Monday, March 12, 2012

Trutanich's use of Outside Counsel questioned, Trujillo confirms end of campaign

Trutanich's use of Outside Counsel questioned

Former Carmen Trutanich supporter and longtime activist blogger David 'Zuma Dogg' Saltzburg  claims that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's use of Outside Counsel to litigate his civil rights case against the City of Los Angeles is not only an unwarranted wasted of taxpayer funds, but raises questions about whether it is appropriate for law firms who contributed to Trutanich's City Attorney campaign to receive contracts from the City Attorney's Office to do the work Trutanich does not want to do.

Saltzburg, who campaigned heavily for Trutanich during the 2008-2009 City Attorney race, may have more than one reason to attack Trutanich's decision to hire the Meyers Nave lawfirm to handle settlement of his case. He says Trutanich promised him a job in the City Attorney's Office, but once elected, Trutanich failed to follow through and stopped taking his calls. It's an experience shared by many who were promised much from Trutanich, but were left with goose eggs.

Saltzburg's LA Daily News blog reported that Meyers Nave had been hired to defend the City of Los Angeles against the claim that Saltzburg, along with other street artists, had been unlawfully prevented from exercising their First Amendment rights on Venice Beach. Saltzburg cannot understand why Deputy City Attorneys at the City Attorney's Office, who had previously handled the case, were suddenly replaced with a high-priced private lawfirm. Saltzburg believes that donations to Trutanich's City Attorney campaign made by 15 lawyers at Meyers Nave also raises the question as to whether this is a case of "quid pro quo," an expensive "thank you" from Trutanich.

Los Angeles City Ethics Commission records show that 15 lawyers at the
Meyers Nave lawfirm contributed towards Trutaich's 2009 City Attorney camaign

Trutanich has made much of the way he has cut the use of outside counsel to save the City's General Fund, so the $100,000 contract to Meyers Nave, believed to be Contract Number C-120019, appears to fly in the face of Trutanich's claims.

As to Saltzburg's 'quid pro quo' argument, in March 2011, Los Angeles voters passed Measure H, the 'Restriction on Campaign Contributions from City Contractors.' The measure was designed to prevent the kind of situation that Saltzburg now complains of; the appearance of impropriety. Saltzburg, it seems, is not stating that the award of the contact to Meyers Nave is a case of quid pro quo, just that it looks that way. He has a point. It certainly does not look right that those who contributed to elect the City Attorney should subsequently receive contracts, regardless of the quality of the work they perform.

Unfortunately for Saltzburg, Meyers Nave's campaign donations were made before Measure H was passed. They have not subsequently contributed to Carmen Trutanich's Office Holder account nor to his District Attorney campaign. Interestingly, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich opposed Measure H.

Mario Trujillo confirms abandoning District Attorney race

Citing health reasons, District Attorney candidate Mario Trujillo told the LGBT Point of View blog that he was pulling out of the race to become District Attorney.

In what appears to be an exclusive interview with the LGBT POV, Trujillo said: a health scare during the course of a regular colonoscopy recently “precipitated a review of my personal life,” Trujillo said. “I realized that my teenage son was preparing to go to college and my daughter is preparing to go into high school, so this is a critical time for them. We need to get them ready and prepared.”

Trujillo said his partner Leonard “is fantastic. I’m blessed to have him.” But “the picture changed” when they welcomed Gabriel into their family last June. “I’m a very active father and I can’t be active if I’m on the campaign trail and I can’t protect the residents of the county when I’m trying to bond with a baby at home.”

He said his campaign had been “looking great,” having raised nearly half a million dollars with endorsements from prominent elected officials. He also said he is particularly pleased that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LA County Sheriff Lee Baca and LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich agreed with him on the public safety issue of giving undocumented workers drivers licenses.

“We were doing great and I love being out there on the campaign,” Trujillo said. “But family comes first. And I’m young enough to still get another shot at it.” But first, “I want to make sure my kids are alright.”

Trujillo is 43. He and his partner Leonard have been together for “eight great years” and are “thinking about” getting married, Trujillo said. “I can’t see my life without him.” Trujillo may take some time off work “to bond with the baby.”

Mario Trujillo's first foray into Los Angeles politics achieved remarkable success in a relatively short time. We all wish Mario a speedy return to good health and trust that he will resume his political ambitions when circumstances permit. The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office appears to be wide open, and Trujillo would be a logical and well qualified candidate for the job Trutanich does not want to do.



Matt Dowd said...

meyers nave just filed 60 pages of exhibits in federal court trying to get me dismissed - and not one on the merits, in a civil rights case- they're using every dirty little conniving trick in the book against us pro se plaintiffs. City has three of these boardwalk cases running in federal court still- one is Hunt, 2 is Dowd Saltsburg et al, the performers who got the preliminary imjumction in Oct 2010, and 3 is Zuvich Dowd et al, and we're suing the remaining provisions that the performer suit didn't crush.

Carol-lee Zuvich said...

So far the City has spent $625,600.00 on Hunt, Dowd-Saltzer, and Zuvich-Dowd. Zuvich is going pro se on appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals beginning April 24, 2013. Stay tuned folks.

Source for fund report are 3 contract summary sheets. Contract No. IS C-120019. Summary sheets dated 11-1-2011 ($100,000) right after Zuvich, Dowd was filed (8-19-11); 11-20-11 ($400,000)right after Meyers Nave had to start doing work like Amending Answers and deposing plaintiffs in Dowd, Saltzberg and Zuvich, Dowd; and finally 6-18-12 ($125,600) sometime after Hunt sued for getting ejected from a meeting by the CITY.