Max Huntsman is a man of his era. As an L.A. county prosecutor he was supposed to have ensured that justice was on the side of working and middle-class Angelenos. Instead of standing up to the powerful, Huntsman was on their side.
Let’s take a step back into our region’s recent history. The 2000’s were a time of fantastic prosperity for the elites, though let’s be honest, not for most of us. It was a time, when the powerful did as they pleased. It was a time of wage theft, pension and mortgage scams.
It was the 2000s. The decade that defined Max Huntsman rather pathetic career.
It was the 2000s. Real estate was booming. L.A. office building and hotel owners were raking in monopoly profits like seldom before. It wasn’t enough for the real estate barons. They then turned a blind eye to their managers and contractors who stole from their low wage service workers.
In 2010, researchers at UCLA released an historic report documenting the little told story of pervasive violations of labor laws. Across Los Angeles County, big and small employers alike again and again violated legal mandates for minimum wages, overtime pay, meal and rest breaks and overtime pay.
In all, these criminal employers stole $1.4 billion a year from predominately low wage workers. The impact of the employers’ theft was hardest on African American and Latino workers. By far the greatest impact was on undocumented women workers.
What did assistant district attorney do to confront rotten wage theft employers? Nothing.
It was the 2000’s. Wall Street was booming. It wasn’t enough for titans of finance. When they failed to “privatize” social security, they targeted city, county and state workers’ pensions. They charged unprecedented fees of 2% on every dollar managed and a staggering 20% of profits.
From New York State to California to Los Angeles, insiders used their connections to make Wall Street financiers into billionaires. One insider, who turned state’s evidence, gave back millions in ill-gotten gains, and stepped down from the board of the LA Police and Firemen Retirement System.
That multi-millionaire insider did not spend one day in prison. And a decade later in 2020, now a Trump fundraiser, he again plead guilty to a felony, this time for violating foreign lobby laws. In short order, he was pardoned by the President, again not spending a day in prison for his crimes.
What did assistant deputy attorney do to confront corrupt insiders ripping off public service pensioners? Nothing.
It was the 2000s. Banks were booming. Home prices rose to unprecedented heights. It wasn’t enough for mortgage lenders. Through “creative” (read, should have been illegal) lending products, banks cynically targeted hard working African American and Latinos aspiring to a better life.
In 2013, a UCLA report summarized the results of bankers racialized lending practices. African Americans and Latino homebuyers were three and a half times more likely than whites to receive questionable sub-prime loans. And as a result of this targeting, African Americans and Latinos were 3 times more likely to be foreclosed on.
And what did assistant deputy attorney do to defend homebuyers from predatory lenders? Nothing.
Then what did Max Huntsman do in the 2000s? Good question.
Max Huntsman sought a life-time sentence, under California’s three strikes law, against a small-time con man. The con man, previously twice found guilty of residential burglary, attempted to swindle African American residents of South LA out of their homes.
The three strikes law was written to target violent criminals. Burglary is considered a violent crime. Fraud is not. Huntsman, playing a little fast and loose with the law, contended that because the fraud happened in the victims’ kitchens it was essentially burglary.
The con man for his crimes was eventually sentenced to prison for 33 years. Not an inconsiderable amount of time. But how many years did wage theft employers serve? How many years did pension and mortgage scammers serve?
As a deputy district attorney, let’s be honest, Max did not hunt down the worst of white-collar criminals, the most powerful among us. Max, in effect, covered up their crimes. And instead threw the book at a small-time con man. Oh, did we mention that the powerful criminals were white and the small-time con man was African American?
Max Huntsman has no credibility when it comes to public corruption nor oversight. He is a professional hack who prosecuted small time fraud under the veil of public integrity. He now conducts a media tour making wild allegations against our duly elected sheriff at the behest of the Los Angeles County Board of supervisors. It is a three card monety style card trick to distract us from the Board’s deep and fast union busting contracting out of solid middle class Union jobs held by many women and people of color.