City Hall Insider

Los Angeles City Hall politics revealed from an insider's point of view.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Trutanich, Baca under investigation by FBI over fundraising

The Los Angeles Dragnet reports:

The LA Times has confirmed rumors that were received by the Dragnet that Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich and 'longtime supporter' Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca are being investigated by the FBI over potentially illegal fundraising activities during which deputy sheriffs were 'ordered' to collect campaign contributions for Trutanich's Hindenburg-like campaign for District Attorney.

In our recent review of 'winners and losers' in the 2013 City Elections, we listed Sheriff Baca as a 'loser' for his support for the failed incumbent City Attorney Trutanich, noting that "to this day nobody fully understands why Baca is so entrenched in his support for Trutanich. He spearheaded the pathetically false 'Draft Trutanich for DA' movement, got himself in trouble for breaking the law by endorsing Trutanich in his uniformand raised a ton of cash for Trutanich - which might also get him in trouble if rumors are correct..."

The rumors were correct, and the Dragnet can now reveal that the FBI investigation into Trutanich and Baca was ongoing long before the May 21, 2013 election where Trutanich was rejected by voters in an historic defeat.

The FBI had received information from Deputy Tamayo, assigned the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station (Malibu area), that he had been ordered to obtain donations for Trutanich from local businessmen and wealthy residents. It is understood that Tamayo was not the only deputy sheriff involved in the fundraising scandal. The Malibu Times reported that as many as twelve other deputies were 'ordered' to shake down the wealthy for donations in the form of 'tickets' to a fundraiser attended by Trutanich. Each deputy was expected to sell 10 tickets, Tamayo told the Times, stating that the order "came down through the chain of command from Sheriff Lee Baca — an allegation his spokesman denied." The Times reported.
One thing the Times makes clear is that Trutanich was "targeted" by the FBI in their investigation.

Tamayo stated that in the course of the FBI investigation he wore a wiretap and was monitored by FBI Agents who communicated with him by text messages. Tamayo provided the Times with the text messages where his handlers 'coached' him to "mention Trutanich and to bring up the difference between the truth and staying loyal." Seemingly, Tamayo followed his prompts from the FBI handler and obtained the necessary information. "You're doing fine," one message from the FBI handler says, another says "OK when you have a chance turn everything off, we'll meet you at iHop," indicating that Tamayo had recorded the conversations necessary for the investigation. 

Intriguingly, it seems the FBI had realized that an issue central to Trutanich's candidacy for District Attorney was the apparent conflict between "the truth" and "staying loyal." The implication being that "the truth" about Trutanich (presumably his being utterly unfit for District Attorney) was irrelevant, and that "loyalty" was more important. Presumably the reference to loyalty refers to Sheriff Baca's support for Trutanich.

As mentioned in both the LA Times and Malibu Times articles, Sheriff Baca previously broke state law in connection with Trutanich when he appeared "in uniform" offering his endorsement of Trutanich during the 2012 campaign for District Attorney.

Trutanich quickly edited out the endorsement from his much hailed 'viral' YouTube campaign video which was subsequently removed from YouTube for violating their deceptive content policy. Trutanich also removed the endorsement from his DA campaign website, which was also promptly shut down following his humiliating defeat.  

While Trutanich has pretty much sealed his own fate in terms of his political future, Sheriff Baca is understood to be campaigning for reelection as Los Angeles County Sheriff in 2014. Those who have announced an interest in opposing Baca will likely exploit the scandal over the fundraising issue, and should the FBI investigation yield criminal charges, Baca may well find himself in the same situation as Trutanich.

The latest scandal concerning Trutanich may cause his successor, City Attorney elect Mike Feuer to reconsider Trutanich's offer to help with the transition of administration. The LA Times had reportedthat after conceding defeat, 'Trutanich telephoned Feuer after conceding and offered to help with the transition to a new administration. Feuer said Wednesday he was "very grateful" for the offer. "He'll play an integral role in the transition," Feuer said.' Trutanich, of course, may have his own reasons for wanting to 'help' with the transition and given the shocking revelations in the Times, Feuer might do better without 'help' from Trutanich. As Sheriff Baca now must realize, association with Trutanich comes at a very heavy price.

Quoted content ends.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Trutanich blames campaign strategist for 'lack of name recognition' in failed DA race

The Los Angeles Dragnet reports that failed DA candidate Carmen Trutanich is blaming his former campaign strategist, John Shallman, for his 'Hindenburg-like' defeat. The tough talking city prosecutor believes that more people would have known his name and voted for him if Shallman had purchased slate mailers instead of tv ads. The claim is laughable as Trutanich had more name recognition, money and endorsements than any other candidate. He lost the election because more voters knew who and what he was; a liar.

