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

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.

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