Tag Archives: Downtown Center BID

“They’re Saying It’s A Constitutional Right To Have Stuff” — More Performative Insanity From Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten — The Finest Legal Mind Of Her Generation — As She Explains The Mitchell Injunction To You — From The Point Of View Of A Whiny Entitled Privileged Stupid Person — A Constituency That Doesn’t Get Nearly Enough Attention In Los Angeles — That’s Sarcasm — They’re In Charge Of The Damn Asylum — And Listen To Her Run Her Poormouth About How Her Putatively Underfunded BID Makes Do With Low Budgets By Being More Efficient Than The Fashion District — Which Spends Proportionately Half Of What Besten Spends On Administration — Lie Or Incompetence? — The Perennial Besten Question

It’s been a long while since we here at the blog have heard from Blair Besten, the half-pint Norma Desmond of the Historic Core.1 Well, it’s because, like with El Duckworth, she is so convinced that she is above the law that I haven’t gotten any substantial records out of her infernal BID in ever so long, and without records I will not, I can not, mock.

And of course, as you know, I’m in the process of suing her and her damnable BID to enforce compliance with the Public Records Act. And she’s going to lose, because losing is what she does best. So at some point the records will be rolling in again and the full-time mockery will resume. Until then, though, well, I have always relied on the kindness of strangers, and they are strangely kind to me.

In particular, just recently, unsolicited, was handed to me2 an audio track of an unscheduled appearance made by Ms. Besten at some bullshit meeting conducted at some bullshit Downtown residential bullshit location, having something to do with some bullshit or other. So I made it into a video3 and you can listen here on YouTube and here on Archive.Org, where you can also download it more easily. And of course there’s also a complete transcription after the break!

And best of all, this unexpected bit of Besteniana means that it’s gonna be like the good old days around here what with all the mere mockery unloosed upon the world! Gonna mock around the clock tonight! Turn the page, I’m gonna lay it on you in increments, but before then let’s just spoil the ending and take a look at the single most incomprehensibly lobotomized proclamation proclaimed by Ms. Blair Besten in a long unbroken chain of incomprehensibly lobotomized proclamity!

What, you may ask, does Ms. Blair Besten think that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit Mitchell v. Los Angeles are so freaking wrong about? Why “they’re saying that it’s a constitutional right to have stuff in Skid Row.” If you stop and think about it, Ms. Besten, that’s kind of like, almost, what the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution is saying with all that jive about “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

See the part about property? That’s what grownups call “stuff.” And I don’t see anything about it not being true in Skid Row. In fact, all kinds of people have “stuff” in Skid Row. Like e.g. all those property owners in the Downtown Industrial District BID. Gonna tell them they can’t have stuff there?

And the amendment goes on to say that states may not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” They seem to have left out the not in Skid Row bit there too. So on Blair Besten’s testimony it’s hard to see why she’s so upset at the prospect of the City settling Mitchell. But she is very upset. Can see how it might get confusing to folks like Besten. And listen, lest you think I’m being pointlessly mean to Blair Besten, please keep in mind that this is not just some kook spouting her theories to the waves on Venice Beach.

She is the head of a major Downtown Business Improvement District, hand-picked by Jose Huizar over the objections of its board of directors to administer its outrageously high $2.2 million budget. She is widely considered by City officials to be some kind of expert on homelessness, to the point where they appointed her to the damn HHH citizens’ oversight committee over the objections of a lot of sane and accomplished people. She’s not just a kook, although she is a kook. She’s a dangerous kook with a lot of power. So yeah, I’m being mean to Blair Besten, but not pointlessly mean. Anyway, read on, friends!
Continue reading “They’re Saying It’s A Constitutional Right To Have Stuff” — More Performative Insanity From Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten — The Finest Legal Mind Of Her Generation — As She Explains The Mitchell Injunction To You — From The Point Of View Of A Whiny Entitled Privileged Stupid Person — A Constituency That Doesn’t Get Nearly Enough Attention In Los Angeles — That’s Sarcasm — They’re In Charge Of The Damn Asylum — And Listen To Her Run Her Poormouth About How Her Putatively Underfunded BID Makes Do With Low Budgets By Being More Efficient Than The Fashion District — Which Spends Proportionately Half Of What Besten Spends On Administration — Lie Or Incompetence? — The Perennial Besten Question

