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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dragnet's Top Ten of 2011

2011 may well have been an Annus Horribilis for some of the targets of the Dragnet's coverage, but with close to 100,000 pageviews in 2011, it looks like the Los Angeles Dragnet has become a go-to source for the stories that politicians probably hope will quietly go away, stories that the mainstream media misses, and the background to some of those stories showing things are not always as they seem.

As we prepare to bid farewell to 2011, we take a reflective look at our ten most-read stories of 2011. Surprisingly, we find that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich features heavily in our list of of blunders, lies and deception, sometimes also referred to as Los Angeles politics.

10. Trutanich Lies About ACE Program on Kevin James Show - Adds Plagiarism To His Shame List




City Attorney Carmen Tutanich has been hawking the ACE Program as the panacea for LA's fiscal and enforcement troubles for over a year now. But the City Council seems reluctant to accept Trutanich's hollow assurances that the his fiscal solution is not simply another of his shakedowns stealthily designed to give him more power while denying residents their due process rights.

That reluctance appears to have gained strength as a result of the Dragnet's revelation that Trutanich lied about the origins of 'his' program on the Kevin James radio show. If and when Trutanich's ACE Program has its showdown in the horseshoe, Trutanich is likely to be personally summoned to appear before the Council in public session, confronted with an audio recording of his lies, and asked the $64M question, "What else are you lying about?" It could be a long and embarrassing session.

In all likelihood, Trutanich has backed-off pushing 'his' ACE as a result of the impending thumbs-down. His own lies may have killed his own bill.

9. Trutanich: "I am not a thug!"



The Dragnet cannot claim all the credit for this story, straight out of the 'you can't make this stuff up' category of foot in the mouth statements. It was LA Weekly's intrepid reporter, Gene Maddaus, who accepted an invitation to dine with Trutanich at a Mafioso-style East LA eatery where Trutanich likes to hold court, perhaps like a scene from Goodfellas. Trutanich, it seems, was doing his level best to convince the LA Weekly that he was not being a bully over his threats to send 'professional' protesters to jail 'for a year,' but it appears that Trutanich was unable to con-vince Maddaus.

Trutanich, apparently 'lost it' as his frustration boiled over ("growing annoyed" is Maddaus related), and he blurted out his Nixonesque quote "I am not a thug!" as if that would improve things. It is not clear whether Trutanich also banged the Formica table top for emphasis while spitting out food as he made the fateful admission.

In what was an equally failure-bound attempt to rescue Trutanich from the ever deepening hole he was digging for himself, Trutanich's Chief Deputy then blurted out "Y'know, Nuch is actually an intellectual." It seems that Maddaus was not convinced. There are many things people may believe about Trutanich, being an intellectual is not one of them.  

8. District Attorney Hopeful Mario Trujillo Honored - Trutanich Crashes the Party


While members of the South East District Bar Association gathered to honor District Attorney candidate Mario Trujillo with the 'Attorney of the Year' award, the proceedings were rudely interrupted by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich who bullied his way to the podium armed with a bunch of cheesy calligraphic scrolls. 

The audience reaction to Trutanich's uninvited, crass and reportedly inarticulate rambling speech left little doubt that Trutanich was no longer welcome in the community that had previously supported him.

7. 'Thin skinned' Trutanich threatens to sue Alan Jackson over use of campaign photo

Proving, once again, that he has a very limited understanding of First Amendment issues, Trutanich tried and failed to bully District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson into removing a campaign photograph from the less than flattering 'Election Hangover Part II' video showing how Trutanich has reneged on his many promises not to use the City Attorney's Office as a political stepping stone to the DA's Office.

We display the video that Trutanich doesn't want you to see here, complete with the less than half-second display of the campaign photograph forming the core of Trutanich's pathetic threat.
 


Ironically, Trutanich's failed threat succeeded in in one way, it gave the Jackson campaign's political advert a second lease of life, more than doubling the number of views.

6. Trutanich chicken's out of DA Candidates' Forum. Sends City payroll spy


The first District Attorney candidate's forum gave an insight to the varied campaign platforms of the declared candidates. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich failed to appear, at first lying that 'he had not been invited,' then clarifying that lie with another 'he had not been officially invited.'

Either way, Trutanich saw fit to dispatch a spy to report back on the event, another crass move that perhaps belies the way Trutanich plans to conduct his campaign.

5. Trutanich's 'Porcupine Defense' explains City Attorney's losing streak


A string of heavy loses by Trutanich's lawyers was first explained by him as being due to "blunders" by his lawyers, however, as Trutanich explained to a confused reporter, it appears that Trutanich's childhood schoolyard bully strategy may be to blame.



It's called the "Porcupine Defense' by Trutanich, and it is likely that his insistence at sending his attorneys into trials that are destined to be lost, cost taxpayers around $20M in 2011.

4. Trutanich uses "My son was injured in Iraq" lie to avoid answering questions about District Attorney campaign




How low can you go, Mr. Trutanich? That's the question that perhaps should have been asked by KRLA talk show host Kevin James after Trutanich imp-lied that he was too busy taking care of his son who had been injured in Iraq to even think about running for District Attorney.

The "injury" may have occurred in Iraq while his son, an Assistant US Attorney was on a civilian assignment there. However it was not a field of combat injury; his son is not in the military. It was, apparently, a sports injury arising from a friendly game. Of course, that's probably "friendly fire" in Trutanich-speak.

Trutanich's willingness to mislead listeners into thinking that he had some connection to the families of the brave men and women in our military who are injured in the service of their country is beneath contempt. It goes to the very core of who Trutanich is and what he will do to mislead and deceive.

3. City Attorney "Family" BBQ Bombs -Trutanich lies about Bryan Stowe beating


The annual City Attorney's Office Family BBQ was a huge 'stay away' for hundreds of staffers and their families who silently protested Trutanich's reckless mismanagement which has caused layoffs, work furloughs and pay cuts, while Trutanich steadfastly refuses to take a matching pay cut. Significantly, many former political supporters also stayed away from the Trutanich train wreck.

