Voters should note that if the twin Charter Amendments win at the ballot box, the winners of the respective City Council Elections, are gifted with almost a six year term seat on the Horseshoe.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and his controversial campaign strategist John Shallman will pay several hundred thousand dollars to resolve a complaint, filed by West. L.A. activist Laura Lake, for numerous campaign finance violations committed during the 2013 Los Angeles City Election. (Calif. Court of Appeals case #B251369).
This amount far exceeds amounts paid by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to resolve penalties leveled against him by the Los Angeles Ethics Commission.
Feuer and Shallman were accused of orchestrating a scheme to circumvent Los Angeles Municipal campaign finance rules by exceeding the spending cap requirement in order to receive approximately a half million dollars in taxpayer matching funds.
In addition, Feuer was accused of violating the law when he used funds from his State Assembly Campaign Committee to pay expenses incurred for his City Attorney Campaign Committee.
As one City Hall insider observed, “If L.A.’s top prosecutor can’t be trusted to follow the law, who can you trust?”
The big question on the minds of many L.A. voters is where will Feuer get the money to satisfy this obligation?
THE MIKE FEUER LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
A STUDY IN “QUID PRO QUO”
As reported earlier, a review of the Feuer Legal Defense Fund (#1356553) showed attorney Gregory W. Smith and his wife Yuma gave Feuer’s Legal Defense Fund a $1,000 each in 2013.
In June 2014, Feuer recommended to the L.A. City Council that the City use taxpayer funds to pay attorney Gregory W. Smith $1,471,584.70 in the case Peter J. Bakotich, et al v. City of Los Angeles, (Los Angeles Superior Court case # BC442344).
To reciprocate, attorney Gregory W. Smith and his wife gave the Feuer Defense Fund another $2,000 on Nov 25, 2014. One community activist commented, “This all smells like quid pro quo – one hand washing the other and deserves further investigation. How is this any different from former Los Angeles County Tax Assessor John Noguez or former State Senator Ron Calderon taking actions that enrich specific donors to their campaign committees?” Both former officeholders are currently under indictment.
Feuer has also taken money from other individuals and entities who stand to gain financially from him. He’s received contributions from the law firms of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard& Smith, and Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland, both which receive City money to do work for Feuer’s office.
Feuer also solicited contributions from L.A. City employees who work for him. On December 30, 2014, he solicited a contribution from Alexander H. Ponder, who lists his occupation as “Director, IGR, City of L.A.” A further investigation has shown Alexander H. Ponder is an employee in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office. In mid 2013, months after Feuer opened his Legal Defense Fund, Ponder received a spike in his income based on a Feuer request to the City Council.
More troubling, Feuer has taken contributions from Jeff Greene, a well-known L.A. slumlord who’s been indicted by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office for numerous and rampant housing code violations.
Feuer has loaned his legal defense fund $95,000. Every dollar received by the LDF, is one less dollar Feuer has to personally pay. Obviously Mike & Gail Feuer benefit financially if others pay bills they would otherwise be obligated to pay.
Feuer’s wife, Gail Feuer, currently is a Judge Pro Tem on the California Court of Appeals. She is in a position to rule on appeals filed by the law firms of Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland, and Lewis, Brisbois. Could their donations also be an attempt to influence her rulings? You decide.
The State number for the Feuer Legal Defense Fund is 1356553. Its filings can be found through the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission web site.
A group of Los Angeles citizens, known as the “The California Watchdogs” have found these facts so troubling, they are taking their evidence to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, and the California Fair Political Practices Commission.