Thursday, June 28, 2001
Delgadillo Names Thomas Hokinson Interim Chief Deputy
By a MetNews Staff Writer
City Attorney-elect Rocky Delgadillo yesterday named Thomas C. Hokinson, a 30-year veteran of the office, to be his interim chief deputy.
Hokinson currently serves as chief assistant city attorney over the civil branch under James Hahn. In that post, he is responsible for city liabilities and settlements in lawsuits.
During his recent campaign Delgadillo sharply criticized Hahn’s office and city government in general for a ballooning level of liabilities and payouts. He vowed to cut liabilities by a third.
Because of Delgadillo’s focus on the issue and his criticism of the status quo, it was widely speculated that he would reach outside the current office to address liability. In selecting Hokinson, he instead has tapped one of Hahn’s most trusted and respected deputies.
“Mr. Hokinson’s combination of talent, experience and familiarity with the City Attorney’s Office will help us hit the ground running, and tackle critical issues such as improving our children’s education, reducing the city’s liability expenditures, ensuring the highest level of public safety, reforming the Los Angeles Police Department, and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Delgadillo said in a statement.
Hokinson has headed the city’s liabilities division, and has been the city’s point man on reducing lawsuits against the LAPD. He took a lead role in cutting LAPD-related payouts in 1993, in the wake of the Rodney King beating and subsequent riots.
But city liabilities have since soared—especially those stemming from suits against the LAPD. Hokinson helped craft multimillion-dollar settlements last year in lawsuits stemming from the Rampart police corruption scandal. Although the move drew public criticism, inside City Hall Hokinson is credited with keeping the city’s payout in the Rampart scandal to a minimum.
In a statement, Hokinson said he was “honored and delighted” to be named to the interim post.
He is the first person from inside the City Attorney’s Office whom Delgadillo has named to assist him.
Earlier this month, the city attorney-elect named non-attorney Ann D’Amato, one of his fellow deputy mayors under Richard Riordan, to be his chief of staff.
He also named attorney Mark Steinberg of his own former firm, O’Melveny & Myers, to lead a transition team of high-powered senior advisors and hands-on lawyers to help select the Delgadillo’s more permanent top officials.
The advisors include former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Delagdillo’s mentor at O’Melveny and one of his highest-profile backers in the recent campaign against City Councilman Mike Feuer.
Also on the senior staff are Vilma Martinez and Ron Olson of Munger, Tolles & Olson, former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Andrea Ordin of Morgan Lewis & Bockius, former Los Angeles County District Attorney Robert Philibosian of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, Judicial Appointments Secretary Burt Pines, Bruce Ramer of Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown, and former California Attorney General and Los Angeles District Attorney John Van de Kamp of Dewey Ballantine.
Working on the day-to-day transition issues are Encino attorney and city Airport Commissioner Lee Kanon Alpert; Ron Turovsky of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; who served as political attorney for Hahn during his recent successful mayoral campaign; former Police Commission and Los Angeles County Bar Association President Gerald Chaleff of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, one of the lead negotiators for the city on the LAPD consent decree; and Richard Drooyan of Munger Tolles, who headed the Rampart Independent Review Committee.
Also on the hands-on team are MacArthur grant winner and former charter reform commission member Stewart Kwoh of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center; Jeff Glassman of Riordan & McKinzie; John Spiegel of Munger Tolles; Michael Camunez and Cheryl Mason of O’Melveny; longtime city commissioner Dan Garcia of Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe; Joan Kessler of Kessler & Kessler; Jeffrey Zeddock B. Springer of Demetriou Del Guercio & Francis; and Darrell Walker of Mandalay Pictures.
The City Attorney’s Office has a staff of about 400 lawyers and as such is one of the state’s largest law firms. It is charged with representing the city and city officials in civil matters, prosecuting misdemeanors that occur within city limits, and advising elected officials and employees.
Delgadillo takes office on Monday.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company