Faced with embarrassingly low numbers expected for Trutanich's BBQ, the former ambulance chaser plaintiff's attorney turned career politician used a radio interview on AM570 KLAC Sports Radio's Petros and Money show to pimp the BBQ to the audience, even though the event was not open to the public.

But as if to highlight the hypocrisy and deceit that has become synonymous with Trutanich, he could not resist the opportunity to lie about his involvement in the investigation into the prosecution of those responsible for the Bryan Stowe Dodgers Stadium beating. When asked "how's the prosecution going to proceed?" he said "We're moving forward with that case."

Trutanich AM570KLAC Grandstands about Bryan Stowe Dodgers Stadium Beating by LA Dragnet

It's pathetic. Trutanich has absolutely no involvement with the prosecution of that case. That's because the life-threatening beating suffered by Bryan Stowe is a felony crime, and Trutanich as City Attorney does not prosecute serious and violent crimes.

Trutanich probably wanted to give the impression that he is in someway involved.  It does seem that Trutanich prefers to mislead people as to the difference between misdemeanor and felony crimes to make himself appear relevant where he is not.

2. Trutanich RentGate Story Fails To Explain Missing Rent Payments


City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's apparent failure to fully report the identity of the person or persons who paid the rent for his Ventura Blvd. campaign headquarters was the subject of the RentGate scandal, exposed by the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise.

Whether the under-reported or unreported payment of rent constitutes illegal campaign donations is believed to be a mater that the City Ethics Commission will review. The record of rent payments appearing in Trutanich's campaign finance documents appears to be less than complete, and the explanation offered by Trutanich is equally incomplete. We cannot say with any certainty whether there are 'criminal aspects' to this matter, even if Trutanich seems perfectly comfortable with the use of that phrase.

1. BillboardGate - Trutanich Billboard Blunder?


Top of the scandal stories of 2011 was the shattering revelation that, while playing the part of bully and thug tough-guy on illegal billboards, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich had, for two years, displayed illegal off-site billboards outside his former campaign headquarters on Ventura Blvd.

The scandal sent Trutanich into a tailspin of stories as he tried to distance himself from the scandal, even stooping so low as to claim in a statement to the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise that "the determination of the signs’ legality is not one that is made by his office."

Despite the best efforts of Trutanich to defend his billboards, a statement by one-time supporter Dennis Hathaway, president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, that "the signs should be taken down since the ’09 election was two years ago," appeared to end any doubt whatsoever that Trutanich was in violation of his own law. Trutanich removed his  illegal billboards before any enforcement action was necessary.


If BillboardGate proved anything, it was that Trutanich fails when the public becomes aware of his duplicity and deception. Without doubt, Trutanich's defeat over his illegal billboards occurred because the media paid attention to his double standards and double-speak. 

Happy New Year Dragnet readers!

The Los Angeles Dragnet may have contributed to making 2011 an Annus Horribilis for Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich, and as he ramps up his shenanigans for his District Attorney campaign, be assured that the Dragnet will do its best to repeat the compliment.

We take this opportunity to thank our growing readership for their support in 2011, and look forward to providing you with the same quality of reporting in the all important election year ahead.

&tc.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Trutanich 'Wrong' according to LA Times

The Los Angeles Times today issued a withering condemnation of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's expected DA campaign platform - bankrupting the Occupy LA protesters in order to boost his profile ahead of his confession that he is running for District Attorney.

It's a cheap stunt, something one can now routinely expect from Trutanich, but this time the victim of Trutanich's plan to make people pay for public gatherings and expressions of free speech is not a wealthy corporation like AEG, it's hundreds of jobless, homeless and hopeless Occupy LA protesters who could not even afford to bail themselves out of jail.

In addition to the LA Times' editorial condemnation of Trutanich, the Times also published a Ted Rall cartoon exposing Trutanich as an anti-free speech shakedown conman.

The LA Times published this Ted Rall cartoon portraying Trutanich
as an anti-free speech shakedown conman. (Credit Ted Rall/LA Times)
That the LA Times appears so willing to issue such an unequivocal condemnation of Trutanich is likely to be seen as a harbinger of media reaction to Trutanich's campaign to become District Attorney.

Gone are the days that Trutanich could count on the media to support him as the 'anti-business as usual' candidate. Instead, they now appear to view him not only as the antithesis of everything he said he stood for, but as an anti free speech terrorist and a grandstanding blowhard who will do anything to get his name in the press.

Trutanich's plan to sue and bankrupt the Occupy LA protesters will likely cost the City of LA much more than his failed 'criminal aspects' investigation into AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial. Trutanich has refused to disclose the costs of his year-long fiasco of an investigation, but based on his own comments to City Council, his Bureau of Investigations was fully occupied in trying to find an apparently non-existent crime. For Trutanich, the costs were probably not a consideration compared with the publicity it generated for him.

But if Trutanich thinks victimizing the Occupy LA protesters with another 'criminal aspects' sideshow will work again to help his campaign to become District Attorney, he appears to have made a big mistake. Trutanich has made bullying threats too often, and like the boy who cried wolf, his credibility is in the toilet, and the media are not afraid to say it, and the Dragnet will continue to publish the truth about Carmen Trutanich.

&tc.

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.”

05/13/11
John Burroughs
Construction Manager, Commerce Construction Co.
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee
$250.00

05/13/11
Jakob Ackermann
Director and Chairman of Commerce Construction Co LP, Majestic Realty Co.
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee
$1,000.00

05/13/11
Gayle Garner Roski
Artist, Wife of Edward P. Roski Jr
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee
$1,000.00

05/16/11
Edward P. Roski
President 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
$1,000.00

“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.

