Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday's Free For All; Brazil, Tavelman Appointed to Bench, Ipsen's Misconduct Outlined

Deputy District Attorneys Deborah Brazil and Frank Tavelman appointed to Los Angeles Superior Court

While eight, or possibly nine, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys have announced plans to run for open seats for the Superior Court in the June 2014 primary elections, two other DDAs won't have to worry about campaigns and elections to become judges.

Governor Brown announced Thursday that he has appointed Deputy District Attorneys Deborah Brazil and Frank Tavelman to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Brazil is the only Republican amongst the eight appointments made by Brown. Both Brazil and Tavelman obtained their JD's from Southwestern Law School, and both have had long and distinguished careers at the DA's Office. They deserve our hearty congratulations.

Ipsen fired for "improper and egregious conduct"

Documents obtained by the Dragnet pursuant to a Public Records Act request made of the Employee Relations Commission (ERCOM) show that former ADDA President and failed DA candidate Steve Ipsen was fired by the District Attorney's Office on July 20, 2012 after a year-long investigation into his "improper and egregious conduct as a Deputy District Attorney."

One of the documents obtained by the Dragnet is a 16-page "Notice of Discharge" letter outlining Ipsen's misconduct. The letter is understood to have been hand delivered to Ipsen two months after he had been ordered to leave his office at the Antelope Valley Branch Office on May 15, 2012 and assigned to his home, without duties.

The Notice of Discharge letter would not normally be a matter of public record, however, on November 9, 2012, Ipsen decided to challenge his dismissal by filing a complaint with ERCOM, and the Notice of Discharge letter was filed in response to Ipsen's complaint, or 'charge' in ERCOM-speak.

In his complaint, Ipsen asserts that his termination violates the Employee Relations Ordinance prohibiting unfair employee relations practice, and contends that his dismissal was pretextual, based solely on his union activities, and that he did not "engage in conduct which was not either consistent with office policies and/or common practice county-wide." Additionally, Ipsen contends that his termination is "disproportionate to any actual mistakes or errors that were made," perhaps a curious contention given that Ipsen asserts he did nothing wrong.

In the interests of full disclosure and fairness, Ipsen's complaint (or charge) appears below:

While Ipsen extensively quotes an earlier finding of ERCOM in his current complaint, it should be noted that the prior ERCOM finding has been thrown out after it was discovered that Ipsen and other ADDA officers had engaged in improper ex parte communications with ERCOM.

Despite Ipsen's assertion that in essence, he either did nothing wrong, or that what he did do was common practice in the DA's Office, the 16-page Notice of Discharge presents a very different picture.

For the most part the Notice of Discharge speaks for itself, however, we do note that there cannot be any DDAs who have:
1) Used their position as a DDA to further their political campaign in the courtroom.
2) Misrepresented to a judge that a sentencing scheme known as 'Reform First' as the official policy of the DA's Office when in truth and in fact it was part of a campaign to become DA.
3) Boasted in a YouTube video that they act "in violation of the policy of the District Attorney of Los Angeles" on a daily basis.
4) Took photographs of a defendant at sentencing to be used to "show the governor, legislators, attorney general in an effort to get the law changed."
5) Entered into illegal sentences whereby a defendant is required to admit a prior 'strike' and be sentenced to a doubled prison term which is suspended on a grant of probation.
6) Dismissed prior serious or violent felonies ('strikes') without obtaining Head Deputy approval.
7) Submitted Disposition Reports indicating a felony conviction, but then agreed to a different disposition without obtaining approval.

The misconduct outline in the Notice of Discharge clearly demonstrates the impropriety of Ipsen being honored by the ADDA at their recent Awards Dinner. It is incredible and disgraceful that the organization purporting to represent all DDAs should condone Ipsen's conduct. Some might argue that the extent of Ipsen's misconduct was unknown to the ADDA, however, readers may be shocked to hear that the ADDA has filed a parallel complaint or charge with ERCOM, making essentially the same claims made by Ipsen.
Worse, it appears that the ADDA is bankrolling the legal fees in these two ERCOM charges; the same law firm, Rothner, Segall & Greenstone, appears as attorney for Ipsen and the ADDA in both charges.

