

No mention of Trutanich or the City Attorney's Office, and that's because, despite Trutanich's odd relationship with the truth, the fact remains that he does not have the power to arrest or "bust" gang members charged with felonies, federal felonies in this case.

The blatant falsity of this statement is surprising even by Trutanich's low standards for self-aggrandizing and shameless self-promotion. But to attribute a lie to Sheriff Baca, must now put into serious doubt whether Baca will continue to endorse Trutanich, or throw him under the bus like Steve Cooley did.

The sheer audacity of Trutanich's lie eclipses the rather humorous, but equally ridiculous story doing the rounds of the blogs, that Trutanich has to delay his decision on running for District Attorney because his son has been injured in Iraq. The, reality, according to Street-Hassle's Mulholland Terrace, is that Trutanich's son, an Assistant US Attorney, was injured during a soccer match while working for the Dept. of Justice in Iraq. Credit to the original report from Zuma Dogg at L.A. City

Quoted text ends.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Is A Day To Remember The Things Carmen Trutanich Wants You To Forget

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich has broken the record for becoming the biggest Political Pantload in the troubled history of politics in Los Angeles.

On this Memorial Day, 2011, we offer you this video to remind you of some of Trutanich's greatest jokes - his promises.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Controversy Over Trutanich Campaign - Deception, Deceit and Duplicity Alleged

On April 14, 2011, a select group of individuals received an email plea from Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, urging recipients to persuade Carmen Trutanich to run for District Attorney. We previously pointed out the obvious flaws with Truanich's "crass and facile attempt"  to get himself off the hook from his campaign promise not to run for DA.

The Los Angeles Dragnet has exclusive news about Trutanich and has revealed the true extent of what the Los Angeles Dragnet calls "Deception Deceit and Duplicity" by Trutanich.

The Dragnet's claims center on allegations that Trutanich orchestrated the creation of the website, and as proof the Dragnet offers two pieces of evidence.

Records obtained by Dragnet shows that the phony website was set up three months before Sheriff Baca was fooled into signing off on what he thought was a genuine attempt by well-meaning law enforcement personnel to encourage Trutanich to run for District Attorney. Dragnet claims that the person who set up the website, Jim Royer, is a "close associate" of Trutanich.

Dragnet also displays photographs from Trutanich's secret Flickr file-sharing account that were used on the phony website. Proof, the Dragnet says, that Trutanich was behind the entire deception from the get go.

Read the full exclusive news about Trutanich and his website at the Los Angeles Dragnet.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trutanich Launches Campaign For DA

City Attorney Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich has launched his campaign to become District Attorney, code named 'TRU in 12.'

The campaign is dressed up as a plea from Sheriff Lee Baca to sign a petition at the website to try to 'persuade' the Clown to run for DA. This gets a major Political BS Threat Alert on our warning system.

Political Pantloads received the email plea from Sheriff Lee Baca
at 6PM today, as part of an email blast.

The use of Sheriff Baca to pretend to be making a plea to try to persuade Trutanich to go back on his sworn promise to serve a full first term as City Attorney, is a crass and facile attempt to get Trutanich off the hook from that promise.

Expect Trutanich feign shock and surprise and say something banal like "Aw shucks, well I guess I just have no choice but to run for DA if THE SHERIFF tell me to, ha ha ha." followed by "I am humbled an honored blah blah blah."

Frankly, we would have expected Trutanich's campaign strategist John Shallman, to come up with something better, but he can only work with the material he's got and has to counter the hailstorm of criticism and accusations of being a liar and a career politician that the opponents will use relentlessly.

Trutanich's announcement is no surprise, the Clown more or less leaked it last week at a luncheon for the Studio City Chamber of Commerce when he said he was looking for a storefront on Ventura Blvd. for his DA campaign HQ - likely to be the same Mort Allen owned pole-dancing studio that the Clown used for his TRU '09 City Attorney Campaign.

So what will the TRU in 12 campaign look like? Here's our suggestion:

Our prediction of the likely themes in the 'TRU in 12' campaign; strong law and order
mixed with self-deprecating humor over his major missteps. 

As well as having Sheriff Baca endorsing him, Trutanich is rumored to have secured the endorsement of  Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who has made no secret of his interest in taking out Trutanich. In fact, expect to see the entire City Council endorsing Trutanich - they are so keen to get him out of City Hall.

One endorsement that Trutanich is unlikely to get will be that of Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who may just be persuaded to abandon his retirement plans to prevent Trutanich from wreaking havoc at the DA's Office.

