Thursday, July 28, 2011

Independent Assessors Office Blasts Trutanich: "Inconsistent" "Unresponsive" "Mistaken"

EXCLUSIVE: The Los Angeles City Board of Fire Commissioners may want to "fire" City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for failing to provide competent, responsive and reliable legal services, according to a 13-page report submitted to them by the Independent Assessors Office.

The Independent Assessors Office held back nothing in condemning Trutanich for providing what appears to be a shockingly low level of legal services in their report to the Fire Commission, dated July 13, 2011.

The Fire Commission Report details an almost unbelievable record of failure after failure to provide adequate legal services starting in December 2009 when Trutanich's office was asked to provide legal advice as to whether the Independent Assessors Office should be allowed to have access to the Fire Department's personnel files, disciplinary records and investigative materials.

It is always a difficult question when an employer is asked to provide confidential information about its employees. There can be serious and costly penalties for disclosing personnel records. So, like any responsible employer, the Fire Department sought the advice of their attorney; City Attorney Carmen Trutanich who, in December 2009, was asked to provide advice on the fundamental question; is it lawful to provide the Independent Assessor with these records?

However, 20 months later, as the Fire Commission Report documents, Trutanich had consistently failed to provide an answer. Ultimately the advice of "Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law Erwin Chemerinsky" had to be sought. Chemerinsky's opinion was that "the City Attorney's August 2010 advice is mistaken." which is, perhaps, a far too polite way of saying "Trutanich was wrong." 

The Fire Commission Report is peppered with statements condemning Trutanich, such as "Repeated unsuccessful attempts have been made since December 2009 to have the City Attorney's Office provide and clarify legal advice…",  and "In August 2010, the City Attorney's Office provided advice that was inconsistent …", and "… the City Attorney's Office has not responded …  or answered the Board's written questions …" Most damaging, of course, is Chemerinsky's opinion that Trutanich's "advice is mistaken." It is hard to conceive of a more damning condemnation of Trutanich and his notion of legal advice, than to be told, unequivocally, that he was wrong.

Trutanich must have hoped that the Fire Commission Report would remain buried and far away from the eyes of the City Council. Fortunately, such is the level of disaffection with Trutanich in City Hall, that the Dragnet was tipped-off about the Fire Commission Report by multiple sources.

The Council recently passed what has been described as a "vote of no confidence" in Trutanich. As a result of that vote, the Council is currently exploring alternate ways to obtain more qualitative and responsive legal advice than Trutanich appears to provide. The Fire Commission Report will doubtless provide the Council with further evidence of Trutanich's shortcomings when they receive the report on  how other municipalities obtain satisfactory legal services.

Many believe that Trutanich may be too busy campaigning for District Attorney or pursuing media attention by grandstanding at headline grabbing press conferences, to pay adequate attention to the needs of his client. The recent leak of the Martin Declaration was, perhaps, the first indication that all was not well in the Trutanich administration. The Martin Declaration now appears to be the tip of the iceberg in terms of Trutanich's failure to provide the "best legal representation" that he promised on countless occasions.

It is, perhaps, not entirely coincidental that the period of time identified in the Fire Commission Report during which Trutanich provided mistaken advice, coincided with Trutanich's 'criminal aspects' investigation into AEG's handling of the Micheal Jackson Memorial. That investigation is believed to have substantially consumed Trutanich's administration and assured Trutanich of the nationwide, if not worldwide, media coverage that he appears to crave. Trutanich ultimately dropped what many believe was a witch hunt against AEG, without comment.

The full text of the 13-page Fire Commission Report can be viewed online from the Fire Department's website under file number BFC 11-104, or downloaded directly using this link:

UPDATED: The super-critical report seems to have gone missing from the City's website, how strange. Fortunately, we archived a copy that can be accessed here.



Anonymous said...

Okay, I know I'm not the first person to ask this question because I have seen it here before. With all his blundering, some might ask whether or not Trutanich deserves to keep his job and receive a second term as City Attorney. But that's not the issue. The issue is this: "Why, despite all his blundering, does Trutanich deserve a PROMOTION.....(lets repeat that for those who don't grasp the issue). . . "A FREAKIN' PROMOTION to the office of District Attorney?"

So goddam typical. A CEO runs his company into the ground, and he pays himself an astronomical bonus. If Trutanich has any class, he'd say "look, I've got to get my house in order at the City Attorney's Office, so I need to pass on District Attorney this time. . . "

What a travesty.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Around the time that Nuch was ignoring the need to provide the Fire Dept with sound advice, Nuch was too busy trying to get Jan Perry arrested over billboards, extort $5M from AEG for Micheal Jackson memorial, and deny cancer patients medical marijuana. All of this made Nuch a hero in the media, and amounted to nothing. IMHO he is unfit for any office if this Fire report is true.

Anonymous said...

"12:48am"-what you spell out is actually describes the Ipsen candidacy. He steered the ADDA into a 160k civil judgement; got a two defendant death penalty case reversed by the Supreme Court for prosecutorial misconduct; and he got caught giving cagey and dishonest testimony on multiple occasions (during a Supreme Court inquiry into said death penalty case, during a sentencing hearing for a convicted sex offender, and during an ERCOM hearing).

For his misdeeds, the members (in a landslide) voted against him when he ran for treasurer a few months ago.

So what does he do? Run for DA! (with a "soft money" war chest consisting of member's dues and compelled agency shop contributions)

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the city council knew all about this and were going to ambush Nuch with it when the CLA presents his report. All you have done is tip off Nuch. Thank you buddy.

Anonymous said...

This is all smoke and mirrors. This is all about political capital, money and power. This is the worst mayor we have ever had.