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Greuel Threatens Los Cerritos Community Newspaper Over Public Records Request

By Brian Hews

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel turned to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office in order to delay a request made by Los Cerritos Community Newspaper, a tiny local community newspaper based in Cerritos, threatening to sue the publication for filing a public records request on her office back on January 23rd that has yet to be fulfilled.

LCCN hired Attorney Kelly Aviles of La Verne to send a demand letter to Greuel’s office giving them a date of April 5 to produce the records that precipitated the threatening letter from Greuel.

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.”

The Jan 23 request contained four categories, asking for any emails between Brian D’Arcy, head of the powerful IBEW Union, John Shallman, campaign consultant, and Rose Kapolczynski, her campaign manager, and only Greuel for two years between Jan 2011 and Jan 2013. The three are Greuel’s top political advisors in her campaign to become the next mayor of Los Angeles.

“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 LCCN publisher Brian 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.”

The second request contained fourteen categories asking for emails between 12 people, LCCN, and only Greuel, with a time frame of only two weeks, Jan 11, 2013 to Jan 22, 2013 giving a category total of eighteen not twenty-eight.

The Greuel letter went on to say, “the Code recognizes that the initial determination may need to be adjusted…this is evidenced by the fact that the legislature used the term “estimated” in dictating the requirement of 6253.

Government Code 6253 says, “Each agency, upon a request for a copy of records, shall, within 10 days from receipt of the request…. No notice shall specify a date that would result in an extension for more than 14 days. When the agency dispatches the determination… the agency shall state the estimated date and time when the records will be made available.

Greuel’s office used the word estimated in the Code to justify its delay in the release of the records.

The 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.

Below is a copy of the letter.

Greuel Response Letter (PDF) Click Here.

  • steve smith says:

    You got a name, and title Claire Bartels, Chief Deputy Controller, make a mental note, what does the controller (an accounting position) have to do with emails, an IT position?