Is the city of Inglewood paying their trash bill? Is this why trash rates have continued to increase? As more articles reveal possible ethic violations committed by Inglewood Mayor James Butts, in relation to the city’s contract with Consolidated/Republic Services, 2UrbanGirls has delved into nearly six (6) months of warrant registers and are shocked that the city hasn’t recorded a single payment to their trash hauler. 2UrbanGirls has also confirmed that a complaint has been filed with the LA County District Attorney’s office in regards to Councilmember Eloy Morales’ consulting contract with the city’s trash haulers pseudo name Pacific Coast & Waste.
Between the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze and the LB Press Telegram, Mayor Butts is feeling the heat from allegations he leveraged the city’s trash contract to get his brother, and possibly other family members, hired by Republic Services.
The most recent article “Inglewood mayor profited from brother’s job with city trash hauler, records show” appears to corroborate allegations made by former Inglewood councilwoman Judy Dunlap that the contract awarded to Consolidated/Republic would cost the residents millions more than the other two bidders Athens and Waste Management. Waste Management was the previous trash hauler for the city.
The article highlighted how the mayor’s brother could have possibly made statements, that some could perceive as material falsehoods of the truth, on his federal bankruptcy filing. Michael Butts claimed to have paid his brother, Mayor Butts, rent on a home he owns in LA County. Mayor Butts publicly disputed his brothers claims in articles published on both the Daily Breeze and Press Telegrams websites.
“My brother does not reside on Shenandoah, he lived there briefly,” he said. “I did not charge him rent.”
This is not the first time that Mayor Butts could be stretching the truth.
Former city of Inglewood Finance Manager Barbara Ohno was terminated from her employment in 2015 after nearly 10 months on the job and being recruited by Assistant City Manager/CFO David Esparza. Esparza and Ohno previously worked together in the City of Los Angeles Housing Authority.
Ohno compalained relentessly of attempts to coerce her into legal wrongdoings. Ohno promptly filed a lawsuit alleging misappropriation of federal grants and other monies to balance the city budget. The same allegations the State of California Controller’s office recently levied against the city of Compton.
Inglewood agreed to pay back nearly $800,000 in 2017, to the Department of Urban Housing, for using grant money to supplement the general fund while under the direction of Esparza.
Esparza was ultimately reprimanded and removed from managing the Housing Department. Esparza would eventually resume managing the housing department and received a nearly $17k raise in 2017.
Butts dismissed Ohno’s dismissal as her “not passing probation”. According to Ohno’s attorney Bruce Ishimatsu, the city quietly settled her claims and paid her monetary compensation.
The recent trash articles also discuss how although Mayor Butts abstained from the vote to award the trash contract to Consolidated/Republic due to his brother working there, he did vote twice in favor of entering and extending exclusive negotiations with the company and has voted favorably for every rate increase the trash hauler has requested. Why?
Unlike the city of Compton, Inglewood produces a warrant register that is approved three times during regular city council meetings. They are approved three times due to multiple agencies meeting simultaneously, possibly to cover and justify the mayor, council’s and city clerk’s increased salaries that haven’t been approved by voters since 1996.
A review of the last six (6) months of warrant registers do not detail any payments to the trash hauler.
The city of Inglewood Finance Department collects trash rates from every household within its borders. Residents receive water services from the city and Golden State. Golden State customers only receive a bill from the city covering their trash. Should they not pay, the city promptly files paperwork annually to place liens on those residents homes.
The city held its annual Earth Day festival on April 21st. Despite the flyer showing Consolidated as a co-sponsor of the event, warrant registers from April 13, 2018, show all the performers were paid from the general fund and not the trash account under Public Works as the advertisements were.
2UrbanGirls initiated a public records request on April 12th asking for copies of all payments made to Consolidated/Republic Services from 1/1/2010 through 3/31/2018. We should have had the request back within 10 days on April 22nd. Instead we were notified on April 25th that the city needed fourteen (14) additional days to produce the copies.
Are residents on the hook for increased rates so the city can supplement the general fund with the trash payments until the stadium opens? Same allegations made in Ohno’s lawsuit that money was being misappropriated until the NFL “windfall” would rain down on the city. This practice would be very lucrative for the trash hauler who can easily go up on our rates due to the city’s continued nonpayment.
2UrbanGirls has noted in previous articles, and known for nearly four years, that the city of Compton is behind on their trash bill as well. It appears that Mayor Butts has inside info courtesy of his brother.
The other question becomes is the mayor using the city’s general fund to bankroll his re-election campaign this November? By leveraging the general fund, to appear he is doing a swell job, it could garner favor in the community.
When will the State of California audit the city and who will step up and challenge the mayor in November?