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)
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.