&tc.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Does Trutanich plan to bankrupt Occupy LA protesters?

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is 'going for the jugular' in his need to promote himself as the tough-on-freedom-of-speech candidate for Los Angeles District attorney. Journalist ​Bethania Palma, who was arrested when she joined the Occupy LA movement,  accused City Attorney Carmen Trutanich of "going for the jugular" with Occupy protesters, according to the LA Weekly.

After spending two days in jail, the former San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group reporter was not offered the opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction by participating in Trutanich's 're-education' program. Other Occupiers have, apparently, can avoid a criminal conviction by being re-educated as to their First Amendment rights in one of Trutanich's 'approved' diversion programs, but perhaps because Palma was a reporter, she was not offered Trutanich's First Amendment re-education.

Trutnanich, who was either too busy campaigning, or too afraid to face the press personally, used a spokesperson to respond to questions about the 'special' treatment doled out to Palma. The comment issued on behalf of Trutanich was that "he did not know why Palma was not offered diversion," but that Trutanich feels that "this case has come to a satisfactory conclusion and there is nothing more to comment on at this time," the spokesperson said.

Trutanich, it seems, is not content with just using 're-education' to deal with the Occupiers. According to the Los Angeles Times, 'Trutanich is considering a lawsuit against the protesters, one that would seek reimbursement for damage caused during the occupation and "is contemplating any and all of its options," said William Carter, Trutanich's chief deputy.'

The costs that the City of Los Angeles incurred as a result of the Occupy Los Angeles protest is proving hard to nail down. The Times reported that it has cost the city at least $2.35 million, not counting repairs to the lawn and fountain outside City Hall, according to a report issued Friday. However, the City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said that "some city workers who were assigned to the protest would have been on duty anyway" and therefore  could not be considered as an additional cost of dealing with the Occupiers.

Whatever portion of the $2.35M is ultimately determined to be attributable to the Occupiers, one thing seems certain; the Occupiers will not be able to pay. They certainly could not pay their bail, so how could they possibly pay their share of that $2.35M?

Under Trutanich's plan, it is believed that each of the 300 Occupiers arrested by the  LAPD would be 'jointly and severally liable' for the $2.35M bill, meaning that they would be forced into bankruptcy, or at a minimum, have their credit ruined by such a huge unpaid judgment debt. It would be a hollow victory for the City, not only because no actual money would be recovered, but because the City would also incur the additional cost of having Trutanich pursue 300 pointless cases.

However, Trutanich is poised to 'officially' announce that he is running for District Attorney. His personal need to keep his name in the headlines is likely to override any concern that the cost of bankrupting the Occupiers will cost the City even more money.

It also won't be the first time that Trutanich has wasted taxpayer resources to promote himself. Shortly after taking office, Trutanich launched a year-long 'criminal aspects' investigation into AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial. Trutanich dropped his investigation without comment, and has never revealed the costs of that investigation. However, the controversy that Trutanich generated kept his name in the headlines for almost six months, at taxpayers' expense.

With Trutanich's proven track record as a 'grandstander' and his personal need to achieve publicity to further his political career, it seems likely that Trutanich will seek to financially ruin the Occupiers, as well as the taxpayers of Los Angeles, who have to fund his fiascoes.

Trutanich, for his part, frequently complains that the City Council has cut his budget. Perhaps we can now see the reason why. Trutanich, it seems, is too willing to waste the City's money on side shows to further his political career, than doing the job he once promised to do.

&tc.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Themes - District Attorney Candidate News

DA Candidate Jackie Lacey joins DA Steve Cooley in Holiday Giving Drive



District Attorney Steve Cooley and Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey presented holiday gifts to the families of five murder victims today as part of the District Attorney’s 27th Annual Holiday Giving Drive.

According to the District Attorney's website, the Holiday Giving Drive benefited roughly 200 families who received more than $20,000 in gift baskets filled with toys and gift certificates. The gifts were made possible by donations primarily from District Attorney staff. Local service organizations, corporations and individuals also made donations.

“We in the District Attorney’s Office always are seeking justice for crime victims and their families,” District Attorney Cooley said. “During the Holiday Giving Drive we hope to bring them some cheer and show them that we care.”

Families are nominated to receive gifts from the Holiday Giving Drive by members of the District Attorney’s staff. D.A. investigators deliver the gifts to homes throughout Los Angeles County.

Gov. Pete Wilson endorsement boosts District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson's campaign

The Dragnet's exclusive on Gov. Pete Wilson's endorsement of Alan Jackson's campaign sparked a 'flood' of media interest in Jackson's campaign last week.

A campaign worker who contacted the Dragnet said that media reaction to the endorsement, generally, was that it would solidify conservative support for Jackson, the only Republican in what looks likely to be a field of nine candidates.

Comments posted in response to our exclusive suggested that Wilson's endorsement could result in Jackson being virtually ensured a 'top two' placing in the June primary, leaving Jackson to face the top-scoring Democrat in what seems to be an inevitable run-off in the November general election. 

Even though the District Attorney election is non-partisan, the likelihood is that there will be a much larger turnout of Republican voters in June as they have to select a challenger to the President, while Democrats don't have to chose anyone.

The fact that Carmen Trutanich resigned from the Republican party in what is now seen as a political career building campaign ploy to become City Attorney, and then 'bunny hop' to the DA's Office, will likely be used to good effect by the Jackson campaign to persuade conservatives from being fooled, again, by the former ambulance chaser plaintiff's attorney. 


DA Candidate Marcus Musante 'Getting Serious' about campaign

We haven't heard much from Marcus Musante, the most recent candidate for District Attorney, however, and email from his campaign assured us that he is serious about his bid to replace Steve Cooley in 2013.

