Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, February 27, 2024


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ADDA Files Complaint Against Gascón Over ‘Outright Lies’ in Newspaper Interview


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The union that represents nearly 800 Los Angeles County prosecutors has filed an administrative complaint against District Attorney George Gascón, accusing him of lying about it in public statements.

 On Friday, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (“ADDA”)—which has been engaged in battle with the controversial district attorney since the early months of his administration—filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission. It labeled as “outright lies” comments by Gascón that were published on Feb. 18 in the Pasadena Star News.

Allegations by Gascón were “calculated to undermine the ADDA, its standing with its members, and its efficacy as a labor union,” the complaint asserts. Attached to the complaint is an opinion piece by staff writer Larry Wilson, who says he’s voting for Gascón in the March 5 primary over his 11 opponents.

Basis for Complaint

The complaint sets forth:

“In the Pasadena Star News article, District Attorney Gascón, whose lack of veracity in his public pronouncements is well documented, concocted a completely false narrative vis-a-vis the ADDA…by saying the following:

“ ‘There are multiple components to this,’ he said. ‘A substantial number of people are very invested in keeping the old administration and the old style of doing things. In their work against me, the union had to raise their dues twice and now a third time—they spend it on the campaign against me, on recalls, on lawsuits. But…we are seeing cracks in the internal opposition. ‘We gave tests for DA 4,’ a step up for junior prosecutors, ‘and the union told people not to take the exam, and over 300 people took the exam. The union refused my offer to give raises to many of our attorneys,’ because they didn’t want him to have that victory.”

“That District Attorney Gascón’s statements are utter lies made up from whole cloth, without a grain of substance to them, which only underscores the insult to the Los Angeles County Employee Relations Ordinance, the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, and hearkens back to the days when anti-labor thugs used lead pipes instead of words to assault labor policy and labor unions.”

Under the ordinance, if it is found that there has been an effort to “interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the[ir] rights,” corrective action may be ordered. The Meyers-Milias-Brown Act of 1968 establishes collective bargaining for employees of local governmental entities and proscribes unfair labor practices.

Statement Issued

In a statement released late Friday, the ADDA said:

“The ADDA’s Board of Directors has never discouraged its members from taking a promotional exam; indeed, all eligible members of the Board applied for the promotion to which Gascón referred. In his three-year tenure as District Attorney, Gascón has never offered to increase deputies’ pay; in fact, he lacks the power to do so. The ADDA’s members approved a one-time increase in their dues rate early in Gascón’s term to pay for additional legal expenses associated with protecting ADDA members from unlawful retaliation by Gascón.”

ADDA President Michele Hanisee commented:

“George Gascón’s lies are designed to undermine the hard work that our union has done to stand up for and defend our members’ civil service and workplace rights. He is also seeking to shift the blame for his failed leadership onto the line prosecutors who work in the District Attorney’s office.”

ADDA Vice President Ryan Erlich added:

“There’s only one reason for Gascón, or someone like him, to lie about the ADDA’s activities, and that’s to undermine the union’s credibility in the eyes of its members. If Gascón wants to blame someone for his failures over the last three years, he should blame the guy staring back at him in the mirror.”

Other Frays

The ADDA has engaged in other challenges to Gascón’s policies in court and administrative actions.

Gascón took office on Dec. 7, 2020, and on that date, he issued several “special directives” aimed at lessening penal consequences for defendants. The ADDA on Dec. 30 filed a suit which sought to enjoin implementation of some of the orders.

A preliminary injunction was issued granting much of the relief sought; the Court of Appeal for this district, for the most part, affirmed; the matter is now before the California Supreme Court.  

On Jan. 31, the ADDA sued Gascón in Los Angeles Superior Court contending that he is in violation of the California Public Records Act by spurning its various requests for information.

Several deputies have sued alleging retaliation against them based on their stated opposition to Gascón’s policies. An early suit was settled by the Board of Supervisors for $800,000 and one plaintiff prevailed in court, obtaining a jury verdict in the amount of $1.5 million, with the judge adding $950,170.63 in attorney fees.

ADDA Criticized

The ADDA, through an action of its governing board, has endorsed Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall in the district attorney’s race. One deputy district attorney, John Lewin, a member of a group calling itself “Ethical DAs,” has sent out an email protesting the endorsement based on some of the board members having previously announced their allegiance to Siddall’s campaign effort.

In particular, he took issue with the board donating $7,500 to Siddall’s committee while giving $1,500 to the other three deputy district attorneys who are running: John McKinney (whom the Ethical DAs are backing), Maria Ramirez, and Jon Hatami.

He wrote:

“I guess that means that as members, we need to monitor the DA contribution website and hunt down all of the contributions to find out how the ADDA is secretly spending our dues!”

A recent poll participated in by 355 members of the office out of the 527 prosecutors who who were contacted showed that 64.7 percent of those voting favor McKinney. However, some observers question the accuracy of the poll, asserting that many prosecutors did not bother to vote because the plebiscite was commissioned by the Ethical DAs, not the ADDA, and they point out that less than half of the deputy district attorneys voted.

Lewin explained last month that the 13-member Ethical Prosecutors “did not have the personal emails forevery prosecutor,” and the ADDA would not assist it, so it contacted as many as it could, while detractors scoff that the voting was by invitation, only.


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