D.A. Reviewing Doc Destruction Complaints

LARCHMONT COVER ART MONTAGE_Tom LaBonge_JANUARY 2016The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office is reviewing the issue regarding the destruction of 14 years’ worth of public records, amounting to hundreds of thousands of documents, by former Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge as well as the city’s role in not enforcing its own rules and California law regarding records retention and destruction by elected officials, according to a spokesperson with the office’s Public Integrity Division.

Jane Robison, assistant chief of media relations with the District Attorney’s office said one complaint has been filed with the division, which investigates and prosecutes criminal misconduct by elected or appointed public officials.

Additionally, a formal resolution calling on the District Attorney’s office to investigate the matter was filed February 24 by the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council.

In a sharply worded three page resolution, which was unanimously approved by the LFNC in February, the LFNC noted it, along with 10 other neighborhood councils in Los Angeles City Council District 4 (CD4), which LaBonge oversaw as councilmember, “put in thousands of volunteer hours in researching, creating and compiling…public documents,” which have been destroyed, and that such action “serves to diminish the public’s trust in our City’s elected officials.”

The resolution also stated that such destruction of documents “portrays public officials as uncaring, dismissive and unthankful towards the hard work of others.”

“[The] LFNC is recommending this incident be formally reviewed, because doing nothing and hoping it will all just blow over, isn’t renewing any faith in our city officials’ ability to do the right thing,” said LFNC Vice President Mark F. Mauceri.

Specifically, the council requested the District Attorney conduct an investigation into the matter to determine if the city’s actions were illegal.

A request for comment from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was not returned.

The LFNC resolution also supported current Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu’s motion that the city create protocol for transitioning administrations. Ryu has said no records or documents were left behind by LaBonge when he took office July 1st.

Ryu’s motion, which was passed by the City Council by a 14-0 vote, also on February 24th, requires the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst with assistance from the Los Angeles City Attorney to convene a working group to establish rules and procedures to ensure smooth transitions between elected city councilmembers and to report back within 30 days.

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