We have, accordingly, added a link to his website together with the other candidates. We should point out that the names of candidates are displayed in alphabetical order, however, when the candidates' names appear on the ballot for the June 5, 2012 primary election, they will be in an order based on a lottery-style random selection process conducted by the County Registrar-Recorder's Office.

We notice that the website has changed, now promoting Musante as the 'Generation X' candidate. It appears to be in the process of being put together in time for a January 2012 launch.

DA Candidate Mario Trujillo pushes for a 'Strong Finish' to 2012

 An email from District Attorney candidate Mario Trujillo's campaign urged supporters to help him make a 'strong finish' to his thus far very successful fundraising in 2012.

'If everyone that has indicated that they support my campaign would donate just $25,$50 or $100 before December 25th we would again show the political insiders that we not only understand the future but we are also willing to take charge of it.' Trujillo says in his email.

Recipients of Trujillo's email are directed to his website where they can make those all-important donations.

Trujillo has achieved considerable success in terms of fundraising, and while City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is expected to announce the highest numbers in this fudraising cycle, it is notable that Trujillo's money appears to be coming from individuals who will likely vote in the election. In contrast to Trujillo and  the other candidates, the vast majority of Trutanich's money appears to come from special interest firms who do or seek to do business with the City of Los Angeles.

An example of Trutanich's fundraising approach appeared in a recent post at the Mayor Sam Blog.  Trutanich's Office Holder account had received  contributions from members of the law firm of Albright Yee & Schmit. That firm was recently awarded $767,000 in four separate contracts "To assist the City Attorney with legal representation." The contracts are numbered C-119634, C-119633, C-119635 and C-111576. Coincidentally, of course, members of the law firm of Albright Yee & Schmit also made contributions to Trutanich's so-called 'exploratory committee' for his DA campaign.

District Attorney candidate Steve Ipsen announces endorsements

A press release put out by Steve Ipsen last week announced that he has "secured the endorsements of prominent victims’ rights leaders from the largest victims organizations in Southern California."
 
In the release Ipsen describes himself as "founder and eight term past president of the nation’s largest prosecutors union," suggesting that Ipsen's campaign will focus on securing the support of organized labor in addition to vicitms' rights organizations.

There was no mention as to whether the Association of Deputy District Attorneys will reward Ipsen with their endorsement in his campaign to become DA, however, that would appear to be likely, given the way ADDA endorsements have been awarded in the past.

Most recently, the ADDA endorsed Republican John Eastman for State Attorney General, an endorsement that most members were unaware of and disapproved.

The Trutanich Scandals series proves popular

The second of the Dragnet's recent series of Trutanich Scandals has proved to be a popular source of entertainment and information for our readers.

Focusing on the background to the fiasco that saw Trutanich publicly claiming that there were 'criminal aspects' to the way AEG handled the Michael Jackson memorial, his sudden 'dropping' of the year-long investigation by his Bureau of Investigations, and curious subsequent receipt free tickets to a Lady Gaga concert at AEG's LA Live venue, the Trutanich Scandals series hopes to connect the dots to the way Trutanich uses prosecution, politics, and phony ploys.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Dragnet readers.

&tc.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Trutanich Scandals - 'Criminal Aspects'Gate - Trutanich channels Joseph McCarthy

In our continuing series focusing on the Trutanich Scandals, we turn our attention this week to the efforts the former ambulance chaser plaintiff's attorney turned career politician has used to get his name into the press.

It didn't take long for LA's newly elected City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, to establish himself as a grandstander of the first order. Despite earlier assurances that he was committed to staying out of the limelight, that he did not "want to see my name in the press," barely days into office the media-needy Trutanich was desperately seeking headlines over the death of Michael Jackson.

Trutanich was sworn into office on July 1, 2009, six days after Jackson's death and amid world wide media attention. On July 7, that attention focused on downtown Los Angeles, shut down for a memorial service at the Staples Center. Trutanich made his move to gain a piece of the action. While the real story was the cause of Jackson's death, Trutanich must have seen an opportunity for a side show that would boost his profile; an investigation into the costs of the memorial service.

Although such an investigation would more properly be the domain of the newly elected City Controller, Wendy Greuel, Trutanich was already planning to renege on a promise he made to her (and the former Controller, Laura Chick), over an investigation of the City Attorney's Office. Trutanich perhaps felt he could take the sting out of what many saw as the first of his many lies, by marginalizing the Controller's Office with his own, crass and ill-conceived 'criminal aspects' investigation into the costs of the memorial.

So it was that on July 21, 2009, two weeks after the memorial service, Trutanich called a special meeting of the Los Angeles City Council to announce the results of his two-week 'investigation.' Trutanich's investigation was apparently complete. At least complete enough for him to 'go public.' He had cracked the case, solved the mystery, and was going to show what a powerful and effective force he was going to be in Los Angeles.



While the world watched as Trutanich stumbled his way through a prepared speech, he left little doubt that AEG, the operators of the Staples Center and LA Live, were the targets of his witch-hunt 'investigation.'

After forgetting the correct title for Councilmember Dennis Zine, Trutanich stated that "The City Attorney's Office Bureau of Investigations is continuing to actively review the events leading up to the events held at the Staples Center and at LA Live venues downtown. My investigators have already interviewed numerous witnesses and gathered significant evidence. We are still collecting information and developing a time-line of events and we are identifying the key players involved. To that extent I invite other, others to also come forward and to provide additional information and documents relating to this matter, by contacting our office."

Pausing, perhaps for effect, with a wry smile, Trutanich then dropped the bombshell.

In a moment perhaps reminiscent of the Joseph McCarthy era, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich
publicly accuses AEG of 'criminal aspects to their handling of the Michael Jackson memorial.

"Our investigation has taken an unanticipated turn that raises both civil and criminal aspects," Trutanich said to a stunned audience. Criminal aspects were the words Trutanich used to say, without saying, that a crime or crimes had occurred.

