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UPDATE: LA County Assessor and Press Secretary For LA County CEO Fujioka Defend Caruso

Staff Report


In a blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars, both acting LA County Assessor Santos Kriemann and David Sommers, Press Secretary for LA County CEO Bill Fujioka, launched an all-out assault on Los Cerritos Community News on its coverage of Rick Caruso. It included sending a letter to LCCN and LA blogs, appearing on radio stations, and attacking the newspaper on Twitter.

Kreimann sent a 600 word letter Friday to LCCN disputing the entire article and defending Caruso:  “Mr. Caruso had no relations with Dale Beckwith or Michael Schaff”, said Kriemann. The article also appeared on several blogs a few hours later.

“It shows just how entrenched Mr. Caruso is in LA politics”, said LCCN Publisher Brian Hews, “what does it say when the LA County Assessor writes a letter, sending it to a newspaper and several blogs, defending Caruso, a private citizen?”

Below are emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that clearly show Beckwith and Schaff were working for Caruso.

“It seems that Kriemann did not know Beckwith and Schaff were representing Caruso”, said Hews.

At approximately 3 pm Friday, David Sommers, Press Secretary for LA CEO Bill Fujioka called LA radio station KFI and defended Caruso. “Everything in the article is basically false” , Sommers said.

“Within minutes of each other Sommers went on the LA radio station to call into question the article in LCCN, and Kreimann sent the letter to LCCN, it was obviously a coordinated effort”, said Hews.

On another front, Caruso’s political advisor Matt Middlebrook took to Twitter to defend Caruso coordinating with CEO Bill Fujioka who tweeted about the article also.

On Monday, Los Cerritos Community Newspaper Group will file a public documents request under the Freedom of Information Act with the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration to get additional information about communications between Caruso, and members of his inner circle with LA County officials.

Brian Hews, Publisher of Los Cerritos Community Newspaper said his request will include all internal emails, text messages, phone logs, and other any other communications between Rick Caruso, his political advisor Matt Middlebrook, any and all employees of Rick Caruso, Acting Chief Deputy Assessor Santos Kriemann, Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka, and David Sommers, Acting Communications Director for Fujioka.

“Los Cerritos Community Newspaper believes in total transparency, especially when it comes to any decisions that have been made out of the public light at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration, and Los Angeles City Hall,” Hews said.

“We demand that all members of the media in Los Angeles County follow the lead of Los Cerritos Community Newspaper and demand full accessibility and transparency,” Hews said in a statement

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