The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office pattern of turning a blind eye to complaints submitted by the public is nothing new. Especially to residents who submit complaints that either linger in the abyss or are flat out rejected.
The Metro whistleblower isn’t the first to have submitted documentation of alleged public corruption that fell on deaf ears within the DA’s Public Integrity division. Why weren’t her claims investigated by the DA before the Sheriff’s office got involved?
These instances occurred under former DA Jackie Lacey and continue under George Gascon. Here are a few more.
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts was the subject of a (sham) investigation when a former member of the city council filed a complaint on the appearance he was benefitting from his vote on the city’s multi-million dollar trash contract. The investigation was also looked into by the feds who interviewed trash companies who submitted bids but nothing came of it. When the Times asked the DA’s office about their investigation, Michelle Gilmer told them there was “limited information” because they couldn’t find the investigation files. The Times then backed off.
Inglewood residents submitted an additional complaint about Inglewood Councilman Eloy Morales who also voted on the same trash contract, who was then hired as a consultant by Pacific Coast Waste Services two years later, whose listed phone number rang to Consolidated Waste/Republic Services. When the Daily Breeze asked the DA’s office about it, they said they were “looking into it” and then crickets. After his side jobs were reported in the media, Morales stopped claiming the income on his annual statement of economic interest Form 700s. Morales had multiple outside contracts despite being paid a salary by Inglewood taxpayers for alleged “full-time” work as a member of the city council.
Then there’s Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson who voted on a ten-year telecommunications contract with Crown Castle, and a separate contract for Renovate America, who then went to work for both companies after what appears to be a “cooling off” period. When the DA reviewed the complaint, they closed the inquiry because they said Richardson’s work on behalf of the companies weren’t connected to activities in Long Beach, but in other cities around LA County.
The DA’s office appears to allow certain elected officials to profit from their votes as long as it’s not done “immediately” and strangely the new DA is no different than his predecessor.
He campaigned to open four cases of officer involved shootings that he allowed the statute of limitations to expire on. The Times said NOTHING. Frankly, the media in general swept it under the rug.
Gascon campaigned on “prosecuting cops” involved in officer involved shootings and those he did bring to court ended in the officer’s favor. He didn’t even charge the five Inglewood police officers who killed a couple who fell asleep in their car.
Related: L.A. County sheriff’s deputy acquitted at manslaughter trial
Gascon was elected on an “anyone but Jackie Lacey” messaging which is what is going on in the Sheriff’s race.
What does that say to the taxpayers and elected officials subsequently charged with “public corruption” particularly those who aren’t in the “circle of influence”?
If this is what is going on in the DA’s office, we’re glad Sheriff Alex Villanueva took it upon himself to write to Attorney General Rob Bonta Sept. 14 asking for him to take over the Sheila Kuehl/Metro investigation. Only problem is, Bonta was appointed to his office by Gov. Gavin Newsom who shares close ties with LA County elected leaders who played a pivotal role in staving off a recall against him.
Bonta also found himself in the crosshairs of a corruption probe into a land deal in Orange County involving the city of Anaheim and the Anaheim Angeles. Bonta signed off on a settlement to squash residents concerns about possible violation of the Surplus Land Act that is now null and void.
What isn’t being widely reported is the fact that The Current Report, an independent news source, reported on President Biden calling for an investigation into the FBI’s lack of presence during the raid on Metro Sept. 16.
Three days later, on Sept. 19, it was announced there was new leadership in the Federal Court’s Central California District office who was sworn in the same day.
“I am deeply honored to return to the United States Attorney’s Office and have the opportunity to serve the people of this district,” Martin Estrada said in a statement. “As the leader of this office, I will be focused on protecting our community, safeguarding the rights of every individual in this district and upholding the rule of law. I will also work to further develop the office’s relationships with federal, state and local law enforcement and with our community partners. Working together, we will always put the people of this district first.”
It’s clear the media has the same directive as others to “get rid of Sheriff Villanueva” but they’re doing it in such a manner that has become blatantly biased as if they were a “blog” and not the “news”.
The Sheriff wasn’t “stripped” of anything, he ASKED for the investigation to be moved out of his department and for journalists to suggest otherwise is patently false.
Why does the DA’s office even have a public integrity division if they aren’t investigating public corruption across the board unless its only function is to stop investigations from moving forward?
USC knew better and bypassed the DA’s office altogether when they questioned a $100,000 campaign check that filtered its way through the university to a think tank run by a local politicians son.
We know how that story ends.Post_SW_letter_AG
Whether we think the contract is a problem or not we should all agree that when serving the search warrant the place being searched should not have had the opportunity to be cleaned or cleared . Would people be upset if Trump had a heads up warning about a search, or what if Bernie Maddoff has been given time to shred move or somehow dispose of his documents?
Oops did we forget to read up on Dean Logan the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorders history?
Yes, the guy responsible for elections in Los Angeles County !
Let’s make it harder – not impossible but harder for the votes we cast legitimately to be cancelled out by those who have an interest in keeping the corruption dollars flowing. Show up and Vote ! BUT PLEASE DO SOME RESEARCH Don’t vote most numbers of mailings, don’t vote only because you have heard the name, Please Vote as if your home and quality of life depended on your vote.
On the measures please oh please do not guess IF you have not done homework/research vote BOTH YES AND NO so that no one can later vote for you!!
Thank you for that short summary !
Of course for many local residents the total revolting poster boy for corruption after ten years since his arrest has not been tried for his fleecing the Centinela Valley High School District. Yes Jose Fernandez former Inglewood City Council member apparently got so accustomed to doing wrong while in Inglewood and having the DA office turn a blind eye, he was so emboldened he went for the gold ring when he became Superintendent. So obvious were his wrongs that after months of the District Attorney doing nothing residents turned to the press – the writers received a Pulitzer Prise for the investigation. Many Tax payers were hopeful the should have been embarrassed Public Integrity Department might take action …but some ties seem way too strong. Yep the DA office claimed they had no knowledge of anything despite multiple complaints and documents being sent to them long before the reporters were contacted.. it has been ten years since his arrest. James Butts declaration at the time of Fernandez ’s arrest he was to declare that Jose only guilty of “negotiating a favorable employment contact” ! Really? Locals should go back and read what was done to help understand how James Butts believes education dollars should be spent (hint: it is not teaching children).
At this point we can expect a good many elected who keep their toes on the line of almost illegal as well as the out and out comfortably corrupt to be angry beyond measure that there may be a law enforcement officer who is willing to investigate corruption.
Thank you are the words we should be SHOUTING whenever those is office are being held accountable !!
Complaints were filed by Inglewood residents that Jose Fernandez voted to give himself lifetime medical benefits courtesy of the taxpayers and the DA is sitting on that one too.
And then there’s Compton where residents and activists have submitted complaint after compliant, across many years, to the DA Public Integrity Unit about the rampant corruption, multiple violations of residency, self-interest voting, violation of charter, election tampering and so forth. Crickets to this day. It was stated that nothing would happen under Jackie Lacey, meaning Mark-Ridley Thomas, and nothing did. Now Gascon has had the wool pulled over his eyes. Time for him to wake up. Our city is and has suffered from their lack of effort or deliberateness in over-looking violations. That’s why corruption was cited as the number two reasons for people leaving California. It’s out of control—everywhere.
Gascon was a willing participant considering he was tryna “get out of dodge” for the same patterns of failure in the Bay.