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Los Angeles Police Department Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — At Issue Are Two Classes Of Records — Both Of Which LAPD Claims Are Investigative And So Exempt From Release — First Are Private Person’s Arrest Forms — Necessary To Track BID Patrol Arrests — Second Are Reports From RPPICS — Some Kind Of Top Secret Cop Tracking And Discussion System — Putatively For Anti-Terrorism

The LAPD has been notoriously bad at complying with the California Public Records Act. So much so that in 2017 the ACLU sued them for systemic violations of the law, which is in addition to any number of small-scale suits based on individual violations, like e.g. Stop LAPD Spying has had to sue them twice, once in 2015 and again in 2018.

These suits were based on the LAPD’s longstanding habit of completely ignoring CPRA requests, often for years at a time. However, since the City of LA started using the NextRequest CPRA platform the LAPD has gotten quite a bit more responsive, although they can still take a maddeningly long time to respond and produce records.

This welcome improvement in LAPD responsiveness does not mean that all is well in Cop-CPRAlandia. They will still arbitrarily deny requests and then cut off the conversation, and they did this to me twice in 2018. Sadly, the CPRA provides no recourse at all for arbitrary unjustified denials beyond the filing of a lawsuit,1 which is what the path I was forced to follow by the LAPD’s extraordinary and unsupportable intransigence. You can read the complaint here, written by the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros, and/or see transcribed selections below the break.

There are two issues at stake. In the first place, remember back in 2016 when Kerry Morrison and her merry gang of curb-stomping thugs at Andrews International Security altered their contract to be able to withhold public records from me? That left me with no way to tell exactly who said curb-stomping thuggie boys arrested, information they naturally wanted to obscure from me because they tend to arrest the wrong people and rather than mend their ways they prefer to cover up their misdeeds.

But last year I discovered that every time the BID Patrol arrests someone they fill out a form for the LAPD. Here is an example of one. As it’s essential to find out not only how many arrests the BID Patrol makes2 but who they’re actually arresting, I requested that the LAPD give me all of these forms from Hollywood from 2018. They refused, and that is my first cause of action.

The other issue has to do with some Orwellian slab of web app crap known as the Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System. I learned about this from some emails I got from the Downtown Center BID in response to a CPRA request. You can see the emails here on Archive.Org, but they’re not that interesting. They mostly just announce that new information is available on RPPICS, and since they won’t give up the goods, there’s no way to tell what that is.

But this kind of public/private collaboration sharing between police and security is famous for being misused for political surveillance and other illegal and antihuman activities. The LAPD and private security already get up to enough of this in open emails, as does the freaking BID Patrol. Imagine what they’re doing in secret. But we don’t have to imagine, we can make CPRA requests! Which is what I did, asking LAPD for a year’s worth of postings so as to learn what the heck these people were up to in their little secret world. Again, they denied my request, and this is my second cause of action.

And turn the page, if you will, for a few technicalities about the LAPD’s exemption claims and transcribed selections from the petition itself.
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Department Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — At Issue Are Two Classes Of Records — Both Of Which LAPD Claims Are Investigative And So Exempt From Release — First Are Private Person’s Arrest Forms — Necessary To Track BID Patrol Arrests — Second Are Reports From RPPICS — Some Kind Of Top Secret Cop Tracking And Discussion System — Putatively For Anti-Terrorism

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In 2017 Nonprofit Housing Provider — Retirement Housing Foundation — Sued The Downtown Center BID And The City Of LA Seeking To Invalidate The BID And Lost — RHF Sued In 2012 Also And A Confidential City Attorney Report Reveals That The City Felt Sure RHF Would Win That Case — Victory Would Endanger All Other BIDs In LA — And So Sought To Settle — Ended Up Refunding $500,000 In Assessments To The Nonprofit — When DCBID Renewed In 2017 The City Declined To Renew The Settlement — Hence The Second Lawsuit — Get Copies Of All Pleadings Filed — Including Notice Of Appeal Filed On Wednesday

