Monday, September 19, 2011

Trutanich RentGate Story Fails To Explain Missing Rent Payments

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's response to RentGate; the questions raised as to who paid for his campaign office, still fails to fully account for rent payments for the eight month period that Truanich is understood to have enjoyed the use of a Ventura Blvd. storefront.

Friday's Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise reported that Trutanich's campaign treasurer, David Gould, "vehemently denied" that Trutanich had received an illegal in-kind donation in the form of free rent for his headquarters space. Gould stated that “Everything was paid for, and it was all disclosed.”

However, in what some might believe to be a confusing and incomplete account for the payment of rent, Gould neither supplied a copy of the lease, nor copies of checks showing all rent payments. Instead, Gould stated that some rent payments were made to “Barry M. Allen, a Law Corp.,” which is "a related entity to Allen Realty," and that the amount of the rent payment "varied from month to month because the cost of utilities was included."

Based on what Gould stated, it appears that the monthly base rent was $2,025.00, not $2,053 as previously stated. Accordingly, we checked the City Ethics Commission's website to search for all payments made to Allen Realty Plaza, LLC, and it's related entity Barry M. Allen, a Law Corp. The result of our search does not appear to support Gould's story.

Exhibit 1:  All payments by Trutanich to Allen Realty Plaza, LLC and Barry M. Allen a Law Corp.
(Source: City Ethics Commission)
Trutanich paid all Allen entities a total of $17,391.00, however, as the yellow highlighted areas show, $4,650.00 was described as being for "CMP - Campaign Paraphernalia," leaving only $12,741.00 for rent, which is described as "OFC - Office Expenses."

If the $2,025.00 monthly rent figure is correct, Trutanich should have paid $16,200.00 for eight months rent for the time he admits to using the storefront; October 2008 through May 2009. However, Trutanich's records at best, show payments of only $12,150.00 for six months rent, plus $591.00 for utilities.

Once again, we are left wondering who paid the rent for the missing two months. Equally, who paid for the utilities for those two months? Is there another Allen entity that Trutanich failed to mention?

Beyond the palpable evidence suggesting that there is a real problem in accounting for the payment of Trutanich's rent, the statement to the Met News appears to contain at least three errors.

First, the claim that the Ethics Commission “audited the entire campaign” and “came up with no findings whatsoever,” and that "the commission was unlikely to consider a complaint regarding the campaign in light of this," is sheer fantasy or, perhaps, wishful thinking, on Trutanich's behalf. Just because an audit was completed without a finding does not preclude a further investigation in the light of appropriate evidence.

Based on the evidence of the payments above (Exhibit 1), there would appear to be sufficient evidence to revisit the audit results, and perhaps demand to see a copy of the lease, utility bills, and copies of the checks to see if “Everything was paid for, and it was all disclosed,” because that certainly does not appear to be the case.

Second, Trutanich claimed that the Fair Political Practices Commission “has no authority over city elections.” He is wrong. They do have that authority.

Third, and perhaps most tellingly, the claim was made that "The March rent, Gould said, was shown in a $452 payment to Allen Realty reported in April, which reflected the pro-rated rent for the space up until the primary election." If that were the case, one could reasonably expect to find a payment for $452.00 to Allen Realty for "OFC - Office Expenses." However, if it is not clear enough from Exhibit 1 above, take a closer look:

The $452.00 payment was not for rent, pro-rated or otherwise. 

We trust that the City Ethics Commission and the Fair Political Practices Commission will now be looking into this matter, especially in the light of Trutanich's story. We understand that a second complaint is being filed in connection with the admissions made by Trutanich, as well as the apparent lack of any reported payments for the two years use of the off-site billboards outside the Ventura Blvd. storefront.



Anonymous said...

Steve Cooley can slap an investigation on Nuch, then get back in the race, then lose by 68% in LA County. This is all orchestrated by Cooley, Berger and his good buddy Roger Grace at the Met News. Conspiracy to use the media by Cooley is a serious offense. Someone ought to look into that. This is all out of desperation to prevent the inevitable that Nuch will be your boss someday.

Anonymous said...

I think Trutanich has opened a can of worms with his stupid explanation to the Met News. The numbers do not add up. This is very serious. How could Trutanich think he would be able to get away with this? His story just makes no sense. Show me the money Nuch!

Anonymous said...

The facts seem to indicate that Trutanich did get a portion of his rent free. That is an in-kind contribution, either from Allen or a related entity, whatever the F that is supposed to mean. There is a $1k limit on contributions, in-kind or cash, so there looks like at least 2 ethics violations right there. This is not looking good for someone who wants to be the next DA.

