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Opinion: Proving the Case on the Wendy Greuel Ethics Scandal

The case is clear; Greuel violated the City of Los Angeles Code of Ethics.

By Brian Hews, Publisher, Los Cerritos Community Newspaper

After reading the Los Cerritos Community News story on Greuel, former Los Angeles Councilwoman Ruth Galanter said in a complaint she filed last week with the LA Ethics Commission, “Ms. Greuel’s misuse of public resources is an insult to the voters and taxpayers of Los Angeles, a clear violation of the Code.”

Former Zev Yaroslavski Chief of Staff Jack McGrath wrote a letter saying, “the story outlines a flagrant alleged violation of state law, using city of Los Angeles taxpayer paid resources, for the campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles.”

People have called our stories “political and blurring the line between advocacy and journalism.” They said this even though they knew we pulled documents on Garcetti and Perry at the same time we requested Greuel’s documents. We got the Garcetti/Perry documents within the time prescribed by law, unlike Ms. Greuel who took 90 days, and found nothing to report on.

Loyal LCCN readers know we will not hold a story on anyone.

I will make a case using the LA Code of Ethics found online and at the end of this article:

Section One: “persons in public service shall not engage in nor shall they have any interest, direct or indirect, which is in substantial conflict of their official duties.”

We have hundreds of pages of calendar documents, and the recent emails show once again, that Greuel is not working for the best interests of the city; Greuel is clearly running her campaign from her office.

Section two: “employees shall be ever conscious that public service is a public trust and be devoted to the best interests of the city.”

Greuel has violated the public trust by withholding documents far beyond what the law allows, with those documents clearly showing a conflict of interest between her duties as Controller and her campaign for Mayor.

Section three: “…shall not accept money or favors from anyone other than the city..nor shall they accept favors which might be interpreted as an attempt to influence their actions.”

Emails obtained by LCCN show two people, Gisselle Acevedo, Para Los Ninos CEO, and Dave Fleming, of counsel at Latham and Watkins, telling Greuel that they will give her money for her campaign.

Sample of Fleming email

Sample of Acevedo email

Section four: “not disclose confidential information acquired or available to them.”

Emails show Greuel releasing the 2011-2012 Preliminary Financials of the City to her campaign team 2.5 hours before presentation to the Mayor and City Council. Greuel called it “inadvertent.”

Email on financials

Section five: “shall not use for private gain or advantage their City time or City facilities.”

130 emails and 400 pages of Greuel’s daily calendar clearly show a violation of this section.

Section seven: “…not engage in outside activity which would reduce the quality of work for the City.”

Documents clearly show her using regular business hours to advance her Mayoral campaign.

Section twelve: “ not interfere with the proper performance of others.”

Documents show her top staffers forwarding emails and performing campaigning duties during regular business hours.

The case is clear.

Link to all email documents, click here.