The Retirement Housing Foundation owns and operates a variety of low-income housing facilities around the country, including two, Angelus Plaza and Angelus Plaza North, which are located within the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. In 2012 RHF sued the DCBID and the City of Los Angeles, arguing that because they were a nonprofit provider of low-income housing none or few of the BID’s activities benefited them and that therefore under requirements of the California Constitution they could not be required to pay BID assessments.1

A confidential 2013 report to the City Council by Deputy City Attorney Daniel Whitley, a copy of which I recently obtained, states that the City Attorney’s office considered the City’s case extremely weak.2 However, the report continues:

Because of the many Business Improvement Districts that would potentially be affected by either litigation or settlement, initially we were instructed to defend the City in this litigation but also to attempt to settle the matter so as to protect other Business Improvement Districts.

In accordance with this instruction, the City Attorney negotiated a settlement with RHF in which the City would refund all assessments paid to RHF, to the tune of a little more than $100K per year over the five year life of the BID. Whitley recommended to Council that they approve it. His reasoning was stark:

Given that the City will almost certainly lose this litigation (as we discussed earlier), should the City wish for the DCBID to continue in operation, we recommend approval of the settlement.

This settlement was approved by City Council on February 13, 2013. And the City did pay the money. But then the DCBID expired and was renewed starting in 2018.3 And RHF asked the City to renew the settlement, and the City refused. So RHF filed suit again in 2017. Turn the page for the sordid details.
Continue reading In 2017 Nonprofit Housing Provider — Retirement Housing Foundation — Sued The Downtown Center BID And The City Of LA Seeking To Invalidate The BID And Lost — RHF Sued In 2012 Also And A Confidential City Attorney Report Reveals That The City Felt Sure RHF Would Win That Case — Victory Would Endanger All Other BIDs In LA — And So Sought To Settle — Ended Up Refunding $500,000 In Assessments To The Nonprofit — When DCBID Renewed In 2017 The City Declined To Renew The Settlement — Hence The Second Lawsuit — Get Copies Of All Pleadings Filed — Including Notice Of Appeal Filed On Wednesday

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Annals Of LAPD Spying — Sometimes Protesters Don’t Get Permission From The Cops For Their Protests — And Sometimes The Cops “Monitor” Social Media To Uncover Protesters’ Plans — And Sometimes The Cops Share This Information With The Department Of Homeland Security — Not To Mention With Business Improvement Districts — Who Are No Strangers To Creepy-Ass Social Media Spying Themselves — So Watch What You Say On Facebook, Friends, If You Don’t Want A Bunch Of Unanticipated Cops Showing Up!

This is just a short note to discuss this email chain, which I recently received from the Historic Core BID as part of the fruits of a public records act request.1 It seems that last year, some group called Code Pink was planning a protest in Pershing Square on April 29, 20172 and they did not ask the permission of the LAPD. Even more interestingly it seems that the LAPD has officers dedicated to “monitoring social media” who track this kind of thing.

And one of them, James Baker, emailed a bunch of his fellow polices on April 22, 2017, to fill them in on the upcoming reign of anarchy Downtown. He mentioned explicitly that Code Pink was not cooperating with the LAPD, that there was no discussion of any civil disobedience, and that his officers would “continue to monitor social media for updates.”

Also interesting is the fact that four of the recipients were with the Department of Homeland Security.3 Another was Senior Lead Officer Michael Flanagan, who turned around and emailed batty little fusspot Blair Besten of the Historic Core BID, Brian Raboin of the Downtown Center BID, and Banyon Hutter of Allied Universal Security.

The record doesn’t show what,if anything, the BIDs did with the information, but it’s worth keeping in mind that this is happening. If you’re an activist, if you use social media to coordinate your events, don’t forget that the cops are reading it too, the BIDs are reading it, BID security is reading it, and they’re all coordinating with each other. Plan accordingly. Turn the page for transcriptions of the whole email chain and some additional discussion.
Continue reading Annals Of LAPD Spying — Sometimes Protesters Don’t Get Permission From The Cops For Their Protests — And Sometimes The Cops “Monitor” Social Media To Uncover Protesters’ Plans — And Sometimes The Cops Share This Information With The Department Of Homeland Security — Not To Mention With Business Improvement Districts — Who Are No Strangers To Creepy-Ass Social Media Spying Themselves — So Watch What You Say On Facebook, Friends, If You Don’t Want A Bunch Of Unanticipated Cops Showing Up!