This from the Dragnet:

Rumors suggest that embattled Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich is desperately trying to pin the blame for his 'Hindenburg-like' defeat in the DA primary election on his campaign strategist John Shallman. Trutanich believes that Shallman's failure to advise the DA wannabe to purchase slate mailers caused him to suffer from a 'lack of name recognition' in LA County.

Trutanich came in stone last of the three frontrunners in the DA primary despite having a campaign warchest three times larger than his closest rival, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey. Trutanich blew his wad on a glitzy tv ad campaign, a strategy that saw him swamp LA tv with so many advertisements that he ended up deeply in debt as he increased his television exposure in the final weeks of his ill-fated campaign. 

Lacey, who beat Trutanich by 12 points, eschewed tv advertising altogether, instead concentrating her campaign on securing key slate mailers. That, it seems, is what Trutanich is now saying caused his humiliating political castration, and he is laying the blame squarely at the feet of his former 'Ambassador of Quan' for failing to advise him to purchase slate mailers. 

It's a convenient argument, particularly as Trutanich owes Shallman an estimated $112,000 for the final tv ad media buys, and Trutanich apparently does not have any money in his campaign committee account to pay Shallman. Trutanich also faces a further hurdle finding supporters willing to help to retire his debt; most of his supporters have already given the maximum allowable contribution and, as Doug McIntyre recently commented, now that Trutanich has been 'Tagged with the big 'L' for 'LOSER,' the Scarlet ''L,' it's real hard to find anyone to write fresh checks.'

Some speculate that Trutanich's slate mailer blame shifting is most likely a ploy either to stall the issue of his indebtedness, or to try to renegotiate terms with Shallman who makes a handsome commission on media buys. Either way it's a ploy that fails to pass the straight face test. The notion that Trutanich lacked 'name recognition' is as hilariously ridiculous as most of his other campaign missteps and completely ignores the fact that while first-placed finisher Lacey did have slate mailers, the second-placed finisher, Alan Jackson, beat Trutanich by two points and did not have any slate mailers either.

The inconvenient truth about Trutanich is that with or without slate mailers, and despite a million dollar tv campaign, he could never, ever, overcome the negative name recognition which started the moment Trutanich reneged on his 'Pledge to Serve,' and continued throughout his campaign of facile,  deceptive and deceitful shenanigans. The voters of Los Angeles made it very clear that having let Trutanich make fools out of them once, they were not going to allow that to happen again.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Carmen Trutanich Jose Huizar called 'Dickheads' over Dispensary ban

The Los Angeles Dragnet reports that Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and Councilmember Jose Huizar have been called 'dickheads' by Death & Taxes, the entertainment industry news blog. 

(Credit: Los Angeles Dragnet)
Trutanich and Huizar are taken to task for their support and leadership of an ordinance to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries in the City of Los Angeles.

The ordinance, which received approval from the Los Angeles City Council, comes in the wake of a series of embarrassing failures by Trutanich to write an ordinance that limits the number of dispensaries to an acceptable level. Trutanich, enjoyed the support of the legitimate medical marijuana community when he ran for City Attorney because he promised to provide a workable ordinance to regulate the growing number of shops selling marijuana. But as soon as Trutanich took office he reneged on his promise and tried to 'regulate medical marijuana out of existence,' as one former supporter commented.

Trutanich likely saw the anti-medical marijuana lobby as key to his political ambition to become District Attorney. He tried to disguise his opposition to medical marijuana on public safety grounds, arguing that medical marijuana was unsafe because it might contain pesticide.

City Attorney Clashes with Speaker at 2009 Congress of Neighborhoods -Accused of Bullying, Questioned on Red Ant Theory from Michael N. Cohen on Vimeo.

However, when Kathryn Schorr, a cancer survivor questioned Trutanich's 'voodoo science' conclusions regarding the health risks arising from pesticide in medical marijuana, he became enraged and started screaming at the patient. His response to questions about the number of reports of persons injured by the use of pesticide treated medical marijuana was to shout 'Wrong! You're wrong!' at Schorr and scream at her to feed lead to her children, before telling her to 'Sit down and shut up.'

Video reporter Michael Cohen spoke to Schorr after her encounter with Trutanich. 'She appeared to be distraught and was crying and being comforted by a security guard and others. The security guard cautioned her not to drive home in her condition.' he said. 

'Schorr felt that Trutanich was overbearing and bullying her and he should have let her make her point without interference. That being, one needs 10 pounds to do a proper lab analysis of contaminants in marijuana. She had the floor and his insisting that she should give lead to her children was wrong. She said she couldn’t understand how an elected official could talk to her that way.' Cohen related.

Trutanich's attitude towards Ms Schorr shocked and surprised many who had supported his candidacy for City Attorney and did much to boost the reputation Trutanich was fast acquiring as a liar, bully and a thug. 'Anyone who could be so rude and violent towards a woman who was a cancer survivor has no place in public service; he looks like your typical woman-hater' and observer opined.