Trutanich, citing "ethical considerations" and the need to "preserve the integrity of the investigation," refused to provide any details of the so-called 'criminal aspects.'  "I do not want to publicly discus any matters that could potentially jeopardize the effectiveness of our ongoing investigation," Trutanich read from his statement.

Trutanich's use of a weighty, slow and deliberate delivery, mixed with innuendo and allusion to matters that 'must remain secret' pending his 'investigation' were sufficient to convince most viewers that Trutanich had substantial evidence necessary to prosecute a criminal case.  It was a style, however, that some may have remembered from a dark time in American history, perhaps best forgotten; the McCarthy era.


Fifty-five years after Sen. Joseph McCarthy used innuendo, rumor and half-truths in the court of public opinion to promote himself, it certainly must appeared to some that Trutanich was using those very same techniques to promote his political career.


The similarities between McCarthy and Trutanich can be seen in this
exchange between Mr. Welch and McCarthy.

Some question Trutanich's evidence
While the City Council, the media and the court of public opinion seemed all too ready to accept Trutanich's statements as gospel, some perhaps remembered a time long past, when McCarthy grabbed the headlines on a daily basis with nothing but rumor and innuendo.

Could it be that Trutanich was doing the same thing? Could it be that Trutanich's 'so-called Bureau of Investigations' (which basically existed in name only), had no real evidence of any crime? Was Trutanich just operating on a 'there's no smoke without fire' theory of guilt? Certainly, as long as Trutanich was able to refuse to comment on so-called 'ethical' grounds as to the status of his investigation, Trutanich could give the impression that he had more than goose eggs.

The Los Angeles Daily News smells a rat
One reporter at least, wasn't buying what Trutanich was selling. Rick Orlov at the Los Angeles Daily News has the gravitas and experience to smell a rat. He was not prepared to accept Trutanich's allegations at face value. Orlov stated that "Trutanich's vague comments about the Jackson inquiry puzzled observers, and criminologists and defense attorneys struggled to see the possibilities of a criminal case."

There's no evidence of any crime
Orlov tracked down prominent criminal defense attorney James E. Blatt Esq., who told the Daily News that "I don't see any criminal liability with AEG." Orlov also sought an opinion from Lewis Yablonsky, an emeritus professor in criminology at California State University, Northridge. Yablonsky concurred, saying "To me, it's kind of a fiasco," "but I don't see anything criminal about it."

Despite Orlov, Blatt and Yablonsky's doubts, Trutanich continued to maintain that his investigation had uncovered some kind of smoking gun, some dark and dirty dealings that had criminally cost the City millions of dollars, perhaps as much as six million dollars.

Trutanich managed to dodge and deflect questions about his witch-hunt investigation for almost a year. By then, perhaps, the City Council had realized that Trutanich had nothing. There had been no criminal case filed by Trutanich, who has a one-year statute of limitations to file a misdemeanor case. Equally, Trutanich's 'buddy' and former supporter, District Attorney Steve Cooley, apparently had not filed a felony case arising from Trutanich's elusive 'criminal aspects' investigation.

District Attorney's Office likely rejected the case
Although it is not known whether Trutanich in fact referred the case to his then ally Cooley for the filing of a felony case, Trutanich frequently boasted about 'walking cases over to his friend Steve Cooley.' Indeed, he is believed to have threatened to do just that when he threatened to arrest Councilmember Jan Perry over a different matter also concerning AEG.

Whether Trutanich did indeed present the 'criminal aspects' case to Cooley and subsequently received a sound rejection or 'declination' is a matter that will likely remain cloaked in secrecy. However, given the way Trutanich used to brag about his relationship with the District Attorney, that is, in all probability, what occurred.

Trutanich moves for a Grand Jury investigation
Stuck with an 'investigation' that likely had all the 'criminal aspects' of a dead sheep (and stank as much) Trutanich started lobbying for a Grand Jury. Grand Jury proceedings, could, perhaps, keep the 'criminal aspects' allegation on life support for long enough for Trutanich to find a way out of the mess he appeared to have gotten himself into. It was a move straight out of the McCarthy playbook providing more innuendo, rumor, speculation and feeding what had become apparent to an increasing number of observers; an overwhelming need for self-aggrandizement.

In what many regard as a rare moment of decisiveness on the part of the City Council, Trutanich's plans for a Grand Jury were soundly rejected. An attempt to end-run the City Council by using a State Assembly Bill moved by Trutanich's political ally Gil 'One Bill' Cedillo was similarly killed off.

Trutanich's BS finally hits the fan
Trutanich was likely forced to drop his 'criminal aspects' fiasco as it became increasingly apparent that he was firing blanks. AEG, for their part, had waited patiently for Trutanich to either file the threatened criminal case, or have the humility to apologize for his rash, foolish and seemingly unfounded allegations.

But Trutanich was apparently both unable to file a criminal case or have the decency to apologize for his poor judgment. So it was that on June 18, 2010, the LA Times reported that Councilmembers Dennis Zine and Jan Perry stepped in to bring some closure to what had become a major embarrassment to the City.


AEG and Michael Jackson's estate would make a $1.3M donation towards the costs the City incurred in ensuring public safety at the Michael Jackson memorial. As Orlov at the Daily News also reported, there was no announcement or explanation from Trutanich. No press release, no photo op, no media gathering, and of course no apology.

Trutanich also accepts 'donation' from AEG
In what was, perhaps, a surprising, if not shocking, post script to what some might think was Trutanich's crass and foolish attempt to grandstand and play to the media with an empty hand, Trutanich also accepted a 'donation' from AEG. It was not, however, a donation towards the unknown costs of his year-long 'criminal aspects' investigation.

The gift Trutanich accepted was rather more of a personal nature; a bunch of tickets to a Lady Gaga concert at AEG's LA Live Nokia Theater. Under City Ethics Commission rules, Trutanich was forced to report the gift to his Officeholder Committee, and probably hoped it would go unnoticed months after his investigation disappeared without a trace.

