Trutanich’s use of Outside Counsel questioned
Former Carmen Trutanich supporter and longtime activist blogger David ‘Zuma Dogg’ Saltzburg claims that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich’s use of Outside Counsel to litigate his civil rights case against the City of Los Angeles is not only an unwarranted wasted of taxpayer funds, but raises questions about whether it is appropriate for law firms who contributed to Trutanich’s City Attorney campaign to receive contracts from the City Attorney’s Office to do the work Trutanich does not want to do.
Saltzburg, who campaigned heavily for Trutanich during the 2008-2009 City Attorney race, may have more than one reason to attack Trutanich’s decision to hire the Meyers Nave lawfirm to handle settlement of his case.
He says Trutanich promised him a job in the City Attorney’s Office, but once elected, Trutanich failed to follow through and stopped taking his calls. It’s an experience shared by many who were promised much from Trutanich, but were left with goose eggs.
Saltzburg’s LACityNews.com reported that Meyers Nave had been hired to defend the City of Los Angeles against the claim that Saltzburg, along with other street artists, had been unlawfully prevented from exercising their First Amendment rights on Venice Beach. Saltzburg cannot understand why Deputy City Attorneys at the City Attorney’s Office, who had previously handled the case, were suddenly replaced with a high-priced private lawfirm. Saltzburg believes that donations to Trutanich’s City Attorney campaign made by 15 lawyers at Meyers Nave also raises the question as to whether this is a case of “quid pro quo,” an expensive “thank you” from Trutanich.
|Los Angeles City Ethics Commission records show that 15 lawyers at the
Meyers Nave lawfirm contributed towards Trutaich’s 2009 City Attorney camaign
Trutanich has made much of the way he has cut the use of outside counsel to save the City’s General Fund, so the $100,000 contract to Meyers Nave, believed to be Contract Number C-120019, appears to fly in the face of Trutanich’s claims.
As to Saltzburg’s ‘quid pro quo’ argument, in March 2011, Los Angeles voters passed Measure H, the ‘Restriction on Campaign Contributions from City Contractors.’ The measure was designed to prevent the kind of situation that Saltzburg now complains of; the appearance of impropriety. Saltzburg, it seems, is not stating that the award of the contact to Meyers Nave is a case of quid pro quo, just that it looks that way. He has a point. It certainly does not look right that those who contributed to elect the City Attorney should subsequently receive contracts, regardless of the quality of the work they perform.
SEE FULL ORIGINAL POST ON DRAGNET BLOG, ALONG WITH STORY ON L.A. District Attorney Candidate Update.
A NOTE FROM ZUMA DOGG: October 2011, A Federal Judge ruled in favor of Zuma Dogg, finding that the City of Los Angeles violated my 1st Amendment Rights, on Venice Beach Boardwalk, for (at least) four years. An injunction was placed on the city’s ordinance, and the city admits damages. ZUMA DOGG won and CITY lost.
Many people (including most council members I speak with) are still confused (cause it is confusing) and are not aware of this: Carmen Trutanich hired outside counsel, NOT TO FIGHT THE CASE, IN HOPES OF WINNING. He already LOST to Zuma Dogg, who already won. The outside counsel is being used to go through the discovery process; then depositions; then a jury trial.
KEY POINT: THE JURY TRIAL IS NOT TO DECIDE IF THE CITY IS RIGHT OR WRONG. As I have noted MANY TIMES, ABOVE…BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I HAVE SAID AND BLOGGED IT, PEOPLE DO NOT SEEM TO COMPREHEND: IT IS NO LONGER ABOUT WHO IS RIGHT OR WRONG: THE CITY WAS FOUND TO BE WRONG. The ONLY thing the jury will be considering is: HOW MUCH TO AWARD PLAINTIFF ZUMA DOGG FOR HIS YEARS AND YEARS OF DAMAGES THAT RESULTED IN HOMELESSNESS (LOSS OF INCOME) — AND NOW A LIFETIME OF STATE DIAGNOSED DISABILITY AND WORK EXEMPTION.
So between the discovery, deposition and jury trial process…that’s QUITE A LOT OF BILLABLE HOURS, FOR ONE OF, IF NOT THE, MOST EXPENSIVE LAW FIRM IN THE REGION, IF NOT U.S.A.
It seems as though the process will cost the city a lot more money out of the general fund, to be given to Meyers-Nave law firm; and cost to city attorney, for lost time of their own far too precious resources (while other things are not able to be worked on) — WHEN THE AMOUNT I PROPOSED IN A SETTLEMENT OFFER IS CERTAIN TO BE FAR LESS (A FRACTION).
HOWEVER, 15 Meyers-Nave attorneys (and who knows HOW many of their staff/cronies) contributed to Trutanich’s campaign for City Attorney; so maybe the reason Meyers-Nave counsel Deborah Fox tells my attorney that the city is just not ready to wrap this up with a check — and there needs to be MUCH MORE PROCESS (billable hours).
So when those services are being cut — and Fire Stations are being “brown outed,” TRUTANICH HAS TO DRAIN CITY COFFERS GIVING MEYERS-NAVE THE BILLABLE HOURS HE MAY OWE THEM, IN A “QUID PRO QUO” ARRANGEMENT.
OR, they just don’t give a fuck about city dollars. Either way…YOU LOSE, after ZD already won.