Monday, June 6, 2016
Endorsements in LACBA Election
Senior Vice President
he MetNews has already endorsed the “alternate” slate of candidates for officer and trustee slots in the Los Angeles County Bar Association election that is in progress, terminating at 5 p.m. on Friday.
There is widespread discontent among members of LACBA. The organization is misspending funds and ill-serving members.
Unless changes are made quickly in the direction it is taking, the organization’s future is in jeopardy.
Basically, LACBA has a huge deficit. Nonetheless, it is giving away money to Counsel for Justice, successor to the LACBA Foundation, and now an arm of LACBA. Its financial statement for the period ending Dec. 31, 2014 (the latest available), says:
“Counsel for Justice reimburses the Association for certain administrative expenses incurred by the Association on its behalf. For the year ended December 31, 2014, these administrative expenses amounted to $552,302, of which $546,375 was forgiven by the Association. In addition, as of December 31, 2014, Counsel for Justice owes the Association $2,301,061.
“The Association has represented that it will continue to support Counsel for Justice for the foreseeable future.”
Most of the CFJ programs are worthwhile, but if an organization is in the red, it is in no position to be making donations and forgiving debts.
Panicked over its finances, LACBA is slashing the number of events, and charging exorbitant amounts for those it does stage, causing loss of members. Fiscal responsibility dictates a different course: LACBA should stop making gifts of money it doesn’t have.
And it should cease paying huge amounts to staff executives. The Los Angeles Times, in a recent article, brought out that the executive director of the State Bar makes $267,000 a year, which it contrasted with the $183,000 annual salary paid the governor. What the Times has not yet reported is that the executive director of LACBA in 2013 was given $347,261 in salary, bonus, and benefits. Until quite recently, she had been coming to work at 4 p.m. We regard this as scandalous.
ur endorsement goes to candidates of the LACBA Council of Sections: Michael Meyer for president-elect, Phil Lam for senior vice president, and Tamila Jensen for vice president.
Meyer is chairman of the Los Angeles Offices of DLA Piper and is a former LACBA assistant vice president.
His opponent is Michael Lindsey, currently senior vice president and treasurer of LACBA—and much to blame for the sorry state LACBA is in. Lindsey favors maximum secrecy over the organization’s spending, or misspending, of funds.
Lam is intellectual property counsel for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. He is a former president of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association and former co-president of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association.
Also running for the post is LACBA’s current vice president, Deputy District Attorney David Reinert. There is a LACBA election listserv, and Reinert is functioning as apologist for the way things are—meaning that he would perpetuate fiscal irresponsibility and keep finances of LACBA secret from its members.
He insists in one email:
“Regardless of how you calculate the numbers, LACBA Sections do not bring in sufficient revenue to cover the costs of their operation. In fact, LACBA’s outside auditors estimate that the Sections cost LACBA some $2,000,000 every year after Section revenue is deducted. In recent years, that deficit in operations has worsened, to approximately $2,300,000 in 2014 and $2,700,000 in 2015.”
Oh? Last year, LACBA’s president Paul Kiesel sought to justify clamping down on section activities by claiming that the sections were draining LACBA’s resources by more than $500,000 a year. But in March, he announced that it was discovered that expenses had been misallocated and, lo and behold, the sections are in the black by about $100,000 a year. Now, Reinert blithely contradicts Kiesel, presenting no substantiation.
The prosecutor also proclaims (in huge red letters): “We Urge You to Support the Nominated Candidates.” All of the candidates are nominated. Some were nominated by LACBA’s Nominating Committee. Others were nominated by petition. All have official status, despite the false impression Reinert seeks to convey. (Is this how he puts on cases in court?)
Reinert says in an e-mail, in bold, red letters, in 24-point type: “LACBA needs experienced Leadership.” We agree. Jensen and Lam have led major bar associations, and done so well. Reinert has not led a bar association. Neither has the Nominating Committee’s candidate for vice president, Annaluisa Padilla, a former LACBA trustee.
Padilla is an Orange County immigration attorney.
e also urge the election of Ron Brot, Richard Lewis, Brad S. Pauley, Edwin Summers, and William Winslow as trustees, along with John F. Hartigan and Marc Sallus.
Brot is currently chair of LACBA’s Family Law Section and has chaired two other sections; Pauley chairs the Appellate Courts Section; Summers chairs the Corporate Law Department Section; Winslow chairs the Trusts and Estates Section.
Lewis is a past president of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association
We also endorse John Hartigan, chair of LACBA’s Business & Corporations Section, and Marc Sallus, former president of LACBA’s Barristers, former chair of the LACBA delegation to the Conference of Delegates, and former president of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Both were chosen by LACBA’s Nominating Committee. Their credentials being unassailable, they were also endorsed by the Council of Sections. This is reminiscent of Goodwin J. Knight, who would later become governor of California, being the candidate for lieutenant governor in 1950 of both the Republican and Democratic Parties (under cross-filing).
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company