Attorney Timothy Reuben Is Suing Political Consultant David Gould, Says He Was Charged More Than Defendant’s Eight Other Clients for Space in Slate Mailers Last Year
By a MetNews Staff Writer
An unsuccessful candidate for a Los Angeles Superior Court open seat in last year’s primary election is maintaining a fraud action against his professional campaign consultant, David Gould, alleging that Gould charged the other eight candidates he represented in that election lower rates for inclusion on slate mailers, so that the plaintiff was subsidizing their bids for office.
The candidate is Timothy D. Reuben, a Beverly Hills lawyer who was the high spender in last year’s March 3 primary—with his committee paying out $550,679.30, according to a campaign report—yet losing to then-Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney (now Judge) Sherry L. Powell, whose committee spent $32,428.66. Powell received 62.94 percent of the vote.
Reuben took Gould’s advice to rely on slates, while Powell utilized social media.
The losing candidate is suing Gould, who advised his campaign on political strategy, through his Long Beach firm, David L. Gould Company Political Reporting & Consulting, and Gould & Orellana, LLC (“G & O”), in which Gould is a principal, which handled the campaign finances.
The complaint was filed on Dec. 28, and so far, no answer has been filed by either defendant.
Allegations of Complaint
It sets forth:
“This action arises out of the fraudulent misrepresentations and fraudulent concealment of material facts regarding the actual cost of slate mail services and the mismanagement and misappropriation of funds by Defendants on behalf of Plaintiff. Plaintiff Reuben was led to believe, both initially and throughout his campaign for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, that the costs negotiated for services recommended by Gould reflected the actual and reasonable costs of these services. Instead, among other things, unbeknownst to Reuben, Defendants were using Reuben’s funds essentially to fund other clients of Defendants. As a result. Plaintiff spent a significant amount of money paying for campaign services, including slate mailers, at an inflated price.”
The pleading alleges that Gould pledged to Reuben he would negotiate with the slate mailer companies to get him the lowest possible price.
Gould’s other clients were Assistant California Attorney General Linda Sun and Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys David Berger, Emily Cole, and Ken Fuller—who won the open seats they sought—and law professor Myanna Dellinger and attorneys Caree Harper, Tom Parsekian, and Troy Slaten, who lost.
“Unbeknownst to Reuben and intentionally concealed by Defendants, Defendants were obtaining identical or virtually identical slate mailer services for some or all of their other clients at substantially lower rates and costs than what Defendants were paying on behalf of Reuben’s campaign,” the complaint avers, adding:
“In fact, all of Defendants’ other clients paid far less for the same mailer than what Reuben paid,” the complaint alleges.
It gives as an example Gould’s purchase for clients of space on the Coalition for Senior Citizen Security slate mailer. While Reuben’s committee paid $6,000, the pleading says, other committees were charged in these amounts: Slaten’s, $4,416; Parsekian’s, $3,250; Sun’s, $2,833; Cole’s, $2.208; Berger’s, $1,408, Fuller’s, $1,000; Dellinger’s, $708.
Exh. “C” shows the amount spent on slate mailers for each of the candidates. There are 25 slates listed, with only the committees for Reuben and Slaten having purchased space on all of them.
Civil rights attorney Harper, who came in third in the race for an open seat (captured in the run-off by Deputy District Attorney Scott Yang), ran a low-budget campaign. Her name appeared on only seven slates, and in each instance, her committee paid less than those of Gould’s other clients.
In one instance, her committee paid $250 while Reuben’s forked over $19,750; in another, her committee bought space for $500 while the price tag for Reuben’s was $28,000.
Reuben, who is represented by Stephen L. Raucher and Trenton E. Hartzler of his firm, Reuben Raucher & Blum, is seeking damages “of not less than $350,000,” an accounting, and punitive damages, plus costs.
Gould said yesterday:
“[W]e strongly deny all of the allegations made by Reuben. He was aware of each and every expenditure before it was made and approved them in advance. In my doing judicial races over the last 30+ years I have not been involved in a lawsuit at all. …[M]ost of my candidates win and of course they are happy with my services.
“In 2020 we in fact had several winners and some who did not. Campaigns were impacted by the pandemic and were done differently. I also might point out that attorney’s in private practice such as Reuben, especially white males, have almost a zero chance of beating a Deputy DA especially female DA’s, this election totally confirmed.”
‘Not as Sinister’
A person who is knowledgeable of judicial elections remarked:
“The discrepancy between the amounts paid for slates by Reuben and other ‘Gould clients’ is not as sinister as it seems. My understanding of the situation with slate vendors is that when Gould buys a slate for one of his clients, it is conditional on the slate vendor either giving Gould ‘first option’ on the remainder of the positions on the slate, and/or agreeing not to sell the remaining positions on the slate to a ‘non-Gould’ client.
“As time goes by, and remaining positions on the slate are unsold, the slate vendor will accept more or less anything for those remaining positions, so Gould is able to purchase those positions at more favorable prices. Typically, the longer one waits before negotiating for a position on a slate, the better the deal gets.”
Conflict of Interest
The complaint also alleges a conflict of interest. It says that the defendants acted as treasurer for 10 of the slate mailer vendors, declaring:
“Defendants thus were on both sides of the table in some of these so-called negotiations.”
An exhibit shows that G&O was paid “over $75,000 by some of the very same slates they were supposedly negotiating against,” commenting:
“Therefore, Defendants had multiple conflicts of interest and financially benefitted by having Reuben overpay for such services. Defendants knew that they had such conflicts of interest but failed fully to disclose these material facts to Reuben.”
The case of Reuben v. Gould is before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert S. Draper. A case management conference is set for April 28.
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