One thing's for sure, it's going to be interesting.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Political Pantloads Launches Political Threat Alert System

Carmen Trutanich's political campaigns will serve as the testbed for a revolutionary early warning system designed to monitor the threat level of bullshit from his campaigns.

Voters will enjoy an enhanced sense of security through the
Political Pantloads BS Threat Advisory System 
With 2012 elections just around the corner, Political Pantloads has taken the bold step of introducing a revolutionary warning system to alert voters to the threat level of political bullshit they can expect from the various campaigns.

Following the best practices employed by Homeland Security and the TSA, the "BSTAS" will initially only monitor Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, as most agree that he is likely to display toxic levels of BS as he massages his joint campaigns for District Attorney, City Attorney and Mayor.

If successful, Political Pantloads will expand BSTAS to cover other suspected political bullshit threats, however, early indications suggest that the highest risk (Trutanich) will fully occupy our computer systems until a major upgrade is available.

Today's Trutanich BS Treat Level is "Severe," the default setting.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trutanich ContractGate Scandal Fallout - Oath Picture Trashed - Dragnet Goes Rogue

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen the Clown Trutanich is probably feeling like his political enemies are gaining the upper hand in the wake of the ContractGate scandal revealed by FishBowl LA, the TRU is False blog says that it appears that the contract search tool was not the only item removed from the City Attorney Website. Worse yet, the Los Angeles Dragnet, a longtime sycophantic supporter, appears to be going rogue.

(Credit: Los Angeles Dragnet)
 The LA Dragnet published this hilarious cartoon depiction of the wheels coming off the Trutanich bandwagon, in reference to the slew of negative comments at Ron Kaye L.A. at the prospect of spending an hour with Trutanich. It seems the Dragnet is done with Trutanich.

But even as the ink was drying on that story, and the ContractGate scandal threatened to focus attention on the reasons why Trutanich's staff hobbled the searchability of the City Attorney website, the TRU is False blog revealed that City Attorney Trutanich had removed a photograph of him swearing the oath of office from the City Attorney's website. 

(Credit: TRU is False)
TRU is False speculates that the reason for the removal of the photo might be to prevent it being used by his rivals to cast doubt on how seriously Trutanich takes his own words. Trutanich recently told Jack Leonard at the LA Times that he did not consider himself bound by his sworn solemn campaign promise not to run for Los Angeles District Attorney.

All indications point to Trutanich joining the race to replace Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley with an announcement sometime after the current crop of candidates reveal their latest fundraising figures. Currently five members of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office are running to replace Cooley; Democrats Jackie Lacey, Danette Meyers, Mario Trujillo and Robert "Bobby" Grace, and the sole Republican, Alan Jackson.

Trutanich, a 'decline to state Republican,' will face a tough time from his all his opponents as there is so much to dislike about the man who his either called a 'thug' or a 'clown' depending on which particular foot is in his mouth.

It is rumored that Trutanich will bow out of a run for re-election as City Attorney in 2013 in the face of a challenge by California Assembleyman Mike Feuer. Feuer, a well respected Democrat with long and well-rooted ties to LA's wealthy westside community who would most likely flock to fund his campaign. Feuer served as a councilmember to the westside before running for City Attorney in 2001. Ominously for Trutanich, Feuer was narrowly beaten by Rocky Delgadillo for the City's Top Cop slot, but held on to a powerful base of supporters.

Few believe that Trutanich has any chance in a race against Feuer, who will be termed out of the Assembly in 2012 with more than enough momentum, name-recognition and fund raising power to demolish Trutanich, who can no longer count on Steve Cooley's rolodex to be available to him.

Trutanich's popularity in his own office is likely to be significantly below the depths reached by Rocky Delgadillo, as many believe Trutanich's foolhardy allegation of 'criminal aspects' regarding AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial, and his wild threats to arrest Councilmember Jan Perry over the AEG billboards issue, destroyed the credibility of the Office.

Trutanich, however, may believe he has an "ACE" up his sleeve, with a ordinance on the books that will restore his flagging fortunes. The Trutanich ACE Program, if passed, will give Trutanich the power to appoint his own judges to hear cases he would otherwise have to prosecute in criminal courts. It would also give him control over the fine monies collected and enable him to use those fines to pay his office costs. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the ACE Program will give Trutanich Grand Jury-like subpoena powers to investigate those he believes have something to hide.

If the City Council passes Trutanich's ACE Program, they will effectively be appointing the wolf as gatekeeper of the hen house. Let's hope the Council decides to amend Trutanich's ACE Program and give control to an independent body like the City Ethics Commission. That might at least make the ACE Program constitutional, unlike Trutanich's recent medical marijuana ordinance.