Trutanich's BS continues
Despite having no comment on June 18, 2010 when his 'criminal aspects' investigation was finally seen for the "bully tactics" AEG's CEO Tim Leiweke had called it, Trutanich nevertheless appears to be trying to re-invent history.

Buried in a March 23, 2011 budget briefing report, Trutanich claims that his office was involved in negotiating a $1M donation to the City's General Fund from AEG. He does not mention the Lady Gaga tickets, but he might as well, both statements are equally laughable.

That anyone with any shred of common sense would believe that Trutanich, who has never been shy of the media, would have missed out on the June 18, 2010 opportunity to claim credit for the settlement with AEG, perhaps just shows how little regard Trutanich has for the common sense of the public. Both LA's leading newspapers covered the settlement, and Trutanich had no comment. Yet nine months later, there he is silently sneaking his claim to fame in a document that might have better use in the bathroom.

Trutanich appears to rely on that old political ploy, "Are you going to believe me, or would you rather believe your own lying eyes?" Perhaps he believes that voters have short memories and lack the capacity to connect the dots. But Trutanich's history of threats, accusations, misleading statements, innuendo and outright lies are too well documented.

This is the second installment in our Trutanich Scandals series. Thankfully, there is no shortage of material for our next installment.

&tc.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Breaking News - Alan Jackson to announce endorsement by Gov. Pete Wilson


Reliable sources have confirmed that District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson has secured the endorsement of former California Governor Pete Wilson for his campaign to become LA's next District Attorney. An official announcement is expected from the Jackson campaign shortly.

Governor Wilson's endorsement is believed to be a major boost to Jackson's campaign and will solidify support for Jackson as the only Republican candidate in the race. The former governor recently served as District Attorney Steve Cooley's campaign chair and Jackson already has Cooley's former finance chair, Chuck Bakaly, on his finance team. The Wilson's endorsement is bound to boost Jackson's fundraising activities in the New Year.

The Wilson endorsement is said to be 'devastating' to City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's campaign. The former Republican turned 'decline to state' was likely counting on securing high level Republican support to overcome the negativity resulting from his failure to honor his 'Pledge to Serve.' Reports indicate that Trutanich was recently booed and jeered at a Republican Club meeting and had to be told to leave.

Jackson's campaign website's endorsement page had yet to publish Gov. Wilson's endorsement, however, we understand this will be done shortly.

&tc.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Counterfeit Trutanich puts spotlight on other scandals

The hilarious farce of a 'blockbuster' press conference hosted by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich continued to rankle in our comments section. It seems that hardly anyone bothered to show up for the rooftop event, and those who did were less than impressed.

A Daily News staff photographer captured the farcical photo of a bloated Trutanich
trying to con vince the sparse audience that he had done something more than file
a handful of minor misdemeanor charges against four street vendors.
The Los Angeles Daily News covered the event, doubtless with the promise that the city attorney  had some real news. But there was little news, instead Trutanich puffed himself up and tried to make a mountain out of a molehill - 4 street vendors charged with minor misdemeanor violations that, in reality, will likely result in small fines and no jail time.

We can only assume that Hans Gutknecht, the Daily News staff photographer who took the 'action' shot of the puffed-up blowhard Trutanich, was so disgusted at this flagrant grandstanding that he used the filename 'counterfeit Trutanich' to subtly indicate that the press conference was even more fake and phony than the t-shirts and DVDs seized.

A lone Trutanich bragged and bloviated in a desperate move to make up
for the low turnout at his blockbuster press conference.
Trutanich previously condemned his predecessor, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, for issuing daily press releases for minor matters to boost his public profile. Trutanich, however, is now seemingly copying Delgadillo's playbook, 'It's a press release every day' said an insider who explained that it was 'the same thing Rocky did to make himself appear relevant.'

It seems that the same fate awaits Trutnanich. Despite Delgadillo's press release madness, he failed to secure the Attorney General position that once seemed assured. No amount of press releases could make up for the scandals over the way he abused the City Attorney's Office, and his own staff leaked scandal stories to the press which ultimately helped to derail his campaign.

THE TRUTANICH SCANDALS

Trutanich is faced with even more, and perhaps worse, scandals than Delgadillo. In the interests of helping the electorate fully understand Trutanich's utter unsuitability for any public office, let alone District Atttorney, we begin a series of reviews of the Trutanich scandals.

JudgeGate
When deputy city attorney Thomas Griego asked Trutanich to endorse his candidacy to become a superior court judge, it seems that Trutanich was willing to 'go the extra mile' to help Griego.

Griego had little, if no criminal experience. He had been the chief of staff for disgraced former city councilmember Mike Hernandez, who was arrested in 1997 on narcotics charges. Perhaps as a political favor, Griego was allowed to join the City Attorney's office and  spent the bulk of his time in obscure civil assignments associated with councilmember needs.

It was hardly a winning resume for Griego who was pitched in the judicial election against a career hardcore gang prosecutor from the District Attorney's Office - Alan Schneider.

Trutanich nevertheless transferred Griego to the criminal division for the sole reason that Griego could use the misleading ballot designation 'criminal prosecutor' to improve his chances of winning. At the time, Trutanich was busy transferring deputy city attorneys out of the criminal division, so the Griego transfer had no other palpable explanation. Even a skilled liar like Trutanich would be hard put to come up with a plausible lie to cover his role in a conspiracy to mislead voters.

That Trutanich would be a party to such a deception surprised even his closest supporters as the Los Angeles County Bar Association had rated Griego as 'Not Qualified' to be a judge. Trutanich must have been counting on using his political capital to overcome Griego's shortcomings, hoping that the  'halo' effect of the early days of the Trutanich administration would overcome any negatives.

