Tag Archives: Government Code 54952.2

United DTLA Conspiracy: How DLANC Board Members Dan Curnow And Jacob Douglas Van Horn Violated The Brown Act In March 2017

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

A few days ago I published a story on how the massive release of emails from the Downtown Center BID revealed massive, egregious Brown Act violations by the Central City East Association Board of Directors. The issue is that the Brown Act explicitly1 forbids a majority of a Board from using “…a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.”

There were also six members of the DLANC Board in on the conspiracy:

According to an extremely useful guide prepared by then-City-Attorney Rockard Delgadillo, in the context of the Brown Act a majority means a majority of a quorum. That is, the minimum number of members that can actually act on a motion. The DLANC has a 24 member board, and a quorum is 13. Hence these six members using email “…to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of…” DLANC is not a violation; a violation would require seven members to have been in on the discussion.

However, the Brown Act also applies to standing committees of bodies which are subject to its requirements. In particular, consider DLANC’s Livability Committee. That this is a standing committee is stated explicitly in DLANC’s bylaws2 Also, in March 2017 the members of the Livability Committee were none other than Dan Curnow, Jacob Douglas Van Horn, and Jacki Breger. For instance, take a look at the minutes from March 16, 2017.
Continue reading United DTLA Conspiracy: How DLANC Board Members Dan Curnow And Jacob Douglas Van Horn Violated The Brown Act In March 2017

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United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How The Entire Board Of Directors Of The Central City East Association Egregiously Violated The Brown Act Except For Andy Bales, Richard Gardner, And Sylvia Kavoukjian, Who Don’t Seem To Have Been Invited Into The Secret Clubhouse For Some Reason — And How I Will Ask Them Nicely Never To Do It Again!

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

Perhaps you’ve been following the story of the recent massive release of emails from the Downtown Center BID that has, so far, led to such revelations as the fact that Estela Lopez was at the heart of the United Downtown LA conspiracy, that she used her DLANC email address to further the conspiracy, and not least that six DLANC board members were covertly involved in that same conspiracy.

But we’re not done with the material yet! There’s still tons of interesting information to be gleaned. For instance, it turns out that 9 out of the 12 members of the Board of Directors of the infamous Central City East Association are on the United Downtown Los Angeles conspiracy mailing list.1 This, of course, makes the email discussion an awful lot like an illegal meeting of the board, according to the Brown Act.

It’s a serious violation, too. The Brown Act at §54959 states that:

Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

As far as I know, no one has ever been prosecuted under this clause, but if someone’s going to be first, I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be the infamously thuggish CCEA. And it’s a hard case to make that quality of life crimes, e.g. public drinking, are more harmful than this kind of covert conspiratorial shenanigans. One’s unaesthetic at worst. The other degrades the very fabric of our open society.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear a bunch of BIDdies bitching about crime Downtown and turn the page for the evidence and a detailed analysis of the violation!
Continue reading United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How The Entire Board Of Directors Of The Central City East Association Egregiously Violated The Brown Act Except For Andy Bales, Richard Gardner, And Sylvia Kavoukjian, Who Don’t Seem To Have Been Invited Into The Secret Clubhouse For Some Reason — And How I Will Ask Them Nicely Never To Do It Again!

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On April 15, 2017 DLANC Board Member Estela Lopez Used Her dlanc.com Address To Email 52 Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators Associated With United Downtown Los Angeles LLC

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

The headline pretty much says it. Here is the email and there’s a transcription after the break. After the essential part, that Estela Lopez sent this email from estela.lopez@dlanc.com rather than her personal email address, beatus821@gmail.com, that she had been using previously, the next most important thing is the distribution list. It’s the same bunch of people that Estela Lopez had been emailing since March 20 on behalf of United Downtown LA.

It’s interesting to note, by the way, that, in addition to Estela Lopez herself, the following DLANC board members were on the list:

This is six of them, which is one short of a Brown Act violation,1 so they dodged that bullet. So is Estela Lopez’s use of her official DLANC email address to send out a United DTLA email a violation of some rule? It’s hard to say. It probably depends on why she used the official email account, and at this late date it’s dubious that there’s any proof of motive.2 So I’m just letting the fact speak for itself.
Continue reading On April 15, 2017 DLANC Board Member Estela Lopez Used Her dlanc.com Address To Email 52 Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators Associated With United Downtown Los Angeles LLC

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Rafik Ghazarian And His Criminal Cronies From The Los Feliz Village BID Saved From Prosecution And Their Infernal BID From Dissolution On The Merest Of Mere Technicalities

One month ago today, you may recall, I reported the Los Feliz Village BID to the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.1 I had exceedingly strong smoking gun level evidence, and you can read the original complaint here. Well, this morning I was semi-pleased to receive a copy of a letter from Alan Yochelson of the D.A.’s office to the BID’s attorney, Mr. Hollywood himself, Jeffrey Charles Briggs.

You can read a transcription after the break, but the upshot is that, as the DA received my complaint 91 days after the incident, they were barred by the Brown Act, which requires action within 90 days, from doing anything about it. However, Alan Yochelson, who handles Brown Act matters for the DA, saw fit to advise Jeffrey Charles Briggs to tell his client, the LFVBID, that such discussions as were had outside of duly noticed public meetings by the BIDdies, were against the fricking law.