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In 2016 The City Of Los Angeles Revised Its Standard BID Administration Contract To Remove Language About Complying With CPRA And The Brown Act — Which Is Yet Another Example Of The City Refusing To Hold BIDs Responsible For Complying With Any Laws Whatsoever — It’s Not Clear What Effect This Will Have On Anything — They Certainly Did It In Response To My Activities, Though, For What That’s Worth

Regular readers of this blog are well aware that business improvement districts in California are subject to the California Public Records Act and to the Brown Act by virtue of the Property and Business Improvement District Law at §36612, which states explicitly that BIDS … shall comply with the Ralph M. Brown Act … at all times when matters within the subject matter of the district are heard, discussed, or deliberated, and with the California Public Records Act … for all records relating to activities of the district.1

Also, maybe you recall that the standard contract that BIDs sign with the City of Los Angeles contains2 a clause basically repeating this requirement. There’s a transcription of this section after the break. So in March 2016, faced with blatant disregard of the CPRA by the Downtown Center BID, I wrote to the City Clerk, Holly Wolcott, asking her to enforce the terms of the City’s contract with this obstructionist BID.

And on March 14, 2016, she wrote back to me, stating pretty clearly that she wasn’t going to make sure that BIDs complied with the Public Records Act. Again, there’s a transcription of her response after the break, but her main argument was that the City wasn’t obligated by the contract to consider whether a given BID was complying with the CPRA.

And I thought that was the end of it, but I just recently discovered that actually, it’s likely that the City took my argument much more seriously than anyone was letting on. So seriously, in fact, that in April 2016 the City Attorney completely rewrote the standard contract between BIDs and the City to eliminate all language about CPRA and the Brown Act!
Continue reading In 2016 The City Of Los Angeles Revised Its Standard BID Administration Contract To Remove Language About Complying With CPRA And The Brown Act — Which Is Yet Another Example Of The City Refusing To Hold BIDs Responsible For Complying With Any Laws Whatsoever — It’s Not Clear What Effect This Will Have On Anything — They Certainly Did It In Response To My Activities, Though, For What That’s Worth

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Zillion Dollar Woman Carol Schatz Tells California State Senate That The Downtown Center BID Has Been Working For Years To Help Street Vendors And That Senator Lara’s SB-946 Is Going To Make Things Worse For Everybody — Thirty Eight New Support/Oppose Letters Regarding Lara’s Bill Now Available

Last month I published five letters to the State Senate supporting Senator Ricardo Lara’s SB-946, the Sanity in Street Vending Bill which, by the way, cleared the Senate last week and is awaiting consideration by the Assembly. And yesterday I received 38 more support/oppose letters, and I’ve updated the Archive.Org page with copies of these.

The letters supporting Lara’s bill are excellent reading, of course,1 but, as usual, it’s the letters opposing it that really crack open the seething skulls of the zillionaire elites of this City2 and let the fevered fragments of their sociopathic ids spill out for all to see. And, of course, that’s what this blog is all about!

For whatever reason these letters, both in support and in opposition, borrow a lot from one another. And an interesting theme running through the opposition letters from Los Angeles is the idea that somehow our City’s various zillionaire-serving institutions have been working hard to help our City Council craft laws that help street vendors and that Lara’s bill would interfere with all this putative good will.

For instance, see this letter from Carol Schatz at the Downtown Center BID, of which there’s a transcription after the break:

Over the past several years, we have joined a broad coalition of organizations working with the Los Angeles City Council to create a sidewalk vending program that balances the needs of brick-and-mortar establishments with the needs of vendors.