Insiders speculated that Trutanich had previously promised to support Griego as a payback for getting Griego to use his political connections in the Latino community to support Trutanich's city attorney campaign, and Trutanich was simply 'honoring' a backroom political deal.

Whatever the reasoning behind Trutanich's deal with the devil, he was wrong. The Metropolitan News Enterprise published a stinging review of Griego's candidacy during which Griego was forced to admit that he had not actually prosecuted a single criminal case since launching his faux candidacy.

Griego ultimately lost his bid to become a judge and Trutanich is believed to have then quietly transferred him back to his old job.

Backroom Deal or Self-Promotion?
Whether Trutanich was indeed honoring an illegal backroom deal he made to garner the support of Griego for his city attorney campaign, or whether Trutanich was simply trying to enhance his own status by marking himself as a 'judge maker,' remains a dark secret known only to Trutanich. In all likelihood the truth probably lies somewhere between the two possibilities.

Mafia-style power plays 
In the world of organized crime, crime bosses are believed to enhance their power and reputation by 'holding their hands up' for crime associates, thereby helping to 'make' a new member of the crime syndicate's inner circle. Trutanich could have been engaging in similar conduct to boost his power and influence if had he been able to 'make' Griego a judge.

Political payback
The payback for Trutanich would be not only that he would have a judge who owes him a favor, but also that Trutanich could parlay his new role as a 'judge maker' to exact favors from others who want his endorsement. It is sleazy politics at best, illegal at worst, but it's a practice that Trutanich seemed perfectly comfortable with having never offered the public any explanation for his conduct.

Make 'em an offer they can't refuse
Trutanich's failure to 'make' Griego has not, apparently, deterred the City Attorney from using the promise of future favors in return for political support. Trutanich faces overwhelming opposition from the 1,000 deputy district attorneys who do not want Trutanich to be their next boss. They have seen the way that in the two years since becoming City Attorney, Trutanich's crass policies have decimated the City Attorney's office with layoffs, pay cuts and work furloughs. Trutanich has not taken a pay cut and has used a variety of ruses to similarly protect a few key staff. But for the vast majority of deputy city attorneys, Trutanich has been a disaster both financially and professionally.

Deputy district attorney promised promotion
Faced with such an miserable record as a leader, Trutanich has nevertheless been reaching out to deputy district attorneys to garner their support for his bid to become their boss. It is understood that at least one supervisor has been promised 'a Grade 5 spot' if she will support Trutanich for DA.

The promotion of supervisor to a Grade V position is understood to be almost exclusively the prerogative of the elected District Attorney, and subject to few civil service rules. This lends credibility Trutanich's promises, but when viewed in the light of the way he failed to follow through with similar promotion promises as City Attorney, it is more than likely that the supervisor will not be promoted and, of course, be unable to complain about it.

Bureau of Investigations courted with promises
Trutanich is also believed to have been making similar promotion promises to District Attorney Investigators in the Bureau of Investigation. Trutanich is desperate to obtain the support of the law enforcement branch of the DA's Office both through individual investigators who have been tapped for promotion and by courting the endorsement of their union. It is an endeavor that stretches and tests loyalties.

The former Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Investigation, Gary Schram, now works for Trutanich's DA campaign as well as supervising Trutanich's cash-strapped investigators. Schram was promised his own Bureau with full law enforcement status when he joined the City Attorney's Office as one of Trutanich's 'at will' employees. However, that also proved to be another of Trutanich's failed promises with Schram now seemingly fully occupied with using his contacts to promote Trutanich's ambition to be DA.

Nevertheless, Schram has apparently remained convinced that Trutanich will eventually deliver on his promise and instead appoint him as Chief of the DA's Office Bureau of Investigation if Trutanich becomes DA. Unfortunately for Schram, Trutanich is believed to have made the same promise to several others in the Bureau as well as to senior officers at both the LAPD and the Sheriff's Department.

All in all, Trutanich's concentration on making false promises and engaging in cheap grandstanding rather than doing the job he said 'I am here to do,' will likely result in his overwhelming defeat in the June 2012 primary election.

For Trutanich, the political defeat will be humbling, but will likely be followed with his rapid return to private practice as an ambulance chaser plaintiff's attorney and lobbyist with strong connections to City Hall. For those foolish enough to believe his promises, perhaps they should put a higher store on their credibility and reputation that Trutanich seemingly puts on his.

The Trutanich scandals series will continue next week.

&tc.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Free For All

Trujillo draws criticism from Cooley

The LA Weekly reports that LA County District Attorney Steve Cooley had harsh words for  candidate Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo at the LA County Bar Association judicial honors event in the Tom Bradley room high atop City Hall on Wednesday night.

The audience at the sparsely attended event was virtually doubled by the attendance of nearly all the DA candidates (Marcus Musante must have been in trial). Keen observers relate the following exchange between Cooley and Trujillo:
Trujillo: 'Hi boss, how are you?'
Cooley: 'I was doing just fine until I read that you called me archaic and inefficient.'

It went downhill from there...

Trutanich likely to declare candidacy early in 2012


Also lurking around the rafters of the Tom Bradley room was City Attorney Carmen Trutanich who all but admitted that he would announce his run for DA 'early in 2012.' With 'TRU in 12' likely to be the campaign slogan, we wonder if Trutanich will recycle some of his other campaign catchphrases. 'I am here to do this job' seems to be the most appropriate, as one observer noted, 'He doesn't say which job, does he?'

&tc.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Counterfeit Trutanich

In his increasingly desperate efforts to project himself as a crime fighter and not a liar who reneged on a sworn solemn promise and tried and failed to threaten his political rival, District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson, an embattled Carmen Trutanich held a 'press conference' in downtown Los Angeles to grandstand the filing of misdemeanor charges against four sellers of counterfeit mechandize.



Our headline, 'Counterfeit Trutanich,' is not our stated opinion, not our stated view, and not even our stated comment. It's the title given to the photograph of blowhard Trutanich by Daily News staff photographer Hans Gutknecht.