The City Councilmembers are unlikely to be convinced by Trutanich's assertions that his ACE program is constitutional once they realize the potential violation of Separation of Powers and Conflict of Interest that Trutanich's ACE poses. Trutanich had the ACE Program written to put himself in control of the selection of judges, instructing his judges on how to apply the law, and then collecting and spending the fine monies his judges extract from Los Angelenos.

Trutanich's own grasp of the meaning of Separation of Powers came under fire recently when Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr told the City Attorney that responding to his "request for guidance would violate the separation of powers between the judicial and legislative branches." according to the LA Times.

Let's hope the City Council does the right thing with Trutanich's ACE.

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Hour With Carmen Trutanich? I'd Rather Be Water Boarded!

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's popularity plumbed lower depths over the weekend, probably the unexpected result of a puff piece on the Ron Kaye L.A. Blog.

Ron Kaye, the former editor of the LA Daily News probably thought the idea of spending an hour listening to Carmen Trutanich "Defending, Attacking, Answering Tough Questions" would appeal to his readership, most of whom supported the San Pedro criminal defender political outsider. But instead of a few comments commending Trutanich's self-proclaimed achievements, there was an overwhelming number of negative comments.

It seems that Trutanich was a guest speaker at the Sherman Oaks Homeowner's Association and the entire one-hour diatribe was captured on video. It's bad enough having to listen to the confusing, rambling and contorted legal theories of Trutanich in person, but the idea of listening to the City Attorney currently known as Carmen the Clown on YouTube for an hour may well seem like cruel and unusual punishment to some.

Here are a few of the comments on Ron Kaye LA (you can use this link to see them all, and watch the video if you want an aneurism)

"... everything about this guy stinks. I hope Mike Feuer beats him badly in 2013. I'm backing Feuer."

"An hour with Trutanich? I wouldn't waste 5 minutes of my time on him."

"Not a bigger FAILURE for the taxpayers and DWP rate payers exists in L.A. Than Carmen "Gaga" Trutanich! He sold out so he can run for D.A. and get all those FREE "gifts" that the corruption provides."

"I had a meeting with him and some other people from our group. The meeting was set for 2pm at his office. We were kept waiting for over an hour, and when Nuch finally saw us, he was distracted and didn't seem to care. He said he was "very busy" as if our problem wasn't important enough to get his attention. Throughout the meeting he took phone calls and shouted orders at his secretary. He never answered our questions directly, instead giving really confusing answers that seemed to be about other topics."

"Ron, I cannot bear to watch that clown try to talk his way out of the huge disappointment he's turned out to be."

"The ACE program is a power grab to keep City Attorneys fully employed where the poor and weak will be bullied with fines."

"Time and time again he's reneged on promises, the most significant one being that he would not use the CA's Office as a political springboard to higher office until he had served a full first term, and sought a second. That was a signed sworn promise 'as serious as a heart attack' as he used to say."

If the honeymoon was over after the embarrassing revelation that Trutanich had accepted a donation of Lady Gaga tickets from AEG after dropping his 'criminal aspects' investigation of AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial, then this looks like the pre-nup is being challenged as divorce beckons.

But it's not just the voters who have become disenchanted with Trutanich. Perhaps his own staffers are wondering why they have to bear the brunt of cutbacks, work furloughs, and ridicule, while Trutanich has steadfastly refused to voluntarily take the same pay cut as his staff, and continues to be the source of humiliation.

Last week's Fishbowl LA hit-piece that is sparking a ContractGate scandal over the removal of a search tool from Trutanich's website probably has people inside and outside wondering why Trutanich

Still, perhaps there is hope for Trutanich yet. He could have unintentionally discovered a new interrogation technique for LAPD - they can now threaten suspects by making them watch "an hour with Carmen Trutanich" until they confess. I bet even the most hardened criminal won't last ten minutes!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Troubled Times for Trutanich?

Los Angeles City Attorney, Carmen "the Clown" Trutanich appears to be loosing supporters faster than the City is loosing money.

The Los Angeles Dragnet Blog, historically supportive of Trutanich, seems to have joined the rest of the political commentators in no longer taking everything the City Attorney currently known as "the Clown" does at face value.

The Dragnet's report on Kevin James' announcement of his mayoral candidacy was interesting not so much for reportage of the right-wing talk show hosts campaign promises, but rather, for the speculation as to why Trutanich stayed away from an event which was not only on his doorstep, but but attended by his alleged "buddy" Steve Cooley. Read the Dragnet account of Trutanich's troubled times, they may have connected some dots.