Or check this little slab of puckey from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, with contact person none other than former Huizar staffer Diana Yedoyan, evidently now shilling for the man out on Bixel Street:
Continue reading Zillion Dollar Woman Carol Schatz Tells California State Senate That The Downtown Center BID Has Been Working For Years To Help Street Vendors And That Senator Lara’s SB-946 Is Going To Make Things Worse For Everybody — Thirty Eight New Support/Oppose Letters Regarding Lara’s Bill Now Available

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How Kerry Freaking Morrison Found Out About Senator Ricardo Lara’s Street Vending Bill In January 2018 And Told No-Epithet-Yet Suzanne Holley, Chardonnay-Swilling Scarf Monster Rena Leddy, And Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten All About It And Suzanne Freaking Holley Went And Told Carol Freaking Schatz, The Zillion Dollar Woman, Who Subsequently Swore A Solemn Oath To Destroy SB 946

Just another quick note from all them DCBID emails I’ve been dining out on for weeks now. It’s inconsequential in one sense, but on the other hand, it illuminates how information spreads among the zillionaire flunkies who run this City’s BIDs. Here is the original email chain, and I’m just going to lay it on you without commentary. Or without much, anyway.

On January 31, 2018, the incomparable Emily Alpert Reyes emailed Kerry Freaking Morrison thusly:

From: Alpert, Emily mailto:Emily.Alpert@latimes.com
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 9:23 AM
To: Kerry Morrison <Kerry@hollvwoodbid.org>

Subject: State bill on street vending

Hi Kerry — I hope all is well! I was curious for your thoughts on this state bill that would override local regulations on vending:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB946&search_keywords=vendor

I’m at ■■■-■■■-■■■■. Thanks!

Emily

Did Kerry Morrison answer her? Well, I don’t know, but I will say that Emily Alpert Reyes published a fine article on Lara’s bill on February 2, and Kerry Morrison is not quoted in it. In any case, we do know that Kerry Morrison read the email because …. turn the page if you want to find out!
Continue reading How Kerry Freaking Morrison Found Out About Senator Ricardo Lara’s Street Vending Bill In January 2018 And Told No-Epithet-Yet Suzanne Holley, Chardonnay-Swilling Scarf Monster Rena Leddy, And Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten All About It And Suzanne Freaking Holley Went And Told Carol Freaking Schatz, The Zillion Dollar Woman, Who Subsequently Swore A Solemn Oath To Destroy SB 946

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Of Course Carol Schatz Is The Queen Of Downtown But She Might Also Be The King Solomon Of Downtown Cause She Sure Knows How To Split A Damn Baby! Or — Assistant Queen Of Downtown Suzanne Holley Wants To Know Who’s Gonna Pay The Damn Lobbyists!

Just what you have all been waiting for, friends! More tales from the massive DCBID document dump of a couple weeks ago. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving!1 And yeah, from one point of view this is yet another inconsequential bit of floof like our recent story about Lena Mulhall, CCALA office manager, using the office UPS account to ship various personal cosplay-linked merchandise hither and yon. But from another, it’s more than consequential, it’s essential evidence of … but of course, you have no idea what I’m talking about cause you haven’t seen the damn email.

You can read the whole chain here or, as usual, turn the page for a transcription. Anyway, remember Laura Mecoy? She’s the hotcha lobbyist who runs a shady little op out of the South Bay known as Mecoy Communications2 who got Kerry Morrison and Carol Schatz a sitdown with the L.A. Times Editorial Board over the street vending issue, giving them an opportunity to spew their poisonous puke all over the table at First and Main.3

And of course, she don’t do that kinda jive for free. After all, she’s a storyteller! A professional storyteller!! And the workman is worthy of her hire, ain’t she? So who’s going to pay her damn bills!? Well, of course, turn the page to find out!
Continue reading Of Course Carol Schatz Is The Queen Of Downtown But She Might Also Be The King Solomon Of Downtown Cause She Sure Knows How To Split A Damn Baby! Or — Assistant Queen Of Downtown Suzanne Holley Wants To Know Who’s Gonna Pay The Damn Lobbyists!

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Suzanne Holley Of The Downtown Center BID Redacted All The Email Addresses Of Her Frickin’ Board Of Directors Before She Coughed Up Emails In Response To My CPRA Request ‐ Not Only Is This Completely Unjustified Under The Law, But I Have The Damn Email Addresses Anyway And I’m Publishing Them Here In Case You Want Them Too!

