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87 Days After the Request, Greuel Turns Over Public Records

Los Cerritos Community News Staff report

After receiving a letter indicating LCCN will file a lawsuit next Monday over a long and possibly illegal delay of a public records request, LA Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel’s Chief Deputy Controller Claire Bartels emailed indicating the records were ready.

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LA Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel

 

“It was a very short response, we waited 87 days to get the records,” said LCCN Publisher Brian Hews. ” They said the records are ready, no mention of which request the records related to, or even how many pages were included, which is the information you traditionally get when you make this type of request.”

Greuel’s office indicated they mailed the documents to LCCN attorney Kelly Aviles, who will forward to LCCN on Monday.

LCCN sent the requests January 23, 2013 and asked for any emails between Brian D’Arcy head of the powerful IBEW and a huge campaign contributor, campaign managers John Shallman, and Rose Kapolczynski and only Greuel for two years between Jan 2011 and Jan 2013.

The second request asked for emails between 12 people, LCCN, and only Greuel, with a time frame of only two weeks, Jan 11, 2013 to Jan 22, 2013.

Under Government Code 6253, Greuel had 24 days to respond to the request.

On day 82, after several communications between LCCN, Aviles, and Greuel, her office turned to the Los Angeles City Attorney to further delay the request. In the letter Greuel “took issue with the assertions,…and under no circumstances is our office delaying records, your conclusion is inaccurate and unfounded.” It went on to state that the request “was voluminous” and encompassed “twenty-eight categories” and could be “tens of thousands of documents.”

“How can there be “voluminous documents” and “tens of thousands of pages” when the emails I asked for are between D’Arcy, Kapolczynski, and Shallman,” said Hews. “In her letter Greuel is admitting voluminous correspondence with the head of the IBEW, a huge campaign contributor and her two campaign directors during regular business hours.”

LCCN was the first to publish Greuel’s calendar Jan 7 of this year-a request that took Greuel five months to complete-that showed Greuel meeting with high-level lobbyists, fund-raisers, and major contributors during regular business hours. Several major Los Angeles news outlets reported on the story that night.

Greuel’s letter ended with the threat of a counter-suit, “Please be informed that if you do pursue litigation on or after April 5, given the imminent time thereafter that we estimate your records will be ready, we will ask the court to declare your case to be clearly frivolous and seek to have your client pay our court costs and attorneys fees as would be required under the same Government Code section.

The letter was signed by Claire Bartels, Chief Deputy Controller with a copy sent to Mike Dundas at the City Attorney’s Office.

LCCN attorneys said, “there is no attorney fees for a prevailing parties in California. Greuel is completely barred from any counter suit under the Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP – Code of Civ. Pro Section 425.16). Greuel can file the lawsuit, but it will get kicked out after we make a motion to have it dismissed.”

Hews commented, “This is illegal according to Government Code 6253, yet Greuel ignored our simple request until we threatened a lawsuit. Ms. Greuel claims transparency and tough control yet she cannot answer a simple public records request.”

Hews went on to say, “what is more concerning, I emailed every writer at the Los Angeles Times who is involved with the Greuel/Garcetti mayoral race asking them why they were not reporting on this 82 day delay, and I never got an answer. Three days ago Greuel was somehow able to find the time to release emails about Garcetti that the Los Angeles Times immediately wrote an article about. It is very concerning that a major daily newspaper like the LA Times ignored my legitimate request, yet immediately published Greuel’s emails, very suspicious.”

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