If you build it, they will come. Not.



But an unfortunate wide-shot of Trutanich's grandstanding event revealed a rather different picture; few showed up for Trutanich's little piece of  'tough on crime' self-promotion.

Perhaps the Daily News did have the right title for their photograph. Trutanich's grandstanding could be seen as being as fake, phony and disgusting as the phony Rolex watches and DVDs on display.

&tc.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

'Thin skinned' Trutanich threatens to sue Alan Jackson over use of campaign photo

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is believed to be behind an October 14, 2011 threat to sue District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

The threat, contained in a letter delivered to Jackson at the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office in downtown Los Angeles, complains of the "unauthorized use of various copyrighted photographs that appear on the website identified as: www.electionhangover2.com."


The website displays a video attacking Trutanich for reneging on his promise to voters that, if elected, he would not seek higher office. Trutanich's so-called 'Pledge to Serve' is righteously hammered in  'Election Hangover Part II,' a political parody suggesting voters might wake up to the awful reality of what they did in a moment of foolishness - voting for Trutanich.



Although the October 14, 2011 threat letter does not identify Carmen Trutanich as a client of the law firm, Alan Jackson's campaign manager, John Thomas, told the Daily News that he believed Trutanich was behind the threat. "There's only one person in the world that would have a vested interest in having us tear down that video, and that is our opponent, and he is a very thin-skinned individual," Thomas said.

Trutanich certainly seemed to know enough about the threat letter to make it implausible that he was not the instigator of this threat. Trutanich's response to questions about the threat letter was that it "was sent on behalf of a photographer who worked for the 2009 city attorney bid," Trutanich told the Daily News, also claiming that he did not authorize the sending of the letter himself.

Curiously, the photographer is also not named in the threat letter. The Daily News, however, contacted the law firm who sent Trutanich's threat letter and they claimed to be "representing Redinger." This is believed to be Scott Libolt, a photographer at Miami based Redinger-Libolt Photo. The Daily News was able to contact someone who apparently identified themselves as Scott Redinger who said he "was the definitely the photographer," but he said he couldn't comment any further, "I was told not to talk to reporters," he said.

The photograph apparently complained of by Trutanich appears for only a fraction of a second in the Election Hangover Part II video, at about 1 minute 29 seconds into the video, and appears to be either the same or similar to a photograph that appears on Libolt's portraits portfolio.

The photograph apparently used without permission in Election Hangover Part II
appears to be similar to one featured on the Redinger-Libolt Photo website.
The threat letter warns Jackson of potential damages of up to $150,000 for willful copyright infringements, however, legal experts contacted by the Daily News doubted that an actual copyright action would succeed given the "fair use" doctrine of the Copyright Act.

The Redinger-Libolt photo of Trutanich is routinely used by the LA Weekly without
express permission or any credit to any copyright holder.
Furthermore, this photograph of Trutanich has been widely used by the LA Weekly, most recently to report on Trutanich chickening out of the District Attorney candidates' forum. On no occasion has the photo been used with either Trutanich or Libolt's express permission and certainly it appears without any accreditation, making it highly likely that the use of the photo by Trutanich in his campaign rendered the photo 'public domain' and thus the success of any copyright action is even less likely.
 
Trutanich, of course, has quite a reputation for making threats as well as hiding behind others to deliver his threats. In 2009, when questions arose about Trutanich's sudden hospitalization, respected author and sometime blogger John Mailander aka 'Mulholland Terrace' was threatened with a slander action for publishing a comment appearing on the LA Times website. The comment suggested heavy alcohol use may be involved in the hospitalization. Mailander was immediately threatened with a slander lawsuit by Trutanich via his Special Assistant Jane Usher.


Trutanich's apparent willingness to use threats and wildly inaccurate accusations while hiding behind the skirts of others to launch attacks against people who don't agree with him should give voters sufficient reason to question his suitability for any elected office, let alone that of the District Attorney's Office.

UPDATED:
Despite saying that he would not speak to reporters about his breach of copyright claim, Scott Libolt-Redinger aka Scott Redinger-Libolt has just published a comment to the Daily News article:


In order to help Carmen Trutanich understand copyright law, images depicted here appear pursuant to the Fair Use Doctrine:

Copyright Disclaimer: Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

&tc.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Free For All

Trutanich hints at "advice" given to Mayor over Occupy LA

The reason why City Attorney Carmen Trutanich was 'disinvited' from the Mayor's press conference announcing plans to end the Occupy LA protests peacefully may have been revealed during a rare radio appearance made by Trutanich on the Peter Tilden morning talk show on KABC 790AM Thursday morning.


While Los Angelenos seemed pleased with the way that the Mayor had handled the closure of the Occupy LA encampment around City Hall, an irate City Attorney Trutanich told the radio audience that he could not discuss the advice he gave the Mayor as to how he wanted the protest to be ended.

Trutanich hinted that there is a law and it has to be obeyed, implying that Trutanich favored taking immediate action to end the occupation by force the moment it started.

If indeed, Trutanich favored an immediate enforcement of the law, his position clashed with that of the Mayor and the City Council; they were keen to avoid a repetition of the Mcarthur Park melee which could be attributed to an ill planned rapid 'enforcement' of the law.

Trutanich did not state whether he would be launching a 'criminal aspects investigation into the costs of the police operation to end Occupy LA. Those costs were, perhaps, increased by the Mayor's apparent inaction for some 60 days.

Trutanich also commented about the $5,000 bail imposed on those arrested for violating the law. Some had questioned the amount of the bail, but Trutanich defended the bail amount saying that it was a simple processing of looking up the code section and finding the corresponding bail amount in the bail schedule. This approach, of course, conflicts with Trutanich's own policy of seeking higher bail than set by the bail schedule, indicating yet another difference between the Mayor and Trutanich.

&tc.