Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Trutanich Aide Identifies ‘Person of Interest’ in Fundraiser Episode
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The City Attorney’s Office has identified a former employee as the person responsible for a fundraising solicitation that linked City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to his predecessor’s campaign for state attorney general, a high-ranking official said yesterday.
David Berger, Trutanich’s special assistant, told the MetNews the ex-employee has not been charged with a crime, but is a “person of interest,” and that the matter remains under investigation.
Berger declined to identify the person, but said it “certainly appears” that fliers implying Trutanich’s endorsement of Delgadillo were sent to the home addresses of all deputy city attorneys. The fliers invited recipients to a fundraiser scheduled for last night with a suggested donation of $500 and listed the current city attorney as a “special guest.”
Berger said there was no specific timetable for completing the investigation, “but we obviously want to get to the bottom of this.”
Curt Livesay, the chief legal adviser to Trutanich, said two weeks ago, after employees first reported receiving the flier, that the office was concerned that Government Code Sec. 3205 may have been violated.
That section makes it a misdemeanor for “[a]n officer or employee of a local agency” to “directly or indirectly, solicit a political contribution from an officer or employee of that agency, or from a person on an employment list of that agency, with knowledge that the person from whom the contribution is solicited is an officer or employee of that agency.”
Home addresses of deputies are confidential, Livesay said, and if the city attorney, himself, asked the Personnel Department for a list of all the addresses, “They’re going to say ‘no.’ ”
After deputies reported receiving the fliers, Trutanich—a former Republican now registered as “decline-to-state”—said he was not supporting Delgadillo, a Democrat.
Trutanich said that he met with Delgadillo, who “said he was holding a fundraiser that involved deputy city attorneys.” Delgadillo told him, Trutanich related, that some deputies “are a little bit concerned” about showing their political support “because you are the city attorney.”
Trutanich said he assured Delgadillo that there would be no retaliation against any deputies who back him in his campaign.
Livesay said he was present at the meeting which, he recounted, took place about a week earlier on the patio of the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Assurance Reportedly Given
He said Trutanich assured Delgadillo that the First Amendment rights of his deputies would be respected.
Livesay insisted that while Trutanich gave the assurance that deputies could attend the fundraiser without fear of recriminations, “there was no mention that he would appear there.”
Delgadillo campaign consultant Kam Kuwata said that Trutanich made a “commitment” to attend the event, and that Delgadillo placed two phone calls to his successor in hopes of “clearing the air.”
Trutanich told the MetNews he did not return the calls because there was “no air to clear,” as he had not committed to attend the event or support Delgadillo’s candidacy, although he told Delgadillo he might stop by.
In addition to the fliers sent by mail, e-mails from Delgadillo, sent by a political consulting firm with the salutation, “Dear Friends,” were dispatched to city attorney employees, with a PDF facsimile of the flier attached.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company