Speaking of dots, Trutanich's former Special Assistant and alleged attack dog, cockney Brit David Berger, was also in attendance for Kevin James's photo op, and published this report of the Kevin James event, notably not mentioning the absence of Trutanich nor speculating that the City Attorney may be running shy of the media these days. Fishbowl LA yesterday accused the Trutanich administration of hiding a search tool from the City Attorney website which used to allow for searches of contracts. What could it be that Trutanich doesn't want us to see.....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Trutanich ACE Program Outed as Power-Grab and Cash-Stash

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's "ACE" Program has been accused of being a "Power-Grab" and "Cash-Stash" by TRU is False, the blog that seems to exist solely to criticize the once popular City Attorney.

TRU is False routinely portrays Trutanich as a "Godfather" like megalomaniac
who works behind the scenes to gain power, control and influence
In what appears to be a heavily biased article, TRU is False suggests that Trutanich has "hidden" key components of his "ACE" Program from the City Council who are expected to vote in favor of the plan to make the imposition and collection of fines for violations of the Los Angeles Municipal Code more efficient and cost-effective.

A key component of Trutanich's ACE Program is that the traditional system of code enforcement, which uses the existing criminal courts system, will be bypassed and instead enforced through a system of administrative courts that Trutanich not only controls, but staffs with his own judges, called "administrative hearing officers."

Under the ACE Program, Trutanich's prosecutors will sit as judges and hear cases based on a wide variety of violations for the Los Angeles Municipal Code ranging from animal cruelty, building code violations, even noisy house parties - in fact any violation of the LAMC is covered by ACE.

After the prosecutor-judge hears the evidence presented by code enforcement officers, a fine or "administrative penalty" can be imposed and collected by Trutanich through a Code Compliance Fund that he also administers. Because Trutanich's ACE is basically a civil administrative hearing, there is no right for a person charged with a violation to have a public defender.

Another advantage of ACE is that Trutanich's courts are able to keep all the money collected, whereas under the traditional criminal courts route, most of the money ends up going to Sacramento. Under ACE, Trutanich keeps all the money and then gives whatever is left to the city department or the General Fund after he has paid himself for the costs of running the ACE and paying his prosecutor-judges.

"ACE" is Trutanich's acronym for the Administrative Citations Enforcement Program which is very loosely based on similar programs such as one used in the City of San Diego.

But the ACE Program is not actually Trutanich's idea. It was Councilmember Paul Koretz who in January 2010 proposed a simple plan for code enforcement. In the year since Koretz made that proposal, his plan seems to have been hijacked by Trutanich and morphed into something probably far beyond anything Koretz envisaged, and something highly likely to be criticized by those concerned with the preservation of civil liberties.

TRU is False points out that Section 11.2.09 of Trutanich's ACE gives him the power to create the system and staff it with his own judges. Section 11.2.09 in fact reads "The City Attomey 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 Attomey." It seems highly likely that there is an inherent conflict of interest in allowing the City's prosecutor to set up a court system, staff it with prosecutor-judges, and tell them what to do.

That 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. As TRU is False points out, under Section 5.121.11 of Trutanich's ACE, called the "Creation and Administration of Fund" sub-section "(a) 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 ACE.

TRU is False also identifies a third problem with Trutanich's ACE, under Section 11.2.09(B)(6) 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 violation of the LAMC is alleged.

Despite the apparent unconstitutionality of Trutanich's ACE, he has peppered his proposed ordinance with language claiming to be "consistent with due process principles." However, keen observers will recall that key portions of Trutanich's medical marijuana ordinance were recently found to be unconstitutional, suggesting that Trutanich may not be the best arbiter of constitutionality. 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.

All in all, Trutanich seems to be giving himself McCarthy type powers with J. Edgar Hoover type clandestine authority. Trutanich is likely banking on the fact that City Council's need to obtain new revenue sources will blind them to the reality of his ACE which not only siphons off that revenue to fund his office, but also may cost the City far more in litigating the constitutionality of his ACE.

Even if Trutanich can convince the City Council that his ACE is lawful, many may be fearful of trusting Trutanich with these enhanced powers. In July 2011, the Trutanich administration will have held power for two years. During that time Trutanich could be said to have played fast and loose with his legal authority. His ill-fated 'criminal aspects' investigation into the Michael Jackson memorial, bullying threats to arrest a City Councilmember and city department workers over AEG's billboards, his failure draft a constitutional medical marijuana ordinance and his recent "aggressive stance" handling of student political protesters, must all raise serious question marks as to how Trutanich will conduct himself with new far-reaching powers.