The stakes were high, as it’s at least theoretically possible to force the dissolution of a BID if they’re found to have violated any law. Hence I expect that they’ll probably pay close attention to the Brown Act’s requirements in the future. I know I’ll pay very close attention to the deadline, which I didn’t know about, more’s the pity!
Continue reading Rafik Ghazarian And His Criminal Cronies From The Los Feliz Village BID Saved From Prosecution And Their Infernal BID From Dissolution On The Merest Of Mere Technicalities

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How I Reported The Los Feliz Village BID To The LA County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit For Brown Act Violations

You may recall that a couple weeks ago I published a big stack of emails from the famed Los Feliz Village BID. Amongst these were this little gem of an email chain, wherein the entire Board of Directors of the LFVBID, over the course of about two weeks in May 2017, discuss some nonsense relating to something called Urban Air Market. The facts themselves are as tedious as can be but, as I noted previously, the Brown Act at §54952.2(b)(1) explicitly forbids this kind of thing:

A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

Well, I’ve been so busy working on matters related to the revisions to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance that’s presently being worked on by the Ethics Commission that I’ve barely had time to think of anything else. Yesterday, though, I needed a little break from lobbying and decided to take the time to write up a report to the LA County DA’s Public Integrity Division regarding this egregious violation. You can download a copy of the complaint or read a reasonably faithful transcription after the break.1
Continue reading How I Reported The Los Feliz Village BID To The LA County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit For Brown Act Violations

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A Bunch Of Emails Between The Los Feliz Village BID And The City Of Los Angeles Reveal A Number Of Interesting Issues, Not Least Of Which Is City BID Analyst Giving The BID Legal Advice On CPRA Requests Contrary To Holly Wolcott’s Position That This Does Not Happen

The other day I received a big pile of emails between the Board of the Los Feliz Village BID and people at the City of Los Angeles. They’re available here on Archive.Org. Note that the BID produced these by using some kind of bulk forwarding utility for Gmail to send these to their attorney, uniquely repetitive chair of the famed Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Jeffrey Charles Briggs Esq.

Attorney Briggs then exported the forwarded emails as MSG files and passed them along to me. Unfortunately this process mangled the metadata and made it more trouble than it seems to be worth to sort and rename the files by date and time. Sr. Briggs seems to be willing at least to consider instructing his clients to provide actual exact copies of emails in the future, but for now we’ll work with what we got, especially since the whole process has taken more than six months to get to this point. Anyway, turn the page for discussion of a few highlights.
Continue reading A Bunch Of Emails Between The Los Feliz Village BID And The City Of Los Angeles Reveal A Number Of Interesting Issues, Not Least Of Which Is City BID Analyst Giving The BID Legal Advice On CPRA Requests Contrary To Holly Wolcott’s Position That This Does Not Happen

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Hundreds Of Emails Between Melrose BID And The City Of LA Include (1) Definitive Proof That Executive Director Don Duckworth Violated The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In 2013 But Unfortunately The Statute Of Limitations Has Effectively Run And (2) More Brown-Act-Violating Bylaws That No One At The Clerk’s Office, For Shame, Seems To Have Even Noticed

Donald Duckworth, who runs both the Westchester Town Center BID and the Melrose BID, is slow but, it seems, pretty steady about fulfilling my incessant CPRA requests. And thus, just yesterday I received from him four jumbo-sized mbox files just chock-full of gooey email goodness! This batch comprises 2016 emails between the City of LA and the Melrose BID, and can be found in various useful formats here on Archive.Org.

I will be writing about various items in this document dump soon enough,1 but today I just want to focus on a couple of interesting items, supplied to me as attachments to some of these emails and cleaned up a little for ease of reading.2 Here’s the short version, and you can find details and the usual ranting mockery after the break:

  • Melrose BID Formation Project Hourly Charge Breakdown — Don Duckworth not only runs the Melrose BID, he was also the consultant who oversaw its establishment, for which he seems to have been paid $80,000 by the City. This is a detailed breakdown of his hours and charges over the course of the project formation. If you’ve been following my ongoing project, aimed at turning in BID consultants for not registering as lobbyists,3 you’ll recognize how astonishing and how important this document is. Unfortunately Don Duckworth’s work on this project wound down in the Summer of 2013, which means that the four year statute of limitations for violations of the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance has essentially run out. The document will be endlessly useful, though, in estimating time spent by consultants on their other projects.
  • Melrose Business Improvement Association bylaws — The Melrose Business Improvement Association is the property owners’ association that administers the Melrose BID. These are their bylaws. I discovered recently that the freaking Larchmont Village BID had bylaws that directly contradicted the Brown Act. Now it turns out that the Melrose BID has precisely the same problem. It’s possible that Larchmont Village changed their ways, but so far, anyway, there’s no reason to suspect that Melrose has done.

Continue reading Hundreds Of Emails Between Melrose BID And The City Of LA Include (1) Definitive Proof That Executive Director Don Duckworth Violated The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In 2013 But Unfortunately The Statute Of Limitations Has Effectively Run And (2) More Brown-Act-Violating Bylaws That No One At The Clerk’s Office, For Shame, Seems To Have Even Noticed

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