Thursday, June 23, 2011

Carmen Trutanich - The New Jack Weiss?

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich seems to be learning all the wrong lessons as he blunders his way through the world of local politics, and could easily adopt the mantra "If you can't beat 'em, join em!" Increasingly, Trutanich appears to be emulating the antics of his one-time challenger for City Attorney, Jack Weiss who epitomized everything voters rejected in 2009.

Trutanich has progressed, it's seems, from thuggery, bullying, grandstanding and reneging on promises, to highly questionable fundraising with a campaign fundraiser hosted by a "notorious" City Hall lobbyist.

This from Politics Without Mercy:

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.


Anonymous said...

at least Jack Weiss didn't pretend to be on the up and up...Lie-Tanich is even worse!

Anonymous said...

At least Trutanich doesnt hide behind a phony name. The people of LA love him and dont care what stupid ethics laws he breaks as long as he keeps on busting gangs and throwing out illegals.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. One Berger blog cites another Berger blog as it's source, then Berger comments on the postings of his other blogs, and then posts comments on the another blog. Congratulations Dave, it looks like you have perfected another one of your famous circle jerks.

The only news here, (if that invite is actually real, and not fabricated,) is that Dennis Zine appears to have pulled his endorsement of Alan Jerkson and is now supporting Trutanich.

Anonymous said...

Quoting "Politics Without Mercy" as your source for news about Nuch is equivalent to quoting the National Enquirer and saying you've discovered there are flying saucers.

Anonymous said...

@11:01AM Well spotted! How can Zine support Trutanich and Jackson? Baca backed Weiss and Trutanich back in 2009, but I thought only Baca was that crazy - Zine too?

Ipsen hasn't got an endorsement from anyone worth a damn so far. His campaign will be over before much longer. Pity because it leaves Jackson and Trutanich as the only republicans in the race.

Anonymous said...

Trutanich is a highly corrupt, fake, bully-type unethical politician. He is using his office as Los Angeles City Attorney to support widespread corruption of the Los Angeles County Health Department and the extortion of poor farmers' market vendors by this highly corrupt organization. He is covering up perjury and extortion.

He filled 55 counts of false criminal charges against a farmers' market vendor that had the guts to complaint about widespread corruption of the Los Angeles County Health Department by using fabricated and false charges from corrupt Los Angeles County Health Inspectors and their corrupt managers. He achieved a 0% conviction rate on those 55 counts.

Is this the kind of DA that LA needs?

I do not think so. We do not need individuals that support corruption at the DA's office.


Anonymous said...

It is very dissapointing to hear when a political figure like Mr. Trutanich participates in a fundraiser sponsored by a person that routinely does not pay the wages of his current or past employees. I hope these relationships are not the reason these people cannot get the labor board to return their inquiries regarding their pending cases against this company.