Anonymous said...

Nuch will be your boss so you better drop this Dragnet before you end up regretting it.d up regretting it.

Anonymous said...

Once again Nuch opens his fat mouth and puts his foot right in it. I bet when he was a criminal defense lawyer he always told his clients to keep their mouths shut and not give statements. He should take his own advice and start practicing his lines "I claim the protection of the 5th amendment to the U.S. constitution and respectfully decline to answer that question on the grounds that it might tend to incriminate me."

Trutanich is such a putz he probably won't be able to remember that line and will screw it up. What a huge disappointment this a*hole has turned out to be.

Anonymous said...

Berger the Stooge, rent gate is just another one of your smear tactics on Nuch by you. You better get out of dodge Nuch is coming and you will be whining in the corner. I saw you at the usc game with your buddy cooley and you were so close to him I thought I saw the puppet master moving your lips for you.It appears you had the old stomach surgery and you have lost about 150 lbs. of ugly fat. Or your just nervous that Nuch will be your Boss and freeway therapy will be your new assignment. it couldn't happen to a better stooge. I hear your boss and Jackie Lacey are trying to settle the big union lawsuit in which your boss lost for union busting with Lacey. i hear it will take 3 million for the punitive damages, way to go cooley. Once again get off the B>S> stories and move on to where you'll be working when your fired again by Nuch.

Anonymous said...

8:43PM I don't know why you always say the same thing. This has nothing to do with Berger, Cooley or the union. It is very much about Carmen Trutanich and the sleazy way he seems to have hijacked the City Attorney's office. The RentGate scandal looks pretty tight to me, I mean, the paper doesn't lie does it? Rent $16,200 but only $12,150 paid. That's a big deal.

Anonymous said...

It's comments like 8:43pm that makes me believe that the Dragnet is right about Trutanich. The kind of threats he is making through his puppets means he must be really worried. It wouldn't surprise me if the city ethics commission is the least of his worries, he's probably wondering if the US Attorney is getting involved like they did at LADBS when the city did nothing about the corruption there.

We are entitled to expect the highest ethical standards from elected officials, especially those in law enforcement. What Rocky did is nothing compared to billboard and rent scams. Very serious stuff, trust me.

Political corruption is about as serious as it gets in the world of white collar crime. Usually the candidate gets off with a slap on the wrist, but the people who did their dirty work get slammed real hard.

I hope the Dragnet continues to run down the stories about political corruption, I hear there's quite a long line of people with stories to tell, but it's the ones with the paper to prove it that counts. Paper doesn't lie, people do.

Anonymous said...

@8:43PM Did you really see Berger at the USC game with Cooley? I find that really hard to believe as he's a keen cricket fan and is often at the Santa Monica park where they play that crazy game. Then they all go off to the Kings Head pub for beer. I doubt he's lost 150 pounds with all that fatty English food he eats, and beer is very high in calories too. Maybe it was someone else with Cooley who looks like Berger - I always thought he looks like a typical Fed, especially in that cop car he drives when he's not using the Bentley. How can he afford a Bentley on a DA salary?

Anonymous said...

9:41 you just said the paper doesn't lie what candy land do you live in. we live on facts not B.S. get over it. Its obvious you've never been involved in a criminal case its facts and facts only.

Anonymous said...

10:35PM Paper doesn't lie. It's a classic line from a fraud investigator/prosecutor - probably Bergere or one of his trolls. My guess is that they must have something like the lease and copies of receipts and checks to prove that the rent wasn't paid.

It was pretty stupid of Trutanich to say the $452 was for rent when the paper he submitted and signed under penalty of perjury clearly says it was campaign paraphernalia. See, the paper doesn't lie, the person who wrote, well you get the point.

And that's the rub, if Trutanich now says it was a mistake, and the $452 was for rent, then the other classic line is "Were you lying then, or are you lying now?"

Either way it's about the worse thing that could happen to Nuch's campaign and will probably mean he loses support. Baca won't want to be associated with someone who is so sloppy about keeping things straight, he'll drop him like he dropped Jack Weiss who screwed up over that fundraiser with a city commissioner.

Then it's over for Nuch because Mike Feuer is a shoe in for City Attorney and Trutanich is out. He has so many enemies it is unbelievable, they hate his guts.

Anonymous said...

11:47 I hope you are right. Trutanich needs to be removed from office, if there is enough evidence then he should be fined and be recalled.