Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. became the darling of the South Bay when the “Southwest Corridor” cities voted to replace Pam O’Connor, with Butts, as their representative on the powerful Metro Board of Directors. The announcement came in late 2014, two weeks before Metro contractor Chris Robert’s (The Robert Group) brother Melvin, submitted the NFL Stadium Initiative to the Inglewood City Clerk’s office Jan 2, 2015. Butts is now attached to an investigation into Metro where he eventually became Chairman of the Board in 2019.
Streetsblog LA, who reports exclusively on transportation matters, described Butts as “not having the transportation record” of O’Connor.
The future Crenshaw Line has two stops in Inglewood and the city earned a grant from Metro to host a CicLAvia-style open street event in the next couple of years.
Seven years later, it is unknown what the city of Inglewood did with the grant for CicLAvia, because the event has yet to materialize.
Financial irregularities have plagued Butts, while serving on the Inglewood City Council, which has now stretched into Metro. Inglewood treasurer Wanda Brown detailed how Inglewood employees mishandled Metro funds, while Butts served on the Board of Directors.
Butts has shown his lack of integrity by bringing others into the fold, to enjoin themselves in corrupt behavior, to provide himself cover and leverage over would be detractors.
Inglewood residents also question how the city is spending Metro funds earmarked for monitoring the city’s buses.
Butts loaned Inglewood Councilman George Dotson over $100,000 in campaign contributions that he has no way of repaying. Councilman Eloy Morales took a contract from the city’s trash hauler, after voting in favor of Consolidated/Republic being granted annual raises on the backs of ratepayers. The family of Councilman Alex Padilla have increased the wealth and real estate holdings in the Inglewood, shortly before the public announcement of the NFL coming to the city of nearly 100,000 residents. Because of this, the current council never votes against Butts nor questions his handling of funds.
Butts has been accused of using the city’s Claim Review Committee and Short-Form process to award no-bid contracts to his friends, supporters and reported lovers, due to his intimidation tactics which include termination of employment, stalking and harassment.
It is no coincidence that Metro employees have reported the same activity, during Butts’ tenure at Metro, to outside authorities. There are also allegations that Butts interfered with employment opportunities, of his adversaries, who attempted to work for Metro and have offers mysteriously rescinded. Individuals working in Metro’s Human Resources are related to personnel currently working in Inglewood City Hall.
Make no mistake that if there were “pay to play” happening in Metro, related to contracts being bestowed to board members friends, it was most likely done with Butts’s knowledge, as long as he gained as well.
2UrbanGirls wrote about subcontractor Neal Electric, who performed work on the Crenshaw/LAX rail line, as being shortchanged on their payments by Walsh-Shea Corridors (WSC). The allegations included WSC not adhering to Compensation and Payment Provisions of their contract, which WSC had to certify under penalty of perjury. WSC failed to remit the required documents, for payment, to Metro, but was paid anyway.
When questioned about why MTA was still paying Walsh/Shea for our work, according to Ivan Page, Executive Officer, Vendor/Contract Management-Construction, he said “the requirement to receive unconditional waivers from subcontractors was too hard to administer”.
After our article ran, LAX Construction Committee Chair, Supervisor Janice Hahn, called for an audit into vendor payments for the rail line. WSC are located adjacent to Inglewood City Hall in office space attached to Mayor Butts.
The company implored 2UrbanGirls to write about their plight to bring to the attention of “MTA CEO Phil Washington and MTA Board Chair Mayor James T. Butts Jr.’s attention for swift resolution”. According to Metro staff the issue is “98% resolved”.
It has ALWAYS been believed that Butts was able to get away with so much because he was bringing billions of dollars into LA County via the NFL and the expanded rail line, and that could only be possible with the assistance of former DA Jackie Lacey squashing investigations into him and possibly the long list of other elected officials attached to recent investigations into a sexual assault hotline.