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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

City Attorney candidate Greg Smith cited by Mayor Sam as source of Mike Feuer's Bet Tzedekgate scandal

The folks at the Mayor Sam political blog must have had their own reporter at Monday night's City Attorney debate at Temple Israel of Hollywood. They have credited Greg Smith as the source of what they are calling 'Bet Tzedekgate,' allegations that rival candidate Mike Feuer accepted over $30,000 in campaign contributions from Bet Tzedek 'associates.' The Mayor Sam blog asserts that those contributions seemingly violate Los Angeles City campaign finance laws, specifically Measure 'H,' the voter initiative that prohibits principals of organizations who contract with the City from contributing to candidates for elected office.

The first reports of 'Bet Tzedekgate' appeared on the Mayor Sam blog late on Saturday night. At that time they reported Feuer accepting $18,950 from Bet Tzedek 'associates.' However, at Monday night's debate Smith stated that Feuer had taken $30,000 from the city contractor for his campaign. That prompted Mayor Sam to re-check their figures, and Mayor Sam now reports that Feuer received a total of $30,036 from Bet Tzedek 'associates.'

While the rest of the mainstream media are likely fact-checking the Bet Tzedekgate scandal, the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise wasted no time in contacting the Feuer campaign for comment. Not surprisingly, Feuer's people were not talking.  The Met News also reported that in addition to Bet Tzedek's current President and C.E.O., Sandor 'Sandy' Samuels, other high level executives also made contributions to Feuer's campaign.

'The named donors were Bet Tzedek President and CEO Sandor Samuels, Fujie, attorney Gary D. Roberts, developer Luis Lainer, attorney John A. Schulman, SunAmerican Financial Services Group executive Jay S. Wintrob, and consultant Jerome L. Coben. The blogger asserted that Roberts and Fujie held the title of chairperson of Bet Tzedek, Lainer chairperson emeritus, and Wintrob, Schulman, and Coben members of the President’s Council. The city law applies to the “chair, president, chief executive officer, chief operating officer, or the functional equivalent of those positions” of a bidder or contractor.' the Met News reported.

Whether Smith was the source of the Bet Tzedekgate scandal, or merely verified and repeated what he read in the Mayor Sam blog, he likely scored a major plus mark in the eyes of Los Angelenos who voted overwhelmingly to pass Measure 'H' and end the campaign contribution gravy train that smacks of pay to play.

The four candidates will face each other again on Thursday night at the next debate co-hosted by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Hollywood Chamber PAC at the Taglyan Cultural Complex 1201 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028 from 6pm to 8pm. It is highly likely that Feuer will be called on to explain his role in the Bet Tzedekgate scandal, and perhaps more importantly, why he apparently did not know that the Bet Tzedek contributions violated Measure 'H.'

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