Of course you will recall that recently I published a huge dump of records from Carol Schatzenstein’s monster, known in the vernacular as the Downtown Center BID. The bulk of these came to me as MSG files, which is by far one of the three most useful formats in which to receive emails.1 Those emails are available here on Archive.Org. On the other hand, Ms. Suzanne Holley, who is Chief Operating Officer of the BID,2 for reasons known only to her and her lawyer, felt the need to heavily redact some of the emails, and these she provided to me as PDFs with the usual black bars through the putatively sensitive information.

Now, superficially this is all in accordance with the requirements of the California Public Records Act. The law defines certain categories of information that are exempt from disclosure, but also, at §6253(a), requires redaction rather than withholding the entire document when possible: Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be available for inspection by any person requesting the record after deletion of the portions that are exempted by law.

Now take a look at this little puppy, which down in the chain contains an email from Board member Cari Wolk to the rest of her unindicted co-conspirators announcing that she’s gonna be attending the upcoming conspiracy meeting. The content is not nearly so interesting as the redactions, which include all the email addresses of all the board members. Turn the page for a picture of the redacted portion as well as the usual sarcastic commentary and as an extra-special bonus, all the redacted email addresses which, as common sense would tell anyone who thought about it for a second,3 are not actually exempt after all.
Continue reading Suzanne Holley Of The Downtown Center BID Redacted All The Email Addresses Of Her Frickin’ Board Of Directors Before She Coughed Up Emails In Response To My CPRA Request ‐ Not Only Is This Completely Unjustified Under The Law, But I Have The Damn Email Addresses Anyway And I’m Publishing Them Here In Case You Want Them Too!

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Despite Law-And-Order Obsession Of Central City Association With Respect To E.G. LAMC §41.18(d) And Other Homelessness-Criminalizing Measures It Seems That Lawlessness Flourishes And Is Tolerated Internally In The Form Of Unauthorized Use Of FedEx Account For Personal Shipping By CCALA Office Manager Lena Mulhall, Reimbursed Only Upon Discovery, Which Hardly Counts As Contrition At All

So the other day I got a metric doodieton of emails from the Downtown Center BID, published them all right here on Archive.Org, and have been gradually writing about item after item. Today’s item is, from one perspective, inconsequential albeit entertaining. From another point of view, though, it illustrates the utter flamingly shameless flagrancy of the Downtown zillionaire establishment’s hypocrisy when it comes to law and order.

These parasites1 expect everyone, especially the homeless population of our City, to follow the law to the very freaking letter while they themselves, it turns out, are somehow allowed to steal from their employer and only make retribution months later when their crimes are discovered and that, it seems, settles the issue. Homeless people are caught with stolen bicycles all the time. Just imagine if all they had to do at that point was tell the cop that they would return the bike to the owner and that act of contrition, even if it was only contrition after apprehension, would make everything be just fine!

Why aren’t Carol Schatz and Jessica Lall advocating for this kind of policy, since it’s evident that it’s what they use internally at the CCALA and the DCBID? Oh, right, I haven’t told you the story! Well, TL;DR is that it seems that on March 30, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. precisely, DCBID staff accountant Joan Noble emailed CCALA office manager Lena Mulhall and was all like “WTF?! What did you spend this $31.39 on??!” and Lena Mulhall was all like “Sorry! I’ll pay it back! Just tell me who to write the damn check to!!”

Naturally turn the page for transcriptions, more emails, and the full and complete story of how Lena Mulhall charged $31.39 worth of FedEx to her employer’s account to return some cosplay supplies to a retailer and didn’t reimburse the funds until more than three months later and then not until she actually got caught!
Continue reading Despite Law-And-Order Obsession Of Central City Association With Respect To E.G. LAMC §41.18(d) And Other Homelessness-Criminalizing Measures It Seems That Lawlessness Flourishes And Is Tolerated Internally In The Form Of Unauthorized Use Of FedEx Account For Personal Shipping By CCALA Office Manager Lena Mulhall, Reimbursed Only Upon Discovery, Which Hardly Counts As Contrition At All

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