Perhaps the City Council will have the good sense to realize that the ACE program itself is not the problem, placing it in the hands of Trutanich is. The solution? Create an independent department similar to the City Ethics Commission where judges can be independently selected, and the Municipal Code can be enforced fairly. All that needs to be done is a little "Cut and Paste." Cut references to "City Attorney" out of ACE, and paste in the name of an independent body to administer the program.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Trutanich: "I am not a thug"

President Nixon (left) and City Attorney Trutanich (right)
Would you buy a used car from either of them?
Before backing down from his untenable prosecution of student political protesters, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich (aka "Clown") made a last gasp effort to "Nuch" LA Weekly reporter Gene Maddaus over a Goodfellas style lunch at Ciro's Mexican restaurant.

It failed, and if there's one thing Trutanich cannot handle, it's failure. So to avoid further humiliation, Trutanich ordered his deputies to drop the charges against the student protesters.

"I am not a thug" Trutanich told Maddaus who seemed to be the first reporter not to be "Nuched" - that's the word that best describes the rather facile way Trutanich seeks to win over those who don't readily drink his own particular brand of Koolaide. First, he arranges to meet you in unassuming surroundings - Ciro's is a perfect setting. It shows he's a 'man of the people' and of humble and ordinary tastes (If you're a fundraiser, you'll meet at the Jonathan Club, but for a reporter it's Ciro's).

Then there will be a few anecdotal stories about his allegedly humble origins. One such story was how he was so broke raising a family that he could not afford to buy a new battery for his car. Every morning he had to push the car to get it rolling before jumping in, sticking it in gear, starting the engine and driving off to work at the DA's Office. The story is designed to sell the image of a man of humble origins; a regular guy. Trutanich seems to have stopped using the car story after a family member blurted out that the car in question was a Porsche 911 Carrera.

Next up is a teary-eyed, choked-speech line like "I love my job and I'm humbled by the responsibility the voters have given me," and/or "I'm just trying to do the right thing," to justify his latest jack-boot style policy; like reneging on his agreement that the City Controller had the power to audit City departments, or turning his back on the medical marijuana community who were fooled into supporting him before he knifed them in the back, or, threatening to arrest Council Member Jan Perry and AEG boss Tim Leiweke over billboards at LA Live, or throwing a businessman in jail on a Friday night on $1M bail for a misdemeanor, or the straw that broke the camel's back; threatening student protesters with a year in jail.

As the victim of the "Nuch" desperately tries to turn the meeting back to the topic at hand, Trutanich will then ramble on and on, jumping from topic to topic - it's a strategy known as "distract and  disarm," and is skillfully delivered so that the victim either forgets the question he wanted to ask, or is so bamboozled by the incoherent off-topic drivel that he just gives up.

Finally, Trutanich delivers the coupe de grace; the male bonding thing. You'll get grabbed with a bear hug as he slaps your back. It's just like a scene from the Godfather when Michael Corleone hugs his brother Fredo, tells him "Fredo you're my brother and I love you" before having Fredo shot in the back of the head and unceremoniously dumped into Lake Tahoe. While Trutanich has you in that embrace, the hand that slaps your back is feeling for the soft spot to plunge the knife. As he tells you "We'll be friends for life" his eyes are as cold as shark's and almost as lethal. He smiles, says "I love you man," because you've been "Nuched."

It seemed to have worked with LA Times columnist Steve Lopez, who was won over for a while after being "Nuched" at a cigar store first, and then invited to be a guinea pig test driver to see the effects of marijuana while driving a police car on a private track. "How can you not like a guy who asks you to get high and drive a police car?" joked Lopez, but Lopez very quickly got himself "un-Nuched" when Lopez balked at a year in jail for the student protesters.

Another previously "Nuched" victim was KABC talk radio host Peter Tilden. Tilden was "Nuched" when he, too, was invited to spliff-up, get high, and drive a cop car with Lopez. Like Lopez,  Tilden quickly got "un-Nuched" during a recent interview with Trutanich over the student protesters.

So kuddos to LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus for resisting the "Nuch" and reporting on the reality of life in the warped world of Carmen Trutanich. Oh, and Gene, why don't you give Trutanich's "buddy" District Attorney Steve Cooley a call and find out if they really are still buddies like Trutanich says? Apparently the pair haven't spoken since December 15, 2010. It could be that Steve Cooley also got himself "un-Nuched."