Trutanich suffered a humiliating defeat at the polls during the recent District Attorney primary election. The onetime front runner with a campaign warchest three times larger than his closest rival, lost so badly that he will likely never hold public office again - his own campaign adviser has apparently told him to to seek reelection. When Trutanich eventually spoke to reporters about the reasons for his downfall, he identified opposition from the medical marijuana community as one of the reasons why 78% of Los Angelenos did not vote for him.

That Trutanich is generally accepted as politcally 'toxic' and 'unelectable' makes it all the more surprising that Councilmember Huizar is willing to associate himself with the hugely unpopular politician. Huizar, who is also a licensed attorney, has been rumored to be considering running for City Attorney. Trutanich is unlikely to be able to raise enough money to mount a campaign and faces so many serious negatives that his only chance at reelection would be if he were to run unopposed.

Thus far Police Rights attorney Greg Smith, termed-out Assemblyman Mike Feuer and Deputy City Attorney Ed Angeles have formally announced their candidacies for the March 2013 election for City Attorney. Trutanich told the LA Times that he would announce his reelection committee this week, however, as we close, no announcement has been made.

Trutanich was last week reported to have over $154,000 of debts from his ill-fated District Attorney campaign. A volunteer spokesman later told times that Trutanich has reduced his debts to $112,000 leaving only the costs of tv ads unpaid. Should Truanich be unable to pay off his campaign debts, many believe this would represent a further barrier to Trutanich's reelection hopes.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Kevin James promises to clean up corruption

Hot on the heels of his announcement that he has qualified for matching funds in his bid to become LA's next Mayor, Kevin James released this advertisement:

Kevin James is a former Assistant United States Attorney and hosted the Kevin James talk radio show on KRLA 870AM until he resigned to concentrate on his campaign.

More about Kevin James at his website:


Saturday, January 7, 2012

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich responds to critics; blames 'poor paperwork' by LAPD

Carmen Trutanich, the Los Angeles City Attorney, responded to criticism arising from the dismissal of 'many cases' against the Occupy LA protesters by pointing the finger of blame fairly and squarely at the Los Angeles Police Department.

In an interview with the Daily News, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office made it clear that their  inability to move forward aggressively with the prosecution of the Occupy LA protesters was due to "paperwork errors made by police officers during the Nov. 30 raid." the Daily News reported.

According to Trutanich, "Los Angeles Police Department officers listed the wrong arresting officer on the arrest sheet" and that City Attorney's Office was "frustrated with the LAPD's handling of the Occupy L.A. arrests." 

The problem appears to be due to the City Attorney's Office not being given enough time to prepare the cases for trial. State law requires arrested persons charged with minor misdemeanors such as trespassing to be brought to trial within 30 days, which apparently was not enough time for the City Attorney's Office. Had the Occupy LA protesters been issued tickets instead of being arrested, the City Attorney would have an extra 15 days to prepare for trial.

The problems faced by the City Attorney's Office were, perhaps, complicated by the Christmas and New Year's Day holidays, which may have robbed the prosecutors of critical time, "With more time, the City Attorney's office could have researched and corrected the arresting officers' name," Trutanich said of  the shoddy paperwork given to him by LAPD.

Additionally, Trutanich was working flat out on his campaign to become District Attorney and had to attend many fundraisers in order to meet his self-imposed $1M campaign war chest target by the December 31, 2011 deadline. Simply put, he may not have had enough time to check the paperwork supplied by LAPD because he had more pressing concerns.

Despite being so badly let down by the LAPD, the City Attorney clearly does not believe that the mistakes made by LAPD officers will pose any problems for future prosecutions as "a second batch of 24 cases will be heading to court later this month," he said. "It's a teachable moment" one prosecutor opined, "The City Attorney's Office is taking this as an opportunity to teach the Occupy LA protesters a lesson about the First Amendment, and LAPD can also learn a lesson about how to prepare their cases."

Trutanich's harsh criticism of the LAPD was not warmly received by everyone. District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson's campaign strategist, John S. Thomas, told the Los Angeles Dragnet that "The next District Attorney needs to stand with law enforcement, not throw them under the bus when it is politically convenient. Mr. Trutanich appears to be too busy collecting special interest cash and exploiting his elected position with city contractors to run the City Attorney's office. Not only did Trutanich throw the police under the bus, he backed up and ran over them again."

The Los Angeles City Council was expected to consider the City Attorney's proposal to sue the Occupy LA protesters for the costs of the clean-up operation. It is unclear whether consideration of that proposal will be taken any further given the paperwork problems identified by the collapse of these criminal cases.

