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.


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.

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.



Anonymous said...

As usual more lies from 'Joe Friday' who is too chicken to use his real name. Well we all know who you are, and so does Nuch.Get ready for some freeway therapy you are a stooge and a betrayer and you will pay.

Anonymous said...

Ironic, you publish a story about Nuch's press release which was a huge success, and you claim it was no news. At the same time you re-hash an old story about a favor Nuch did for Tom Griego, and you claim that this is news? Haven't you got anything else better to do than publish half-truths to try to make Nuch look bad? Who cares if his daughter's boss has been promised a promotion for supporting him, it's the kind of thing that goes on in politics. If you don't like it you should follow Mr. Philobosian's advice to Mario Trujillo - resign.

Anonymous said...

You should save your Trutanich scandals series for the new year. Everything in LA politics is winding down for the holidays and your efforts, while appreciated, are wasted. It was fun to see Nuch do a double take when his Blackberry buzzed with a Google Alert to this story, but beyond ruining his Sunday, you aren't scoring any points. Keep your powder dry and blast the arrogant fool out of orbit when he announces his candidacy - which will be right after the latest reporting period. He thinks raising million dollars will impress, but he's going to need a hell of a lot more than that to overcome the opposition.

Anonymous said...

The Griego transfer surprised and upset a lot of people at the city attorney's office. It was one of the first things Nuch did to signal that all the promises he had made about being different to Rocky were false. Tom Griego is a nice guy, but clearly not a criminal prosecutor. It was very foolish of him to try to fool voters and most likely Nuch encouraged him to run a phony campaign, after all, it worked for Nuch - 'environmental attorney?' gimme a break. Since when did being an ambulance chaser have anything to do with the environment? You are right to bring this to the attention of the public, it really shows what kind of filthy rotten scum this guy is. He has destroyed any credibility the city attorney's office had left after Rocky, and made life miserable for pretty much everyone. I hope he turns out to be the biggest loser and I look forward to having Mike Feuer as the next city attorney. At least he is honest and sincere.

Anonymous said...

How do you get away with saying '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.'? Trutanich can easily lie about his reasons for backing Griego, just like he lies about everything else.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your posts, Mr. Friday. Would recommend you pursue the Roski-Trutanich connection. Read "City of Industry: Genealogies of Power in Southern California" for Roski's backstory, and Industry special relationship wit the D.A.'s office. Good luck!