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Campaign consultant sues Councilman Parks over unpaid expenses

June 28, 2010 |  7:31 pm

A campaign consultant who worked on the supervisorial campaign of Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard C. Parks has filed a lawsuit demanding more than $146,000 he says was provided to the campaign for television advertising and other expenses.

John Shallman, who was employed by Parks during his unsuccessful 2008 bid to replace County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, went to court last week saying Parks personally guaranteed that he would repay the money but did not follow through.

“I’m saddened and disappointed that it’s come to this,” Shallman said. “I’ve tried to work out an amicable resolution and have had no response.”

In his lawsuit, Shallman said he initially advanced Parks more than $281,000 for TV commercials that, in his view, were among “the main contributing factors” to forcing then-Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas into a runoff. He also asserted that Parks, a former police chief, promised to repay him to prevent him from quitting, a move that could have generated negative publicity for the campaign.

Dennis Gleason, a Parks spokesman, said the councilman had not received a copy of the lawsuit and could not comment.

Parks plans to run in the March election for a third term representing a South Los Angeles district that includes communities such as Leimert Park, Hyde Park and Jefferson Park. So far, three people have filled out paperwork with the city’s Ethics Commission to run against him.

One of those hopefuls is Forescee Hogan-Rowles, who ran unsuccessfully against Parks in 2003 and just finished five years as one of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s appointees on the Board of Water and Power Commissioners.

Hogan-Rowles, who lives in Baldwin Hills, would not comment on the Shallman lawsuit. But she said Parks’ district is suffering from too few jobs and not enough public services.

“I’ve watched our district deteriorate over time,” she said. “Our streets aren’t paved as nice as they could be. The city services could be delivered better.”

Those arguments are similar to ones being made by potential challengers to Councilman Jose Huizar, who is running for reelection in an Eastside council district. Seven seats will be up for grabs in that election.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall