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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trutanich loses discrimination lawsuit, costs taxpayers $1.2M

The latest in a series of costly loses for the City Los Angeles was due to another failure of the Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich 'Porcupine Defense,' the Los Angeles Dragnet can exclusively report. Trutanich's bungling micro-management cost the taxpayers $1.2M for a case that could have been settled for $400k. It's a case that wouldn't have seen the inside of a courtroom at all, if Trutanich spent as much time advising his client on how to prevent discrimination, as he spends on campaigning and holding meaningless press conferences.

According to a report in the Woodland Hills Patch, LAPD Officer Earl Wright, an African American, had been the victim of repeated racist pranks and comments from his supervisor and others at LAPD's Central Division. The conduct became intolerable for Wright, who filed his lawsuit in January 2011, right around the time that Trutanich was focusing his attention on his failed DA campaign.

Trutanich offered to settle the case for $10k, perhaps because he was too busy to give the case his full attention, or because discrimination cases are not a priority for him, even though they historically cost the city millions of dollars when they go to trial. Nevertheless, Trutanich held fast to his derisive $10k offer throughout the litigation of this case, even summarily rejecting a pre-trial offer from Wright to settle the case for $400k.

It took the jury less than four hours to decide that Wright was right, and Trutanich was wrong. The cost to taxpayers will be $1.2M plus costs, according to the Associated Press. In closing argument, Wright's attorney, former City Attorney candidate Greg Smith, argued that Wright's damages could be up to $2M. The jury's verdict was $800k less than Smith argued for, which will allow Trutanich to continue to mislead voters with the ludicrous suggestion that he 'saved' taxpayers $800k, while the evidence is that taxpayers will write out a check for $1.2M thanks to Trutanich's inability to assess the value of cases.

Trutanich has made his claim that he has a record of "92 percent favorable verdicts, saving taxpayers over $285 million" the centerpiece of his reelection campaign. It's as much the centerpiece of his City Attorney reelection campaign as was his DA campaign claim to have 'been surrounded and shot at by gangmembers.' The LA Times debunked that, and many of Trutanich's other false claims during his disastrous DA campaign. It is only a question of time before the '$285 million savings' claim gets the same treatment; it is just as false - as the verdict in Trutanich's latest loss proves.

Perhaps the question that should be asked is 'How much has Trutanich cost the taxpayers by playing politics over serious issues like racial discrimination?' By Trutanich's voodoo math, in a case that he valued at $10k, which resulted in a $1.2M verdict, he has cost the taxpayers of Los Angeles $1.19M. Apply that formula to the $285M he has claimed to have saved, and it looks like Trutanich's three and a half years of playing politics has cost Los Angeles $284M.



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