Many reading the 16-page Notice of Discharge will likely find Ipsen and the ADDA's assertions that this type of conduct is county wide practice, untenable, incredible and shameful. They will be outraged at the thought that the ADDA union dues withheld from their pay are being used to finance this fiasco. It is time that the ADDA made its conduct in this case clear for all to understand.

Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

A. Now that we can see what it was that Ipsen did, I can only assume that the ADDA believes that what he did was acceptable conduct for a Grade IV DDA. It is not.
B. Ipsen is still listed as a board member at the ADDA. How is that possible?
C. I hope every DDA downloads, prints and reads Ipsen's Notice of Discharge. It is a perfect training tool for what NOT to do as a DDA.
D. Can someone tell me if there is a way I can withhold my union dues until such time as the ADDA represents the rank and file, and not Ipsen.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 8:26 D. No DDA's salary should be used to support this cause.

Anonymous said...

It's easy to see why Ipsen lost his Federal Lawsuit. He thinks he has an explanation for everything - like where he says the Reform First scheme he was using in court was different from the Reform First on his website. Totally crazy.

Anonymous said...

The ADDA has never garnered the support of a majority of Deputy District Attorneys. The Elections that brought us agency shop (mandatory dues) and the current board of directors were conducted with the participation of only a few hundred (far less than half) Deputy DA's, and each time the ADDA board prevailed with vote margins of only a few dozen votes. The problem is not that the Ipsen-Tin-Foil-Hat crazies took over the board. The problem is a majority of DDA's allowed it to happen.

At the next election, the Ipsen Crazies need to be outed so we know who to vote against

Anonymous said...

Fellow DDA's, the dividing line is clear. In these upcoming Union elections you can demand bylaws that prevent someone from using the Union like Ipsen did and still does (you are STILL paying his legal fees). Or you can demand that things be different. The current bylaws apparently allow this type of chicanery. It is still unclear if future bylaws will prevent it. DEMAND A CHANGE!

Same is true for the board. Yes, out the Ipsen supporters, those who have caused this egregious piling of legal bills in to advocate positions with no merit. But do more. Demand a Board who will say NO! We shouldn't have to look at our paychecks each month and ponder how much of that money is STILL going to advance the Ipsen agenda.


Anonymous said...

I did not realize the ENTIRE Ipsen firing letter was downloadable. I have read it 3 times now, each time I am increasingly angrier that the ADDA choose to honor this disgraceful person. He did nothing for us as ADDA President, it was all about him and his pathetic political agenda. The ADDA needs to come clean with its enslaved members and explain why they did what they did. The board should resign to purge this outrage for once and for all.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be an accounting to the membership of how much money has been spent on Ipsen related legal fees (from the disastrous Burke litigation, the federal suit. the ERCOM debacle, his termination, etc) Until there is, I think we can all assume it's an astronomical percentage of the dues, and probably most of it. If it weren't, then the amount would have been disclosed along time ago. It's probably why Ipsen refuses to leave the board even though he has been fired, he needs to coordinate ensuring that his minions sign the checks.

I think it's safe to assume most of dues go to pay legal bills.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the ADDA board approved new bylaws that should go out to the membership for a vote. I just heard that some board members don’t want to let the membership vote on the changed bylaws until there is an election under the old by-laws. Ipsen can run for the board again under the old bylaws but not the new ones.

I’ve been told that Steve Ipsen, James Bozajian, Marc Debbaut, John Harrold, Anthony Colanino and Dan Wright have demanded a special meeting to delay, cancel or modify the amended bylaws that were previously approved by the board. They are also demanding that there be an immediate notice of elections under the current bylaws. Only Bozajian and Debbaut were at the meeting where the amended bylaws were approved, and neither of them voted to approve the changes.

Joe Friday -

You should look at the ex-parte application that Ipsen has filed on Dec 3, 2013 to intervene in the Employee Relations Commission case where the Superior Court vacated the ruling against Cooley. Ipsen apparently makes claims that the ADDA attorney and current President Donna McClay were “engaged in self dealing” and “engaged in collusive litigation to defraud...IPSEN…” He also accuses McClay of: having “actual conflicts of interest,” engaging in “breaches of her fiduciary duty and trust” and acting in concert to “violate his civil and constitutional rights.”