Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Beck's role in mismanagement at L.A. police relief group comes under scrutiny

November 15, 2009 |  1:07 pm

LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck, with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

A Times review of court records found one incident over his 32-year career in which Charlie Beck, who is the mayor's choice to be L.A.'s new police chief, was accused of mishandling a crisis, stifling reform and covering up the misuse of taxpayer money.

The allegations, which Beck denies, were never proved. They involved Beck's role as a board member of the Los Angeles Police Relief Assn., a nonprofit that receives millions of dollars a month in city subsidies to manage health benefits for most of the city's police officers.

Beck was president of the board -- a volunteer position -- nearly a decade ago when two former employees filed whistleblower lawsuits alleging that they were pushed out after uncovering mismanagement and misconduct.

In an interview Friday, Beck acknowledged there were administrative problems at the association. He said he had acted properly, and he pointed out that a city audit and police internal affairs investigation cleared him and others of any wrongdoing.

Police Relief eventually settled the lawsuits out of court for more than $1.2 million, according to sources familiar with the terms, which are covered by nondisclosure agreements.

Asked why the cases were settled, Beck said it was on the advice of the board's attorneys: "Sometimes it's in the best interests of the organization."

Read the full story here.

--Jason Felch

Photo: LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck, left, picked by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to be the next police chief, says "you can mandate change from the top ... but the only way an organization really changes is from the roots up; that's much more powerful." (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times / November 3, 2009)