Government Code 1090 states members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity, or by any body or board of which they are members. 2UrbanGirls can confirm a new complaint has been filed with the LA County District Attorney’s office in regards to the city’s trash contract with Consolidated/Republic/Pacific Coast Waste and whether a certain council member violated Government Code 1090 for picking up a consulting contract with the city’s trash provider three years later.
In February of this year, the LA Times wrote about allegations of conflict of interest in the awarding of the city’s trash contract to Consolidated/Republic/Pacific Coast Waste.
The contract approval was listed on the regular city council agenda dated June 5, 2012. If you go to the agenda and click on Item CM-1 listed under the City Manager reports one will find ALL related documents to the contract have been removed from the city’s website.
City of Inglewood IT department employee Joshua Howe is responsible for uploading documents to the city’s website but has also managed to receive nearly $12,000 in outside employment payments from Mayor Butts’ campaign committee.
A review of city council agendas from June 2012-August 2012, show the City Clerk never submitted meeting minutes from the June 5, 2012 regular city council meeting for City Councils approval. Meeting minutes from the June 12, 2012 regular city council meeting was approved three times by City Council: June 26, 2012, July 10, 2012 and July 17, 2012.
The LA TImes article centered around the city’s trash contract being awarded in June 2012 to Consolidated/Republic despite Mayor Butts’ brother being employed there. Butts maintains he abstained from the final vote due to “optics“. Butts told the LA Times, “My brother’s hiring had no bearing on the award of the contract.”
In an email to The Times, the mayor said he sat out the final vote because his brother worked for Consolidated. “My brother was an employee of one of the bidders at the time of the vote to award, and I abstained because of the optics of the situation,” Butts said.
Yet Mayor Butts knowingly and willingly voted in favor of exclusive negotiations with Consolidated/Republic knowing his brother was already employed there.
City of Los Angeles Ethics Commissioner Jessica Levinson told the Times Mayor Butts should’ve recused himself from the entire process.
Waste Management employee Doug Corcoran was interviewed for the February 2017 LA Times article and acknowledged knowing Mayor Butts’ brother needed a job, during the city’s search for a new trash provider but found out through a third-party.
“I became aware of it through somebody else,” said Corcoran, who interviewed Michael Butts but did not hire him. “We talked. We did not have a fit for him.”
Waste Management initially held the city’s trash contract for seven years, which expired in November 2011. The city then entered into a month-to-month agreement which was terminated during the regular city council meeting held June 26, 2012, two weeks after the awarding of the contract to the entity who did in fact hire the mayor’s brother.
A company by the name of Pacific Coast and Waste (PC&W), operating out of the city of Compton was purchased by Consolidated/Republic in August 2013 according to the PC&W Wikipedia page.
Mysteriously, Consolidated/Republic continues to maintain PC&W’s website although a phone number listed on the homepage is routed to Republic Services.
When the members of Inglewood city council voted June 5, 2012, to award the contract to Consolidated/Republic, council members Eloy Morales, Ralph Franklin and Mike Stevens were the yes votes. Judy Dunlap voted no and Mayor Butts abstained.
2UrbanGirls initiated a public records request for annual Statements of Economic Interest, also known as Form 700’s for all members of the Inglewood City Council, including the City Clerk and City Treasurer.
Councilman Eloy Morales has been quite busy collecting consulting contracts on behalf of entities who do business with the city of Inglewood and Metro.
In 2015 and 2016 Morales listed working as a consultant for three companies: PRS, Lee Andrews Group and Pacific Coast and Waste. He reports earning between $10k-$100k at each entity.
Morales’s 2017 Form 700 does not include Pacific Coast and Waste.
2UrbanGirls submitted an additional request to decipher if the Mayor who earns over $100k per year and council members who earn approx. $60k per year are listed as being either part-time or full-time. Our response was returned as “non responsive”. Non responsive means there are no documents related to confirming whether the city’s mayor and/or council members are working for taxpayers in either a part-time or full-time capacity.
This is troublesome for city of Inglewood employees who have recently had their outside employment activities restricted to only being able to work the Friday’s City Hall is closed and weekends. Code Enforcement Officers are not allowed to work off hours ANYWHERE in the city of Inglewood, including the Forum. Instead, city employees are offered payday loans, via city email, at an interest rate of 23.99%.
2UrbanGirls wonders how many other elected officials, around Los Angeles County, have voted in favor of awarding a trash contract to Consolidated/Republic and then receive consulting contracts under the Pacific Coast & Waste name?
In conclusion, the LA Times article from February still confuses 2UrbanGirls as to how the District Attorney’s office can relay to a reporter they lost a file related to an investigation and the author didn’t probe further.