Los Angeles City Hall politics revealed from an insider's point of view.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Alarcon Says "It's All A Mistake"
Responding to reports that investigators from the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office had searched his house in Panorama City and his wife's house in Sun Valley, Los Angeles City Councilman, Richard Alarcon, made the classic mistake of those accused with criminal conduct; he gave a statement that makes the case against him stronger.
Alarcon is under investigation for voter fraud; being registered to vote at a house in Panorama City, which is in his council district (7), but actually living a house in Sun Valley which is in council district 2.
According to a report in the LA Times, Alarcon admitted living in his wife's house in Sun Valley, but explained his residence there was due to a break in at the Panorama City house.
Alarcon reportedly told the LA Times that 'in late October a mentally ill man broke into his house, changed the locks on at least three doors and destroyed his possessions, including many of his clothes. “We haven’t been there since then, that’s for sure,” he said.' In other words, the mental guy that broke in was a squatter.
The question that the jury will doubtless be faced with, is that if Alarcon was actually living in the Panaorama City house, how could a mentally ill man break in and establish a residence there? Where was Alarcon when that happened?
The LA Times had also reported that;
'Three neighbors, an employee at the school next door and a man who has been living in a motor home next to Alarcon's house said they had not seen anyone living in the home recently.
Steve Folden, who lives across the street and said he is the neighborhood watch block captain, said he had noticed no one living in the house for at least three years. Occasionally, he said, he sees workers mowing the lawn. He said he had seen Alarcon at the home "once in a blue moon" until this week.
"It's been vacant for a long time," Folden said.'
No doubt the DA will have searched both houses to get additional evidence to prove that Alarcon's true domicile, the place he actually lives, is not in his council district. That evidence will be bolstered by Alarcon's statement which proves that he wasn't living there when the mentally ill squatter moved in.
Further evidence that the Sun Valley house was Alarcon's domicile comes from a strange request Alarcon made. According to the LA Times, in 2007, Alarcon tried to get the boundary lines of his council district changed so that the Sun Valley house could be included in his council district.
Another fact that the LA Times uncovered is that Alarcon's wife, who apparently owns both houses, wanted to re-develop and sun-divide the Panorama City house into 'town homes.' Some might say that the Panorama City house was purely an investment property, conveniently within CD7, and never a true residence occupied by anyone.
One thing is for sure, Alarcon's got a lot of trouble on his hands, and his statements might satisfy his partisan voters, but may not impress a jury.
It is unfortunate for Alarcon that Los Angeles District Attorney, Steve Cooley, whose Public Integrity Division is investigating Alarcon, is not the kind of guy to make deals where political corruption is concerned. Equally troubling for Alarcon, is that his friend City Attorney Carmen Trutanich cannot defend him as ethical rules prevent the City Attorney from becoming involved in the case.
Alarcon's woes continue as famed criminal defense attorney Johnnie Cochran has been dead for 5 years, and it looks like Alarcon will have to hire a defense attorney with a comparable record and reputation. That costs a lot of money. Perhaps he'll have to sell the Panorama City house to pay his legal bills. It's not like he needs to live there, so it seems.