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City Hall, Top News

A story appeared in the Los Angeles Times last week talking about an inquiry by Los Angeles County prosecutors into credit card use at City Hall, in particular by Councilmember John Duran.

The spending on the City Hall credit card was first brought to light by local resident Ed Buck around the last election.  The spending amounts are generally small meal tabs at local restaurants.  There were a few larger bills that raised eyebrows, however, including an expensive meal with officials from the Sheriff’s Department, and the purchase of expensive pens and grocery store gift cards as gifts for City Hall employees.

West Hollywood Patch reported that Duran has set up a legal defense fund.

On Saturday, City Hall issued two statements in response to the Times article and it appears they are saying the investigation is over.  There seems to be a bit of conflicting information, however.

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One statement says, ”The District Attorney has not informed the City of the specific allegations being made against Councilmember John Duran, so the City cannot comment at this point on the District Attorney’s inquiry.”

The other statement says, “The City has been informed that the District Attorney has completed its investigation as regards the City and its employees and the City does not expect any further action by the District Attorney with respect to the City or City employees.”

Other quotes included in the press releases follow:

“The City was contacted last year and informed that, in response to a complaint filed in March 2011 during the City of West Hollywood’s municipal election campaign, the Public Integrity Unit of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office initiated an inquiry into expense reimbursements for the conduct of City business by employees and members of the West Hollywood City Council. The City has fully cooperated with the District Attorney’s investigation,” said West Hollywood City Attorney Mike Jenkins.

“The referenced credit card is the City’s main credit card and is used by all City departments to transact purchases that cannot be done through the City’s normal check/purchase order system (many small businesses do not accept a City purchase order for payment),” said David Wilson, Interim Director of the Department of Finance and Technology.

“The amount referenced in the Los Angeles Times article, $121,000, was for a period of three years (approximately $40,000 per fiscal year),” said Wilson. “Each purchase is authorized in advance by a Department Director and all documentation is on file with the Department of Finance and Technology.”

“The use of a City credit card is for the purchase of miscellaneous food and supplies for community meetings and events, on-line purchases for information technology products and services, subscriptions, city wide staff registrations for conferences, training and meetings, business travel (airfare and hotels), and other business related activities,” said Wilson.

“The City of West Hollywood has adopted a formal policy in accordance with state ethics laws that requires full documentation of all meal expenditures at public expense that involve City business. These expense reimbursement policies are comparable to other cities. In response to suggestions from the District Attorney’s office, the City is updating its expense reimbursement policy to assure that it is current.

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City Hall Issues Statements on DA Credit Card Investigation, 2.7 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

What do you think?

1 Comment

  1. Greg says:

    Wow! So all they need is approval from their Dept. Director and they’re off to Cecconi’s, SoHo House or the like. I wonder if they fly first class, too? Sounds like a great gig to me!

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