Remember back in 2008 when Councilman Bernard Parks vied with state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas for a seat on the Board of Supervisors? Remember how the Parks campaign engaged Call Center Services Inc. to make thousands of robocalls to White, Spanish-speaking and Republican 2nd District county residents to encourage them to vote for Parks? Remember how Parks refused to pay this company for its work and Call Center Services had to sue Parks in November 2009 to get paid? Well, hold onto your hats because, according to court documents, a lot of interesting stuff has happened since then:
First, at the conclusion of the nonjury trial of Call Center Services v. Parks in November 2010, Parks lost and Judge John Kronstadt ruled on April 4, 2011 that Parks was to pay the calling company $60,426.41 for services rendered to his supervisorial campaign. Then, in August 2011, Parks sought to have the case tried again, but Judge Barbara Scheper said there was no new evidence to support granting a new trial. She told Parks to pay the company its duly earned $60,426.41.
Parks ignored the decision and still refused to pay. So then, on Oct. 26, 2011, the judge issued an order for the city of Los Angeles to garnish Parks’ City Council wages to the tune of $67,766.53 to pay the Call Center what he owes — plus interest and costs. Parks didn’t want to pay the Call Center, so he appealed his case (#B23725), which is now pending in the 2nd District Court of Appeal for the state of California. Parks also didn’t want his wages garnished, so his lawyer proposed — and the Call Center’s lawyer agreed to do Parks the favor of stopping the looming garnishment the city was processing against him — if Parks would deposit $101,649.79 cash with the court, which it would hold until Parks’ appeal process concluded.
The two lawyers put the proposition to the judge, who shrugged his shoulders and said, “OK,” and issued an order on Nov. 9 to the city of Los Angeles to “stay the garnishment against Bernard C. Parks.” So, Parks has put up $101,649.79 in cash (!), which is 1.5 times the judgment (if my math is correct) to keep from paying the Call Center $67,766.53. My legal experts tell me that Parks doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning an appeal of this kind of case and they say his losing it will cost him a fortune — that is a fortune for us, maybe not so much for him. They say he’ll have to pay the interest on that judgement, which will be accruing until the appeal is resolved, and he’ll have to pay the cost of the appeal, his attorney’s fees and the fees of the Call Center’s attorney.
But then, Parks is a wealthy man just in regards to what is publicly known about his finances: He gets $240,000 a year for his cop pension, $180,000 a year for his City Council salary and his son, Bernard Parks Jr., who is employed as his father’s chief of staff, gets $154,846 a year. That’s more than a half a million dollars in city funds going to the Parks’ family every year, plus whatever properties and investments they have. Oh yeah, I can see him easily coming up with a suitcase stuffed with $101,649.79 in cash.
But remember, political consultant John Shallman also sued Parks for nonpayment of his services during that losing supervisorial race. I wonder what the status of that is. I must check it out.
AND ANOTHER THING — I’m confused about something I’ve been reading in the LA Weekly — the only paper in the city I like, besides my own — and maybe someone (I can trust) will straighten me out: On Dec. 19, LA Weekly ran a story headlined: “Bernard Parks’ Office Owes L.A. Coliseum $40,000 for Fireworks Party.” Then on Dec. 21, LA Weekly ran a story headlined: “Rave Promoters Gave $40,000 to City Leader Bernard Parks’ 4th of July Event: Money Magically Came Off Their L.A. Coliseum Bills.” Both of these are troubling stories and the newspaper aptly described the Coliseum as “a little shop of horrors.” Are they talking about the same $40,000? I asked a Coliseum commissioner that question and was told, “No” and was given an explanation I could not understand. But I did learn that City ControllerWendy Greuel, reportedly the legally designated auditor of the Coliseum Commission, is over there auditing that mess and no doubt she will render a report soon that I can understand.
...... wonder if a Little Short Guy had anything to do with the timing of this?
Your thoughts ..............
Scott Johnson in CD 14
Labels: "Another Soulvine Thursday", bernard parks, betty pleasant