Tag Archives: Public Integrity Division

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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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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California Government Code Section 1222 Is A New (To Us) Governmental Integrity Law Of Which Chad Molnar’s CPRA Shenanigans Constitute A Violation, Making Him Not Only Unethical But An Actual Criminal And Potentially Even Subject To Citizen’s Arrest!!

Chad Molnar in June 2016, just smiling away because it hasn't yet occurred to him that he is going to jail.
Chad Molnar in June 2016, just smiling away because it hasn’t yet occurred to him that he is going to jail.
Perhaps you’ve been following along with our LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we turn various City officials and employees in to the LA City Ethics Commission for violating that most lovely government accountability ordinance, LAMC 49.5.5(A) by misusing their positions in various ways. Well, just recently, via the fine folks at the Coalition to Preserve L.A., I learned of a possibly even more funner law, which may allow City employees not only to get fined by the CEC for violating CPRA, but actually locked up for it! Ladies and gentlemen, loyal MK.Org readers, may I present to you the stunning law known to the world as California Government Code Section 1222, which states in full:

Every wilful omission to perform any duty enjoined by law upon any public officer, or person holding any public trust or employment, where no special provision is made for the punishment of such delinquency, is punishable as a misdemeanor.

The potential here is astounding. You see, there is “no special provision…made for the punishment of” a failure to comply with CPRA. This is in contrast to, e.g., the Brown Act, which does contain a clause making certain kinds of violations misdemeanors.1 However, the duty to comply with CPRA is “enjoined by law upon” public officers. For instance, the California Constitution at Article I, section 3(b) states pretty unequivocally that:

In order to ensure public access to the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies, as specified in paragraph (1), each local agency is hereby required to comply with the California Public Records Act …

Now, this law requires2 that the failure to act be wilful. But, of course, that’s where we have Chad Molnar dead to rights. If you didn’t read the whole story, you can at least read the smoking gun, in which Chad Molnar actually states explicitly that he’s not going to comply with CPRA and that he doesn’t think he has to comply. And note that this is not just him not complying with some vague part of the law, proof of violation of which would require a fact-finder, but him not complying with objectively clear, explicitly mandated, response deadlines. He just flat-out says he’s not going to respond as required. It’s hard to imagine a more wilful violation than that.

So anyway, as soon as possible, I hope this weekend, I’m going to write up a complaint and figure out what to do with it. Perhaps I’ll try the neighborhood prosecutor in Venice. They do handle misdemeanors, after all. This probably won’t work so well, and then I’ll send it to Jackie Lacey’s Public Integrity Division. I’ll keep you up-to-date. And if you’re still interested, turn the page for even more wildly uninformed speculation.3
Continue reading California Government Code Section 1222 Is A New (To Us) Governmental Integrity Law Of Which Chad Molnar’s CPRA Shenanigans Constitute A Violation, Making Him Not Only Unethical But An Actual Criminal And Potentially Even Subject To Citizen’s Arrest!!

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First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
In January 2016 the Los Feliz Ledger broke the story that termed-out CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge had ordered the destruction of public records prior to his leaving office on June 30, 2015. Emily Alpert Reyes, writing in the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that the First Amendment Coalition had filed suit against the City of Los Angeles, claiming, among other things, that the destruction of this material either violated the California Public Records Act or else the fairly draconian Government Code section 6200. Thanks to FAC director Peter Scheer I have a copy of the petition to share with you, and you can read some further commentary after the break.
Continue reading First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

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