LAPD officers did an outstanding job in bringing the Occupy LA protests to an effective and peaceful end. While they can be proud of their commitment to protect and serve all the people of Los Angeles, there are "a few wrinkles that the LAPD needs to work out," Trutanich said. The LAPD should be grateful for the sound advice and opportunity to educate themselves that they are being given. Contributions to the Draft Trutanich for District Attorney movement can be made at his campaign website.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Kevin James Mayoral campaign boosted by matching funds

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Kevin James took a giant leap forward in his campaign to become the next Mayor of Los Angeles with the news that he has raised enough money to qualify for matching funds.

Qualifying for matching funds means that not only will James receive a dollar for dollar doubling of his fundraising, but even more importantly, it means that he will be a participant in the next Mayoral candidates' debate on February 2, 2101 at UCLA.

All eyes will be on James in the debates. The former Assistant US Attorney and talk show host is bound to raise the bar in the debates, challenging the policies of the Villaraigosa administration and the business as usual brigade that have brought the nation's second largest city to the brink of bankruptcy.

To learn more about Kevin James, visit his campaign website:

Trutanich faced with major setback in District Attorney campaign

The LA Weekly's exclusive report of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's shock defeat in what should have been slam-dunk convictions of OccupyLA protesters, shows just how ill-suited the former plaintiff's attorney is to the serious business of law enforcement, according to the Los Angeles Dragnet.

Trutanich was unable to proceed with prosecutions against the Occupy LA protesters because his attorneys were unprepared to go forward with trials, missing witnesses, paperwork and evidence.

It's a shocking indictment of Trutanich's management ability and will harm Trutanich's credibility as a candidate for District Attorney; if he cannot manage a simple misdemeanor prosecution for failing to disperse and trespass, how can he possibly be capable of managing the serious business of prosecuting felons as District Attorney?

Ironically, on the same day that news of Trutanich's monumental failure was revealed, his former supporter Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley sat calmly in Department 30 of the Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles  while a 37 count felony complaint was presented against the Hollywood serial arsonist, Harry Burkhart.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley looks calmly at the face of
alleged serial arsonist Harry Burkhart while Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney
outlines the well-prepared case against the defendant
Trutanich had over a month to be prepared to prosecute the Occupy LA protesters for minor crimes that barely warrant a slap on the wrist, but Trutanich could not handle the pressure. In contrast, the District Attorney's Office had 48 hours to prepare and successfully present the 37 count complaint against the worst arsonist in Los Angeles history.

The contrast between the two former friends couldn't be greater. While Trutanich appears to prefer trying his cases in the press without being able to follow through, Cooley shuns the media and gets on with doing the job. Cooley has made it clear that he does not support Trutanich to replace him as District Attorney when he retires in 2013. Now Los Angelenos can see why; he cannot do the job.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mayor Villaraigosa accused of 'ENRON' accounting

Shocking revelations in the Los Angeles Times regarding the way Mayor Villaraigosa has 'deferred' around $100M in labor costs to be the problem of whoever succeeds him may explain why former Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner resigned.

The LA Times reports that Beutner, an investment banker and mayoral hopeful, said Villaraigosa's $100M deferment will leave the city with fewer dollars for services in coming years. Beutner was more blunt three months ago, telling a room full of real estate executives that City Hall's budget practices resemble an infamous case of corporate financial abuse. "That's Enron," he told the audience. "That's actually fraud, right?"

Los Angeles Arsonist Arrested 
The arrest of 24 year old Harry Burkhart in the early hours of Monday morning appears to have brought an end to the spate of fires plaguing the Hollywood area.

The arrest, by sharp-eyed reserve Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Shervin Lalezary, was apparently based on information supplied by federal immigration authorities who identified the 24 year old suspect following an incident at a deportation hearing.

Although a number of arson fires allegedly started by Burkhart occurred the City of West Hollywood, the three-day firestorm started in the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department was the lead agency in the investigation. 

Burkhart was being held in the County Jail without bail pending a hearing at the Van Nuys Superior Court on January 4, 2012. Any criminal charges filed in this case will be prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office as Arson, a violation of Penal Code Section 451, is a felony.

Rumors on the internet suggesting that Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich would prosecute the case "to the maximum extent of the law" were likely made to parody Trutanich's reputation for "grandstanding." Trutanich recently claimed he was "moving forward" with the prosecution of those responsible for the brutal Dodgers Stadium opening day beating of Brian Stowe, however, that too was a serious felony and Trutanich is not allowed to prosecute such serious crimes.

Trutanich is believed to make false claims to the prosecution of serious crimes in order to enhance his image as a 'tough on crime' candidate for District Attorney, and is likely keen to make himself relevant to the arson case for that reason. His options appear to be the same as with the Occupy LA protesters and AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial; he could claim to be 'investigating' Burkhart with a view to filing a lawsuit to recover the costs of the arson investigation. "It's an election year, so don't be surprised by any cheap publicity stunts from the City Attorney," a political consultant commented on condition of anonymity.